Heart

Ryn is morbidly pessimistic, blaming the world for his problems. He would probably see past the anger if he could still... well, see.

Asher sees the good in everyone, probably best since she blocks out what everyone says about her. Not by choice, but she does it.

The pair are forced to form a bond after becoming partners in group therapy as a desperate attempt to bring some light into their lives, starting with writing letters to each other. No one expected a third letter to arrive.

// Cover by ireumeun.chloe

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8. Seven ∞ Friends


Asher and Ryn decide to write their letters in person, agreeing to meet at Ryn's house, two days later at midday.

 

Asher arrives a few minutes early and stands on the pavement opposite the house. She rode her bike: Ryn lives on the other side of town and her mother wasn't home to drive her. The house is painted powder blue, the windows framed with white and bushes of pale pink roses bordering the path. There’s a wooden gate and picket fence, both painted white, although the colour is cracked and fading to reveal the brown underneath. It looks like the dollhouse she dreamed of having when she was younger.

 

There’s a car in the driveway so Asher crosses the road and opens the gate, presuming somebody is home. She leans her bike against the fence before knocking on the door. A blue sticky note falls off.

 

I’m in town, Ryn’s upstairs.

Leave packages with the neighbour.

Let yourself in if we’re expecting you.

-Darren

           

Asher decides to let herself in.

 

***

 

Ryn’s bedroom is dark. It’s been like that ever since his final operation. The lights are always off and the curtains are shut. After all, there’s no reason for them to be open.

           

Although he can’t see the darkness, he likes knowing that it’s there. He likes remembering how the darkness used to help him think clearly as there was nothing for him to be distracted by. He likes remembering the times where he would lay on his bed during summer nights, windows open to feel the cool breeze, old Bon Jovi albums playing softly through his speakers. He likes remembering how he would feel relaxed without having to see anything.

           

Now that he can’t escape from the darkness, he has to embrace it.

 

Ryn is enjoying the darkness until he hears the front door open. He presumes it’s just his father returning from town, but his father would yell up the stairs to announce his presence.

 

His bedroom door is pushed open and someone knocks on it. “Ryn?”

 

It’s a girl’s voice, one that he recognises, so he doesn’t feel the need to grab his phone and call for the police. “Who’s there.”

 

“It’s Asher. The note on the door said…”

 

“I know what the note said. Come on in.”

 

***

 

Although they’ve just met, Asher decides that Ryn will be her new best friend, even though he doesn’t know that yet.

           

“Do you like this song?” Asher asks, playing the first few seconds of a long she loved the lyrics of but never got to listen to.

           

Ryn’s face crinkles in disgust. “I’m not really a fan of country.”

           

Neither was she, at least not when she could still hear. She contemplates her next words. “Can you tell me what it sounds like?”

           

“When did you lose your hearing?”

           

“Five years ago. Why do you ask?”

           

“I need to compare it to a song that came out when you could still hear.” Ryn begins typing something into his computer. When Asher looks over at his screen, she sees that he has typed a list of songs that she recognises.

           

“That song must be terrible…”

           

Asher plays another song and Ryn types up a list, giving her time to take a photo of his screen so she can always replace the tune in her head with one that is closer to being correct.

           

This continues for the next few hours, long past the time Asher’s mother wanted her back and Ryn’s father returned home. Asher got along surprisingly well with Ryn’s father:  he knew basic sign language to say hello and ask how she was, and he told a few jokes that made her laugh. He seemed to stare too much whenever he looked at her but she pretended to ignore it.

 

It’s another hour later when Ryn dashes across the room and fumbles for the lamp on his bedside table, knocking off pill packets as he flicks the switch. The room is illuminated with yellow light.

 

“What was that for?” Asher asks, squinting against the sudden brightness.

 

Ryn shrugs. “I forgot you could see.”

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