Connect Four

When Annabelle learns that her summer camp is traveling to volunteer at a school for children with disabilities, she is scared of what she will think. But what happened was beyond anything she could imagine. Based loosely on a true story.

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2. You Will

One of my friends stepped up. "I will, too." She said. Our teacher assigned another camper in our group to work with Emily. Luckily, she was my friend too. We introduced ourselves as Annabelle, Kailee, and Leah to the instructor. She quickly finished up taping the word "Emily" with painter's tape onto a cloth tote bag. It was the kind that people normally give you that has a brand name on it or something like that, but this one was tan and solid colored. No logo except tape. The teacher splattered paint in giant globs on the bag. I got down on my knees to be more level with Emily. She was wearing grey converse, pink leopard print knee socks, and a tee-shirt she had made earlier. The instructor handed me a ukelele and I played it while my friends helped move Emily's hands around in the paint and spread it around to cover the tape.

 

I played for a long time, until I realized something. The magnetic hearing aids had fallen out of her hair. She hadn't heard anything this whole time. It hit me like a bomb and I wanted to cry. Did she not know and not hear our praises for her hard work? Did she not enjoy and not hear the calming ukelele? The world must seem so disorienting without sound, or with barely any sound, or with modified sound. I couldn't even assume anything about Emily's hearing because the possibilities were endless. If I couldn't hear, I wouldn't be able to listen to my parents say I love you every night before bed and every morning. And if these hearing aids were supposed to attach to her head, that must have meant she had a magnet implanted in her head? And they still didn't stick because she moved her head. I couldn't even comprehend anything. A minute after the attendant finished putting back the aid and left, she jerked the aid off again. And, even though I hated myself for it, I was too embarrassed or scared or overcome with some other emotion I can't put my finger on to ask the woman for help again.

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