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Sounds of Love
by Lynn Miclea
Melissa glanced across the room at Kyle. Something about him made her insides flutter. She wasn’t sure if it was his warm, boy-next-door looks, or the way the corners of his mouth curled up in a shy manner when he caught her watching him. Sweet, quiet, and soft-spoken, there was something about him that drew her to him.
She bit her lip and smiled to herself as she sat in the adult-education medical terminology class and watched him. She quickly focused on the instructor again, realizing she was missing his words.
The instructor paused and looked out over the class, his gaze falling on each of the adult students, and then he continued. “So now that we have covered all the prefixes, root words, and suffixes,” the instructor said, “next week we will practice putting them together and deciphering what the full words mean. This is where it all comes together and starts to really make sense.” He glanced at the clock on the wall. “Okay, everyone, that’s it for today. I’ll see you all next week. It will be fun, I promise.” He nodded and smiled as the students gathered their belongings and prepared to leave.
Melissa closed her notebook and glanced at Kyle. He turned to her, flashed a quick smile, and then hurried out of the room.
Her feelings crashed. She had hoped to talk to him. She always arrived at class early, hoping to catch him before the class started, but he seemed to arrive late each day and sit in the closest available seat to the door, which was never next to her.
What was his story? Why was he there? Why did he run out so quickly each time? She sighed, gathered her purse and notebook, and left the room, heading down the hallway and out toward her car. She shook her head. Maybe he wasn’t interested in her, or maybe he was just extremely shy. Hopefully one of these days she would get to talk to him.
After lunch on Saturday, she walked the few blocks to the park and walked around the lake. Her favorite spot was the red bench at one end of the lake, set back in the trees, and she hoped it was not occupied. As she rounded the corner she looked … there it was, and it was free. She sat on the bench, let out a long breath, and relaxed.
As she thought about the class and Kyle, a cute, squirmy, brown puppy approached her, wagging its tail. “Oh you are so cute,” she cooed, reaching forward to pet the wriggly dog. The puppy wagged its tail even harder and licked her, making her giggle.
Her gaze followed the leash up to its owner — Kyle! Her eyes opened wide and she quickly smiled. “Hi,” she said, hoping he would sit for a while.
Kyle gave a shy smile back and waved. “Hi,” he said, his voice sounding awkward.
Melissa felt giddy and nervous. “It’s nice to see you outside of class. Do you live around here?”
He looked confused and then nodded. “Yes,” he said softly, swallowing the word as he said it.
Her brow furrowed. “Are you okay?” She patted the red bench. “Please sit for a while.”
Kyle’s face flushed. “I’m deaf,” he muttered, touching his ear and then his mouth, the sign for deaf, as he slowly sat on the bench. “I don’t always understand what you say.”
Understanding and compassion rushed through her. “Oh!” She immediately brought her hands up and started signing to Kyle, as her hands spoke her words. “Do you use sign language?”
Kyle’s face instantly lit up and he quickly signed back. “Yes, you know how to sign?”
Melissa smiled and her face became animated as she signed back, speaking with her hands. “My grandmother is deaf, and our family learned to sign so we could talk to her.” Kyle nodded, and she continued. “I am also taking sign language classes and hope to become an interpreter.”
Kyle’s face broke out into a huge grin as his open hands pushed forward, signing, “Wonderful!”
A surge of warmth and deep sense of connection flooded through her. Tilting her head, she continued the conversation using sign language. “How did you lose your hearing?”
The puppy settled down on the grass at their feet as Kyle sighed and signed back. “I was ten years old when it started. I had a virus and then developed a middle ear infection, otitis media.” He slowed down as he finger-spelled the medical term. “It was painful, and I went to a few doctors.” He shook his head and then continued. “They treated it, but it kept coming back, and it caused permanent damage and hearing loss.”
“Can you hear at all?”
He shrugged and signed. “Very little. The hearing loss was gradual, and now I have lost most of my hearing.”
“That must have been hard, especially as a child.” Feeling moved, she circled her closed fist over her chest as she signed, “I’m sorry.”
He smiled. “Yes, it was hard. I was still the same person, and I needed support. But other kids made fun of me, and I felt ostracized and misunderstood. So I withdrew and became isolated.” His face grew sad and wistful. “I just wanted to fit in. I wanted friends, but I lost all my support.” He shook his head. “It was too hard to participate in group activities. I was either teased, or ignored and left out. So I became a loner.” His gaze searched hers, his eyes pleading. “I just wanted a friend.”
Her heart ached for him as she imagined that sense of isolation and loneliness. “I’m so sorry. Was your family supportive?”
He nodded. “Yes. At first I got a hearing aid, but it was uncomfortable. Background noises were amplified as well as voices, and it was difficult to make sense out of what I was hearing, so I stopped wearing them.” He glanced away and then back. “Then my family and I took classes and learned sign language. That helped a lot.”
“Did you have any friends who support you?”
“I had one friend who learned a little sign language and wrote notes to me.” His face warmed up. “But then he moved away. It seemed that no one else saw me as an equal, so I have been isolated since then.”
Melissa reached out and squeezed his hand, compassion and caring reflected in her eyes.
His gaze fell on her face, a look of longing showing in his expression. “I saw you in class, and you seemed so nice. You are very beautiful.” He glanced away and then back at her. “But I was afraid you wouldn’t like me if you knew. And I didn’t want to be disappointed again.”
Melissa felt desire run through her as she gazed at his honest, open, and attractive face. She rubbed his arm, then pulled her hand back and signed. “You are such a sweet and kind person. I see you as a full person, no different or less than anyone else. And very handsome.” She smiled, then continued. “I’m so sorry you went through that. But you are not alone. I do understand. And I would love to be your friend.” Maybe even more than a friend, she thought.
Tears filled his eyes and he looked away for a few moments. Then he looked back at her, a shy longing in his eyes. “Thank you,” he signed.
She looked at him questioningly as she signed. “Why are you taking medical terminology?”
He signed back immediately. “I was hoping to find work in the medical field, typing up reports or keeping records.” He shrugged. “And if that doesn’t work, at least I met you.”
Feeling her face grow hot, she giggled and pointed to the puppy. “How do you talk to your dog?”
He laughed. “I sign to my dog. My dog is deaf, too.”
He nodded. “Yes, my dog learned signed commands.” Kyle showed her the commands he used for sit, stay, lie down, and come.
She laughed. “Wonderful,” she signed.
They signed to each other easily for a while, and Melissa felt the connection between them grow stronger. As they talked, she grew more attracted to him and longed for something deeper. Then Kyle stopped and his gaze fell to her lips. He slowly moved toward her.
She smiled and moved forward to meet him. His soft lips pressed against hers, and her lips parted, kissing him back, as a tingle rushed through her.
After a few minutes, they pulled apart and gazed into each other’s eyes.
He smiled and signed, “Thank you.”
“That was nice,” she signed. A flow of desire filled her, and she shifted closer to him and leaned against him, feeling the warmth of his body. Resting her head on his shoulder, she smelled his sweet, masculine scent, and sighed.
After a few minutes, she sat up and looked at him. His face had softened and seemed warmer and more open.
They signed for a while longer, their hands and faces animated and expressive, and a feeling of intimacy continued to grow as they talked.
He stopped, looked at her tentatively, and then moved in for another kiss. Melissa responded passionately, deepening the kiss, her fingers entwining in his hair.
Pulling back, Melissa gazed into his eyes, seeing a kindred soul return her gaze. Feeling a wave of heat, she knew she had found a true friend and possibly much more, and she could feel that he felt the same.
As the puppy moved and started pulling on the leash, Melissa and Kyle stood up and looked at each other. Melissa’s heart felt full. It seemed that by signing to each other, their hands could more easily speak and express the words from their heart, as though they connected on a deeper level than merely spoken words could possibly touch.
She reached over and took his hand, and he quickly squeezed back, as they walked down the path, his warm hand holding hers. A deep affection for him filled her and she felt herself flush. Their hands, words, and expressions spoke volumes that their hearts could hear much easier than ears could.
True sounds of love.
Copyright © 2020 Lynn Miclea. All Rights Reserved.
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And visit her Amazon author page at – https://www.amazon.com/Lynn-Miclea/e/B00SIA8AW4