Faces Expressing Excess

Alright so I lied yesterday when I said I would post twice. I mean I had every intention but after work I accidentally took a three hour nap and then after just had a movie night with Ma. So yeah…and I apologize for that cause when I remembered and looked to see it was 11:53 I was pretty bummed. But today! Today I will make it happen. Starting with the piece below. I have always been fascinated with ASL and love to read stories or fics where a character is deaf and others have to adapt or learn. I myself need to learn more than just the alphabet but that is another project for another time. Hope you enjoy the short story, and if anyone has advice or insight on writing it better feel free to share cause I’d love to hear it.

***

At least he smell of coffee is surrounding me, that let’s e relax a little bit. Stuart is trying his best too, keeping a calm, warm hand over top mine, his thumb brushing repeatedly over my knuckles. When he can see I’ve just transferred my nerves to my jumping knee he squeezes and says, “Hey you don’t need to be so anxious, he will love you.”

It’s probably around the seventh time in three hours he has said that. I bite my lip on a quick comeback, I don’t need to be mean just because I am preempting my own embarrassment. “As coincided as this sounds that’s not what I am really worried about.” I say before taking a sip of my drink to continue on. “I am more nervous I am going to do something really offensive. I keep telling myself what you said; to just be normal but remember to look at him so he can see my like but I am so afraid I’ll talk obnoxiously loud and slow like he is an old person.”

Again I feel the pressure of his hand tightening on mine and he brings my focus back to him. “And if you do you won’t be the first, even in our family. Some of our aunts and uncles took years to understand Miles could keep up just fine without either of that. Took them even longer to learn to sign once mom and dad suggested it.”

“I don’t know how to sign at all.” I break in. When Stuart first signed in front of me we were at a store and a lady was having trouble communicating with an employee. He had stepped in and translated. Both ladies were so grateful and I was stunned. We had just started to hang out and he had not mentioned much about his family, especially that he had a brother who was deaf.

Miles was born without the ability to hear and immediately their family adjusted. All who could learned ASL before Miles could barely even babble so they were prepared. Stuart was seven, and the oldest so he taught his younger sister Ava and even really helped Miles when the time came.

He rolls his eyes. “Liar. You know the alphabet and a few key words and phrases. Don’t make me sound like a bad teacher.”

And he wasn’t, Stuart was an excellent teacher. His kindergarten kids lives him for one, and I did know a few things from his lessons. Just not enough to hold a full conversation with Miles. When he had called and said he was coming to Portland for the weekend I tried to learn more but I am an awfully slow.

I gave a small smile and turned my hand palm up so I could snake my fingers between his. “You’re not,” I said, “You are incredible, I am just sad I can’t be more accommodating to Miles.”

The bell of the little shop’s door rang and in came a spitting image of Stuart, but younger, with glasses, and much more plaid. Stuart waves to catch Miles’ eye as he whispered, “Don’t worry you’ll be fine. He doesn’t need any special treatment anyways the brat.”

Before he was even at our table Miles’ hands were flying and somehow I just know he had caught the brat comment, not that Stuart had turned his head to hide it.

They hugged as I stood beside Stuart reminding myself of all the things I had been told. “Miles this is Beth.”

Nodding I also waves and signed nice to meet you that I had been practicing all morning. Miles grinned wide and signed you too back.

Stuart was practically vibrating with happy as we sat down. Without hesitation the two of them fell into a familiar pattern with their hands flying gracefully and faces expressing excess emotion and tone. I and been worried I would feel like an intruder when they got comfortable and going but their ease was contagious. And as Stuart kept a running commentary I always knew what was being said.

Once in a while in would catch some gestures I recognized and I think Miles could tell because he would smile just a bit wider and angle towards me a little more before he fell back into Stuart’s line of vision. Before I was aware my jitters had stopped fully and I let the smells of coffee and company relax me.

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