by Michele Linder
I watch her from where I am. I see her smile while she is watching others, watching and waiting for someone to take the time to come and talk to her on her terms — one-on-one.
I see the light in her eyes when she speaks and listens to what they have to say, and in a little while they are gone.
She’s still smiling. I go to her and tease her. I tickle her neck, I whisper in her deaf ears knowing she can’t hear me, but also knowing she loves my taunts and teasing. She loves me like no other.
I speak to her. If she can’t ‘get’ what I’m saying, I finger-spell (she taught me) the sentence until she understands. I am patient and attentive… until I see a cousin or sister run by, and then I have to go. Child’s play is so alluring.
I’m still watching her. When no one takes the time, I see her focus on her hands. She turns them over, examining every crease, every line, every scar, and she feels the softness and roughness with her fingers.
I always wondered why she was so interested in her own hands? What made them so mesmerizing? What about them demanded such attention? Her smile is gone, she has more of a contemplative look on her lips. I can see her thinking.
What is she thinking? I used to wonder, but now I know. When no one takes the time, you begin to feel the world shrink away, you need a diversion to keep the sadness at bay and to steer your mind away from how truly isolated you feel.
Now that I’m deaf, I find myself mesmerized by my own hands.