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People talking without…

There is a solitary streetlamp at the bus stop, and two impeccably dressed men stand bathed in its yellow light. I am a dozen feet away, far enough to be invisible in the darkness. I, however, can see them plainly. It is close to midnight but their bodies do not show the fatigue this late hour merits. Their faces are still smiling, backs not hunched over and their shoulders do not slouch  – it might as well have been the break of dawn for these two.

Something isn’t quite right. I see them grinning and shoulders occasionally shaking from laughter, but I hear no sound. No guffaws to go with the laughs, no stray sentences carried by the wind, and no loud words from raised voices. I know I’m not deaf.

They are.

I move a few steps and see their hands furiously signing away. All the while, each is looking at the other’s eyes and never his fingers. I wonder what it is like to be a part of that conversation – unaided by sound and unhindered by noise, dependent on the other’s hands yet never losing eye contact, each sign pure function absent useless form. I have a feeling that they choose their words carefully, and absent voices they are communicating more than I could in the same time. That makes me feel a little jealous.

Presently they finish their conversation. They give each other the most genuine embrace I have seen in a long time, and walk in opposite directions. This is strange – they did not wait to leave on a bus, so they probably came here on one. There are very few houses nearby and they walked – so they must live very close to each other. And yet, they talked under a streetlight and parted with an embrace so deep it is reserved for departing loved ones.

Perhaps that is what happened – these two gentlemen have just returned from the last dinner they would have before one leaves for good. One of the two walks by me with slow steps, head down, lost in thought. The last thing I see on his face is something a little short of a smile – something that looks like contentment, or acceptance. For the second time that night, I am jealous of a deaf person.

Now I only hear the rustling of the leaves, but I am suddenly aware of how loud my world is. I put on my earphones and play some noise of my choosing, and wait.

Categories: Uncategorized
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