Speechless – chapter 2, scene 2 and 3
Aaron is being an ass and instituting a new rule. From now on, you won’t get full chapters of this story. This is the last time you’ll see anything of this length from Speechless… Even the excerpts will be shorter… They will be comprised of three letters taken from the fortieth word of every chapter. Those three letters may or may not be continuous. Have fun.
Ted left Brandon at the driveway. His hands were absolute in their orders.
Brandon was curious, enough for his own tools of communication to rise. He had started to sign something but stopped. A compromise was found in a confused nod.
Ted couldn’t stop thinking about the worst possible scenarios while he walked up the gravel driveway.
Who is he?
Where did you meet him?
What kind of loser is he that he wants to be friends with a mute?
His mother wasn’t the kind of person to pull punches, even on her own son. If she saw Brandon, she’d ask questions. If she asked questions, he’d answer her. He’d have to tell her the truth.
Mom, Brandon’s gay. He wants my virginity, but I’m just toying with him to learn more sign language.
He could imagine the heart attack as if it was happening right before him.
Ted opened the door. He steped inside, letting it close slowly behind him. The new hinges didn’t creak as much but even the slightest vibrations made his pulse pound. He didn’t make a sound. His legs were stone still. He stood there, listening for movement. If she was home it was going to be a lot harder to get back out. If ears could flair, Ted was sure his were.
It took a few minutes to be sure. She had an odd schedule. There were days she would be back at her normal hours. Others, she’d pick up an extra shift. Ted used to hate those nights. Over years of total control over dinner and late-night movies, he’d learned to live with it. He nodded to himself. This must have been one of those nights.
He walked down the hallway. He hated passing the pictures on those walls. They were staring, always watching. He had tried to sneak out once, a few weeks ago but he couldn’t get past that stretch of carpet. His sister’s picture was the worst. Her eyes had been so bright when they took the image that they nearly shined at night. During the day, he didn’t mind Chelsea so much. During the day, he liked to remember how she looked.
He opened the door to his room, still a little paranoid of sounds.
His room wasn’t normal. He knew it.
There were no pictures of scantilly clad women taped on his walls, no video game manuals stuffed into his bookcases. His childhood toys had been a few months after the accident. The only stereotypical ‘boyish’ trapping was a heavy weight set gathering dust in his corner.
He’d once been athletic.
More than a year of ‘taking it easy’ may have been enough to fix that. But it was more about his neck than the orders. Even once he was told he could go back to what once filled his life, he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. He’d grab a bat, dribble the ball, put the shoulder pads on and kick his shoes on the turf with a nightmare on his back.
The ball could hit your scar.
You could fall on your windpipe.
You’re not as strong as the other kids, not anymore.
The voice was his mother’s. She’d boycotted everything he’d tried since leaving the hospital. Somehow she was always there in spirit. It’d happened so many times that coaches stopped giving him a chance.
He had a new life now. Not something he really enjoyed but it was something he had to do. Finding a calling could come later. He needed to finish learning an entirely new language.
He had the ASL dictionary tacked up over his old jet-fighter wallpaper.
He underestimated the difficulty when he first started. He’d written a few rather confident words to his therapist when she told him that it was better to learn signing.
Bring it on.
She didn’t have to. It brought itself. It bellyflopped on him from thirty thousand feet up.
It was a few years but he was still learning new words, new phrases, new everything.
Ted checked through his window. Brandon was still there. He knew he wouldn’t wait there forever.
Where is it?
They were going to get something to eat. Brandon had smiled and sent his fingers flying into a question.
No. I’m not gay, dammit.
Had he ‘said’ that wrong? He didn’t want to hurt Brandon. He didn’t want to offend him.
He didn’t think he’d come across as crass.
Brandon’s response was a chuckle and nod. Ted was sure he’d heard him whisper ‘not yet’ under his breath.
That’s why he needed his money. He couldn’t let him get the bill if it wasn’t a date.
So where the hell is it?
He never took his wallet to the mall. Too many people, too much to distract. His friends, when he’d had them, called him paranoid. Though each one had either lost or ‘lost’ something important over the years. Ted never had such a problem. He’d misplace things every now and again. He was clumsy and forgetful but he’d always find what he was looking for.
He’d seen others searching for notebooks, pencils and pens. At some points, he’d known his friends to lose mp3 players and wallets. A less-than attentive classmate, Dan, had lost both his laptop and his cellphone on the same day, in the same room. Of course, some bad semaritan must have snatched them up, he never found them.
Those were things he never had to worry about. His house had one computer. It was old and huge and couldn’t be transported very easily. It was his mother’s and always sat in a corner of the family room. He used to have alotted time with it but couldn’t stand being observed during use. Cellphones were even more restricted. Chelsea was the first and the last to get one. When she died, the right went with her.
There wasn’t much rummaging. The room wasn’t ‘messy’, at least not to Ted. It was organized in a disorderly way. He knew where everything was. He knew where he’d placed everything.
He spied a corner the dark brown leather peeking from under his dresser.
He unsnapped the back and flipped it open. There was still some cash left over from his summer jobs. There was a lot, actually. He pulled a few tens and stuffed them in his back pocket.
The wallet went on his dresser. He went to the window.
Brandon was still there, sitting on the short brick wall of the terrace that raised the lawn from the level of the sidewalk. Ted’s heart raced for a second. He was talking to someone. Whoever it was, Ted couldn’t see them.
He checked the driveway. No car. That was good. At least it wasn’t his mother.
Ted couldn’t help his curiosity. He hated barging in on conversations but felt the urge to find out who was filling his new friend’s time.
He went into the office down the hall, ignoring the pictures just this once.
He drew the curtains back. His mother liked to do her paperwork without the outside world peering in. She’d stay up until the sun rose and didn’t want to have to stop to shut everything out. She made sure her little room was impenetrable at all times. He just had to be sure to put them back.
Brandon had stood. He was blocking the view. Whoever it was, they were shorter and slimmer. Brandon was tall, but he couldn’t be called wide by any definition.
A girl? Ted felt a pang of bigotry guilt when the irony hit him. His gay friend could talk to girls easier than he could.
Ted leaned to his side. He caught a flash of red hair. The hint of a smile and a spaghetti strap revealed by an oversized sweater hanging from a shoulder.
Ted fell to the floor, half from loss of balance, half from simple surprise.
He wasted no time in scrambling to his feet and bolting out the door.
Posted on 05/02/2011, in Excerpts, Freewriting, Projects, Speechless, Speechless, Updates and tagged aaron, comedy, errant, fiction, humor, literary, literature, mall, mute, paper airplanes, romance, shively, studios, writing, young adult. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.