Have you ever experienced a moment that forever impacted your life?
I remember my moment.
I was in the fourth grade. Every Tuesday there was a music class. I was never particularly interested in this music class. I was probably the only student who kind of kept my head down, and pretended to be paying attention when really I was bored out of my mind.
On one Tuesday Ms. LeBlac, the music teacher, decided I wasn’t participating enough for her liking. Even though she knew why I wasn’t participating, she still decided to make an example out of me.
So, she made me stand up in front of the class and sing Frère Jacques all by myself. She gave me a sheet of paper with the lyrics printed on it, and then threw me to the sharks.
I stood their petrified as I stared at the lyric sheet. My hands shook and I felt suddenly nauseous. I didn’t like to be in the spotlight as it was, but that was just way too embarrassing.
Ms. LeBlac kept looking at me, yelling for me to sing. After several minutes of being stared at by my classmates and yelled at by Ms. LeBlac, I finally decided to just bite the bullet.
I opened my mouth to sing, doing the best I could to my ability. The words came out garbled and slurred. I cringed because even though I couldn’t hear myself clearly, I knew I had badly messed up the words and that I must have been extremely off key.
Even so, Ms. LeBlac made me sing the whole song.
When I was done my classmates all laughed at me and started imitating me.
I dropped the music sheet and darted out of the room feeling humiliated. I cried so hard that my homeroom teacher had to call my mom to come pick me up.
The next day after, on the playground I could see the lips of my classmates move as they sang out, “Klarrisa Lark is tone deaf. Tone deaf.”
After that my classmates started to bully me. With each year the bullying and harassment had gotten worse and worse.
All because of that one incident I had become a target to a bunch of insensitive jerks.
I’m not tone deaf.
I have a hearing impairment.
My mom shakes me awake “Get ready for school.” She signs with her hands.
I roll over to look at the alarm clock. Eight am. Thank goodness that I don’t have to be at school at seven, like the other kids do. That is the only perk of being a “special case” kid in a public school system.
I take my time getting up, doing my daily hygiene routine, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and sorting through what school books I’ll need for today.
By nine am I’m out the door and ready for Hellside High- Ahem pardon my mistake- I mean Hillside High.
I grab my skateboard and helmet from the garage. It’s the only choice of ride I have unless I want my mom to drop me off as if I’m a five year old who can’t find her way to school.
I put the light blue helmet on top of my head, not caring if it messes up my hair, being as I didn’t brush it anyways. After that, I throw my skateboard down on the ground and zoom off to Hell- My bad again- I mean high school.
Fifteen minutes later I’m walking into the front office to hand my ride and head protection over to the secretary, Mrs. Thorex.
“Guard it with your life.” I greet her with a salute, as I do every morning, signing as I slur the words out loud.
Mrs. Thorex rolls her eyes, but still manages a smile on her grumpy face as she took the board and helmet from me.
I walk to my first class of the day- my least favorite class of the day that is. Third period English.
I stroll inside the classroom, even though class has started about 10 minutes ago. The teacher ignores my presence as always. He just keeps on blabbing on about god knows what. I ignore him as well, as I make my way to my assigned seat in the very front row.
As soon as I sit down I feel someone kick my seat. I look behind me to see Demetri Vega smirking as he kicks my seat again.
Just great. First five minutes of being at school and I have to deal with him and it doesn’t seem like he is going to play nice right now.
“Morning Princess of Deaftonia. Couldn’t hear the alarm clock ring?” He says mockingly, drawing a crown into the air on purpose just to piss me off.
He’s just so cocky. Sure he’s good looking, has money, and is popular, but his two-faced behavior is starting to get on my nerves.
I raise my middle finger at him instantly.
He smirks and pointed behind me.
I turn around to meet Mr. Turner, the teacher. He doesn’t not look pleased with me at all. I guess maybe he isn’t always going to ignore me.
“Miss Lark, give me one reason not to send you to the principal’s office right this instant.” He seems to shout. Teachers always shout at me, as if that will make me hear them better.
I guess they don’t understand that I’m ace at reading lips so there’s no need to shout. Shouting doesn’t help much anyways.
“Well first of all, I’m pretty sure the principal would love to hear how you make me take spelling tests verbally even though I have a problem with that.” I respond, tapping the side of my face, close to my left ear.
Mr. Turner’s face turns red instantly from what I guess is anger. He then stalks back to his place by the blackboards, ignoring me again.
A piece of folded paper drops over my shoulder and lands in front of me. I turn back to look at Demetri, raising an eyebrow at him. He just shrugs.
I give him a slight glare before turning back around. I harp hazardously open the piece of paper, not caring if I accidentally tear the sides a bit.
I bite my lip before reading the words Demetri had previously scrawled on the paper- “What the hell is your problem, Risa?”
What the hell is my problem? Is he serious?
"You. You’re my problem, you dirt bag.” I write back before tossing the paper over my shoulder, not even bothering to fold it back up.
A minute later the paper is tossed back my way. This time he wrote, “Don’t be so sensitive. You know I don’t mean it. I’m just keeping up appearances.”
“Could you ease up a little? I mean seriously. You just do it to get a rise out of me, don’t you?” I write back before tossing it back his way.
Again the paper finds its way back to my desk. “I’ll make it up to you. Meet me at the usual spot at lunch.” I read what he wrote before balling the paper up in my hands and shoving it into my pocket.
I ignore Demetri for the rest of the class period. He deserves it.
I pretty much blur past the next two periods of Math and Biology, ignoring the looks I get and the insults mouthed my way.
Once the bell for lunch rings I’m quick to make my way to the parking lot. I know the assigned parking spot for Demetri’s Cadillac by heart. I also know by one glance that his Cadillac isn’t there at this moment. I cross my arms over her chest hoping there’s a good reason for it. He better not have ditched me or there will be hell to pay on his part.
I stand there for five more minutes before debating whether I should just leave. Right when I’m about to turn around I see his Cadillac swerve into the parking lot and circle around before parking in its designated place.
I stand planted in my spot, glaring at the charcoal color of the car.
Every time I see that car it reminded me of how Demetri is a spoiled rich kid who plays around with his daddy’s money. His way of life is so different from mine. While he lives in a mansion with his whole entire family, I live in a messy apartment with only my mother.
Demetri rolls the driver’s side window down. “Get in.” He says as he faces me directly.
I have half the mind to tell him that he can go fuck off for making me wait, but I’m not really in the mood to fight with him about it. I made a face at him as I walk across the front of the car, heading towards the passenger’s side. I open the door and throw myself into the seat before closing the door behind me.
“Sorry I made you stand there for a little while. I have something for you.” He tells me before holding up a finger, asking me to wait a moment. He bends around, reaching into the backseat so he can pull out a black bag. “I skipped 5th period to go buy it for you.” He adds in as if that’s supposed to impress me.
He pulls a small square shaped box out of the bag.
He opens the box up and shows me the contents inside. It’s a silver necklace with a diamond chip encrusted crown shaped pendent.
“Is that supposed to be romantic?” I deadpan.
“Come here,” He says, ignoring my comment and motioning for me to turn around.
I sigh as I move closer, facing my back to him. I pull my messy dark brown hair to the side, letting him put the necklace on for me. After he has the necklace clasped, he places a hand on my right hip keeping me with my back turned to him.
I shivered as I feel his lips press against the side of my neck. “I love you” I feel him mouth the words against my skin. He then takes my chin in his hands, moving my face to press a chaste kiss to my lips.
“You are my deaf princess.” He says as I look up at him.
I turn to punch him lightly in the shoulder. “I’m not deaf.” I mumble.
He tilts his head back to laugh. “Okay, okay. My partially deaf princess.” He replies back.
“Slightly better,” I say before pulling him in for another kiss.
After lunch ends I make a point to skip my sixth period physical education class. I’m in a good mood and don’t want the bitches in that class to ruin it with their daily harassment.
I go straight to the nurse’s office. I tell Ana, the school nurse, that I’m feeling dizzy. Even though I’m a regular around this time, she doesn’t question it. She always lets me occupy one of her sick cots in the back of her office.
When I reach the two sick cots I realize that the left one is already occupied by someone. I think nothing of it as I go to lay down on the only open cot. I lay on my stomach, so I can secretly take out my phone and text; not that Ana would have really cared even if she caught me.
I’m untouchable, or at least I think I am.
After fifteen minutes of laying on my stomach and texting, I feel like someone is watching me. I turn around slightly. My light brown eyes met the gaze of bright blue ones. I nearly jump out of my skin in surprise. I hadn’t expected the kid on the cot next to mine to have his head tilted up staring at me.
“Nice ass.” I see his mouth move to form the words.
I glare at him in response, moving out of my current laying positing. Instead I decided to sit up on my knees so this creep can no longer look at my ass.
“I was kidding.” He then adds in a bit too late. “Chill, I’m not the type of guy who’d hit on every hot chick he sees. Though mostly that’s because you look like the type that might bite me if I step out of line.” He says with a grin.
I narrow my eyes as I purposely turn away from him so I can no longer see his mouth move. At least this way even if I can hear the jumbling up of words as it reaches my ears at least I won’t really know what he’s saying. Being hearing impaired is a great advantage when I need to ignore someone.
At least it would have been great if he hadn’t sat up and started tapping on my shoulder.
“What do you want?” I snap as I turn to face him, giving him an irritated look.
His eyes widen. My voice must sound funny to him. It seems to take him a moment before he finally understand. “Oh.”
“Oh.” I echo his word back at him.
He sit there and stares at me for a long moment just not saying anything. “You have a hearing disability?” He mouths as he gestures to me in perfect American Sign Language.
It’s my turn to grow wide eyes. “You know ASL?” I sign back.
He grins at me before he leans in closer. He pushes back his shaggy dark blonde hair, turning to the right to show me his hearing aid. He then smooths his hair back in place before scooting back.
“I have Meniere’s disease. It only effects my right ear, but it’s still pretty brutal.” He signs. “I’m surprised you don’t wear a hearing aid.” He then adds, before pointing at my bare eyes.
“It doesn’t work.” I sign back with a frown.
It feels weird to be signing with someone at school, but at the same time it’s less frustrating then having to try to keep up with Demetri when he talks.
For a long while this guy with the hearing aid and I sign back and forth to each other.
I learn that he’s a transfer student that previous lived out of state, and that he has skipped all his classes today by hiding out in the nurse’s office.
We continue to sign to each other until the nurse informs us that the bell has rang. I make my move to get up and leave.
He grabs my arm. “Wait, you’re not going to skip last period?” He asks with a raised eyebrow.
“No. I have art class. I actually like that one.” I reply back.
He seems to smile at that. “I forget to introduce myself. I’m Skyler SinClare.”
“Klarrisa Lark. Call me Risa.” I smile back at him, giving a nod before leaving the nurses’ office.
For the first time in a long time I feel like I actually had a pretty decent day at school.