Russ and Daniel
I realize I haven't uploaded many personal writing segments. So here's something I've been toying with. It's far from finished, and it hints at science fiction/supernatural elements so one or two phrases might seem confusing. Think of this segment as an experiment, still in the process of being made.
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When Daniel first saw him it felt like a daydream. Russ, with mocha skin, short cropped curly hair, and chic thick-rimmed brown glasses; he talked with his hands. Sign language was something that Daniel was not familiar with but when Russ walked down the hall with a colleague, motioning and signaling with his hands and parted lips, Daniel followed his immediate urge to research the basics of sign language. *Daniel chose to appear as a six foot one inch tall man. Dark brown skin was the only shade dark enough to cover his true color.*(bare with me here)
Daniel had been teaching undergrad students philosophy for seven years but this was the first year that the history department was relocated to the philosophy corridor. This was the first year he had ever encountered Russ. The same day he saw him, he visited his classroom. He signed 'Hello, my name is D-a-n-i-e-l', like he had rehearsed. Then he signed 'How are you?' Those two short phrases earned him Russ’ beautiful smile which illuminated his entire face, shedding spare light on Daniel, causing him to fall harder for this handsome stranger. From then on in the conversation Russ and Daniel spoke verbally. Russ explained his cochlear implants and Daniel made an extra effort to speak clearly, although it was not needed because of Russ’s implants and adept ability to read lips. From this conversation Daniel learned that Russ taught Latin history, Spanish history, and also North American sign language. It was also in this conversation that Daniel learned how sweet Russ really was. He had informative opinions and the kindest nature. Russ expressed deep interest in Daniel’s fields of study, what others in the academic community would scoff at. Without hesitating, Daniel offered himself as an immediate resource if Russ should ever come to need anything.
They first went out as colleagues. Over a cup of coffee they exchanged conversation regarding their work. It was during this conversation that Daniel discovered Russ’ love for fashion, activism, small animals, and anything related to the environment. Daniel played a game with himself, speaking precisely enough so as to prop Russ up for a long-winded explanation or answer to a detailed, purposefully asked question. Russ spoke carefully, surely. Aware of his vowels and closing his consonants neatly. He couldn’t hear himself but he was measuring his breathing, Daniel noticed, taking note of the weight of his words, his volume. Daniel noticed the rhythm between the slight movements of Russ’s eyes and how they connected to the movement of his full lips. Daniel imagined how Russ’ tongue felt as it slipped along his teeth and conducted the patterns of his speech. He imagined how Russ felt out the words in his mouth, employing the habits he'd developed from years of practice as a non-hearer in a hearing world. Daniel noticed how engaged his entire face became in his intonation, soliloquy.
It was at the end of this conversation that Daniel asked Russ out on a proper date. At this point he felt confident that he had compiled enough data to read Russ’ social cues and gauge his interest. He grinned in his easygoing way. He blinked his eyes subtly, sweetly. He stared confidently, deeply. This did not keep him from blushing or feeling nervousness. Then Daniel asked. Here is the moment when Russ’ cheeks flushed and he laughed sweetly, almost as if surprised. Why was he surprised? Daniel later wondered. He must not have known his magnetizing, hypnotic effect. Russ nodded. 'Yes', he said. 'I’d love to', he said.
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Like I said, this is an experiment. It is nowhere near fully formed. It's just a piece of a puzzle that I'm working on.
Thanks for reading!