Windows to the Soul

Her eyes froze me. I had never met someone who could say so much without a single word. Thoughts played like pictures across two small blue screens. The slightest lift of her eyebrow could convey things more clearly than most of my dim-witted friends and it is no wonder. They had willingly traded in the treasure of words for the sake of fitting in. How am I expected to know the true feelings of a person who would rather say “LOL” than share the actual joy of laughter with me?

But it was not what she could say to me that chilled my soul, it was what she could read. I felt naked when her gaze held mine.

When I met her I spelled my name slowly. S. A. M. It was one of the few things I remembered from my childhood neighbor Jackson. He was deaf too. And like her, he could read lips.

She nodded and spelled her name to me. I caught the “S” because I had one in my name, but the rest was lost on me. Luckily her friend was there to tell me her name was Allison. She spent a few moments with us translating for Allison, but her sideways glances made it clear that she was more interested in the guy with the tight jeans and big muscles.

That was the first time I saw how much one look could say. A little half-smile and nod and her friend was off to try and win her prize. It wasn’t just that the look said, “Go ahead. You can leave.” Somehow it said, “You have my permission to leave. We will be good. I have done this before and we can speak without you.”

I caught all of it. I stood shocked by two things. The first was that I knew her intent. That’s so much different than knowing what she said. It’s deeper. All the different ways of saying something were stripped away. I did not have to guess if she meant what she said because she did not say anything. She simply showed what she thought, what she felt.

The second thing that shocked me was that feeling of “we”. It seemed more important somehow than a normal “we”. This was no superficial “we”. I had just met her, but her eyes told me she felt safe with me. This would have been nice under normal circumstances, but at the moment it scared the hell out of.

Before the look that sent her friend scurrying, she stared into my eyes. Social etiquette would say that you can only do this for so long before it gets awkward and then you must look away. I did not want to look away, but I am always sensitive to being perceived as creepy. As she looked at me, and I at her, I watched for the signs that would tell me it was time to look away, but they never came. Her eyes invited me to stay there in that moment.

Now I don’t recall my eyes inviting her in, but apparently she just felt like she could just hop in my soul and have a look around. After a surprisingly quick search, she felt that I was safe. Next thing you know, poof, her friend’s gone and I am looking at the only person in the world who can read me like a book.

That’s when I knew I had to kill her.

Just kidding. It scared me though. She must of known this too because she just smiled, winked, and nodded for me to follow her. She led me out side where we sat on the porch swing and stared at the stars. Our hands slid together perfectly. It was like finding the place that puzzle piece was made to fit after trying every other place. I couldn’t see the whole picture yet, but I knew it would be beautiful.

Copyright © 2013 Adam Drake

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36 comments

  1. I loved this, Adam! But… That line about killing her doesn’t fit. It could work as an ending with some setup, like maybe Jackson had disappeared and no one ever found him, but told sympathetically so we don’t suspect. Maybe even with an alternate ending about the things Sam was afraid she’d see?

    I personally want to read:

    …who can read me like a book.

    It scared me, being exposed that way, feeling so vulnerable. She must have…

    I’ll be curious to see what others think. I do love it, and I really love the last lines about the puzzle.

    1. Thanks Annie! I know it’s kind of random, but I like it. My mind is kind of random. And I don’t actually want it to be about a killer. I was hoping it would show that outrageous humor was a sort of defense mechanism for him.

  2. I”m not sure if the killing line should go – I literally felt my breath sucking in with shock as my eyes slipped over those words – authors live to get that kind of reaction from readers.

    1. I’ve spent 15 minutes trying to figure out what to say and feel like I’m not able to convey what’s inside me. Thank you is just too weak. You lifted my heart. I may just print this out so that every time I begin to doubt I can see it again.

  3. I liked the simplicity of your story! It’s simple to me because it is simple to understand, it is simple to feel… It would be good to know what more happens between them. 🙂

    1. Truth be told, I’m a simple guy. I don’t know that I would be very good at creating something complicated. The fact that you want more is one of the greatest compliments an author can get. Thank you.

  4. This is lovely! I especially love this part… “It was like finding the place that puzzle piece was made to fit after trying every other place. I couldn’t see the whole picture yet, but I knew it would be beautiful”.

    sighhhh ~ beautiful. 🙂

  5. Wonderful story, Adam, I enjoyed it. My only complaint is that it is too short. You have created a great scenario here and it could have been explored more thoroughly. There are millions of possiblities as to where the tale could have gone. This work could have been developed into a professional short story.

    Please look on my comment as a minor criticism and keep up the good work.

    JW

    1. I LOVE honest feedback. Anytime you would like to offer your opinions I am happy to listen. My goal is to get better, not to try and get “pat on the backs”. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Nice story. Really nice. I’m on the anti-“I had to kill her” side, but only because it was a turning point sentence for me. If you’d continued with the plot twist you’d just thrown in, it would’ve been great. But since you threw it out as a random “gottcha” that had nothing to do with the story, it sort of took me out of the moment. All the rest of it, though, was great. I love that the majority of the “conversation” takes place between their eyes. Very cool moment you created! 🙂

    1. Thank you! It was fun to write; almost like a moment that I got to watch happen, rather than create. And as for the “I had to kill her” line, I knew it would not be for everyone. For some reason I just could not resist! Thanks again!

    1. Thanks. I think that is the most common comment I get as far as the negative side of things. Many of my stories are too short. I’m just afraid to blabber on and sometimes I go to the opposite extreme.

  7. I’m in the same boat as Dawn. wouldn’t have minded the “killer” if it went somewhere or was explained that it was a humorous thought. Felt shocking but by the end it was simply an interruption to an otherwise very poignant story.

    Two other things caught my attention, for some reason I thought they were already outside since her friend was oogling another guy so when they left to go outside to the porch swing it didn’t seem to connect with any location or setting. I also thought the line about them holding hands immediately after meeting was moving fast since my impression was that they were mature and seeing more than a physical connection.

    Love the lines, “They had willingly traded in the treasure of words for the sake of fitting in. How am I expected to know the true feelings of a person who would rather say “LOL” than share the actual joy of laughter with me?”

    Anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of knowing a deaf person and befriending them can totally relate to how much is communicated with simple looks rather than signs or words. I would love to read more about the development of this relationship.

    1. Ladies and gentlemen, meet my sister.

      I’m glad you mentioned the “going outside” thing. I had a picture of where they were in my mind, but now I realize that I didn’t really provide that clearly to the reader. Thanks. Love you!

      1. I almost mentioned the “outside” thing too. I thought they were outside for the same reason.

        The reactions to the killing line seem fairly evenly split. It was great to read them all!

        1. I love the feedback! It helps me realize things I would never have thought about but readers will and that can make all the difference.

          I know! I can’t believe it. I thought it would be like 95% with you!

  8. In a way I wish you would have allowed “That’s when I knew I had to kill her” to play out. To add in that line allows for a sinister turn. To retreat into “Just kidding” is a total cop out. This story could be taken to an entirely diffferent level. You have a woman who can truly see. If you were to turn the tables on a man who felt he had lulled someone into a sense of safety where none existed… The contrast between understanding is so ripe… The shades of intimacy to explore… Please. Please. Please. Do something more with this…

    1. I have gotten so many varied opinions on that single line! It’s kind of fun to see how different people react to it. I personally like it just the way it is. It’s one of those flashes of humor that shoot through a guy’s mind from time to time. Following it the way you suggest would make a compelling story, but I’m a softy at heart and wanted a sweet ending. (Even if it makes for a weaker story)

  9. Hey Adam,
    I’ve just stumbled onto your page and I’m glad I did. I wanted to know if this is published. I know this sounds random…but check out my page and please let me know if you would be interested in being considered as a contributor to our anthology. You can catch me on aatmjabba@outlook.com. Thank you for your time and keep up the good work!

    1. I have never published this story anywhere but this blog. Thanks for thinking that it might be a good fit for the anthology, but it looks like I missed the last day to submit. I would love to check out the finished product when it’s done though!

      1. That was the deadline for external submissions. We still have one more week left to scout pieces. If you’re willing to have me forward your work to editors, that would be great. If not, thank you for the read. I will keep everyone posted on my blog so be sure to follow.

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