The first time we spoke was a time that I will always remember. We were sitting on the dock at summer camp hoping to escape from the hot, sticky weather and really had nothing else to do. Since our last names both started with “M”, we were assigned to the same cabin. My name is Rebekah McNair. Hers was Martha McFadden.
At this point you are probably very confused since I started off by saying that we were speaking when I’m obviously wearing a hearing aid. Yes, I am deaf, but my hearing aid helps me some- I can hear low pitches and I have worked with several different people that have helped me with speaking and listening. Now I can usually have a conversation with someone who doesn’t speak ASL (American Sign Language). Facing them and directing my full attention during the conversation helps a lot with this.
Anyways, you probably don’t want to hear about that- I mean, it’s Valentine’s Day, so there’s obviously a love story here. I’ll just give you a warning that this isn’t a traditional love story where guy meets girl, they instantly fall in love with each other, get married, ride off into the sunset… I’m sure you get where I’m going.
We were talking about boys, kissing- that sort of thing that stereotypical teenage girls talk about. No, I’m not a stereotypical teenage girl, but I did fantasize about having some sort of Cinderella story happening to me. I had never had a crush before, but I knew that the day where I did have one would soon come, and I wanted to be ready.
Martha had a guy she liked. His name was Talin. He wasn’t at camp this summer because he had gotten accepted to an elite summer clinic for basketball. Or maybe it was football or soccer. I’ve never been a big sports person. She loved talking about him and told me crazy stories about how after the first game of the season his team would win and he would give her a big kiss as his team strutted off the field. I was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to happen, but she believed that it would. She always had this crazy amount of confidence, only some of which rubbed off onto me.
That crazy amount of confidence was what made her suggest that we dye our hair together. I thought that she was kidding, but she was actually serious. She said that she was going to do bright pink since it was our favorite color. When she asked what color I wanted to do, I made it very clear that I liked my hair the color it was. She said that I had to do this- we were rebellious teens after all, and what better way to rebel than by dying our hair?
When we got back, the first thing she did was buy our hair dye. She picked out silver for me and said that it would remind me to always shine bright like the stars. I just nodded and hoped that it would look alright and not like I was some old granny failing at acting young.
Afterwards, I had to admit that it looked good. She also taught me new, bolder ways to do my makeup. She said that guys would like me if I seemed confident (which I wasn’t) and what better way to look confident than by wearing pink lipstick and long strokes of eyeliner?
When Martha wasn’t daydreaming about Talin she was practicing the electric bass. She was really good and it was something that I could easily listen to without missing out on much. My favorite place to be was right in front of the speakers where I could easily feel the vibration. Sometimes we would in the band shell at the park and she would play all day while I held out a jar for tips. We made some good money. She always insisted that we split it fifty-fifty even though I barely did anything. She said that being a good friend was a good enough reason for paying me. That was the first time that I felt like something was wrong when she called me just a friend. I would get a pang in my stomach every time and started happening so much that I couldn’t even be around her without feeling like I was going to throw up.
The weekend before school started was the first game of the football season. She insisted that I go even though I really hated these kinds of events. No one seemed to realize that I couldn’t hear them when the bass from whatever super-loud music was taking over my body and begging for me to surrender. That was assuming that they weren’t standing behind me. People always get angry at me when they walk up behind me and start talking but I don’t respond. Even if I was hearing, how would I know that they were talking to me?
Beforehand, we ate some hot dogs that someone had grilled up while sitting on the end of my pickup. We made sure not to go into the stadium until right after the game had started so that we could easily get in and find someplace to stand. I got really scared for a moment when Talin made a good play and blew a kiss in our direction. It could have been to one of what felt like millions of people around us, but Martha was convinced that it was meant for her and almost fainted. Nothing else really exciting happened at the game. Martha helped me understand enough of what was going on so I wasn’t completely confused- when she wasn’t obsessing over how amazing Talin was.
Our team ended up winning and everyone ran around like maniacs to celebrate. By the time we got down to the gate where the players exit the field, they were long gone. Then we headed back to the parking lot to celebrate with everything else. I turned on some of my favorite music and we started dancing. Then Talin appeared and Martha got super excited. I just acted like it was no big deal and continued dancing normally, expecting them to start making out or something. Instead, he came up to me and started talking. “Happy to see you at a game for once. What did you think of it?”
I was startled. Why would he talk to someone like me? “It seemed good, but I know nothing about football,” I said, shrugging.
“That’s okay- how about we hang out tomorrow so I can teach you some stuff?” he replied.
Martha had moved into my peripheral vision and I could tell that something was wrong. Then I realized that he was trying to ask me out. I frantically shook my head. “I, uh, am busy tomorrow. Family stuff. Actually, I have to get going now. My parents don’t like me staying out too late.”
“Of course- see you at school on Tuesday!” he said as he walked away. I turned towards Martha and motioned for her to get in the pickup.
Once we hit a red light, I turned off the music so she could talk. “Of course he wanted to be with you. Why would anyone want to be with me? I’m not some pretty, shy girl who sits there nicely and pretends all the time. No one’s ever going to love me!” She started sobbing.
The light turned green and I hit the gas pedal. “I do.”
She waited until the next red light so I could listen properly to her reply. “You- wait, what? You’re my friend. I’m not talking about friend love- I’m talking about romantic love.” Her voice sounded panicky and I realized that I had taken so much of her confidence that I had spoken without thinking. I still replied with the truth because even if she was just my friend she still deserved it.
“I love you- in that way- romantically.”
“I’m not gay. You can be, if you want, but I’m straight.”
We started moving again and I turned the music back on as the thoughts in my head settled down. I had just had my first rejection and had possibly lost a friend that it felt like I had just made. I drove up her driveway and stopped the car so she could get out, then left for my own house. So much for a sleepover and a session of listening to her talk about Talin. She didn’t even say goodbye.
It was hard to get to sleep last night, and I just knew that she couldn’t sleep either. Normally when this happened we would have a late-night texting session, but I didn’t want to talk to her right now. I didn’t even want to check my phone to see if she had tried to contact me because I didn’t want to see her in that picture that I had taken of her at camp. I could see it perfectly in my head anyways- she had the prettiest smile, surrounded by the nature that she loved, and the sunset behind her framed her petite body making it oh-so-attractive. I blocked out my thoughts of her as best as I could and eventually I fell asleep.
The dream I had that night was so perfect that it could never happen. I walked up to a castle in a gorgeous dress to see Martha lying on the path, looking at the stars. I asked her what she was doing and she turned her head to face me. “Ah, there’s my brightest star,” she said as she got up. She took my arm in hers and led me up the steps into the ballroom.
She turned again to face me. “May I have this dance?”
“Yes,” I replied eagerly. She held me in her arms, the same strong arms that normally held her bass, and waltzed me around the room. It was strange because everything was so clear to me. I didn’t have my hearing aid but the sounds of music and voices were clearer than ever. I fell into the rhythm of the dance, hoping that it would never end.
Then we kissed. I can’t describe how it felt- it’s something that you have to experience for yourself to understand. But I felt so happy, euphoric, in that moment.
Gazing into her eyes, I felt a hint of magic in the air and knew that this wasn’t real. Life wasn’t a Cinderella story like this. Things weren’t coated in stardust like this, and I couldn’t hear like this. The castle didn’t exist. This moment didn’t exist.
Right as the clock that wasn’t there struck midnight, she whispered the three words that I now treasure: “I love you”.
They were the words that weren’t real; the words that I never heard.
Author’s Note: This was written for the monthly short-story contest on the Sims forums. The theme for this month was “a different kind of love”. As you can probably tell, I decided to use Sims 2 this month instead of 4 because I needed to show scenes that took place in a car and with a bass, both of which you can’t do in 4 (or you can with mods that I haven’t gotten to work). The castle used is Cinderella’s Castle by Christine11778 and can be downloaded on Mod the Sims. Happy Valentine’s Day, and hopefully you’ll find love (even if it’s just in your dreams).