Art by @suncelia on twitter
I remembered the first time my mother had lied to me.
Granted, it was a small white lie that wasn’t really detrimental to my upbringing in her eyes, but it was a catalyst to something I could never forget.
She had sent me to a summer camp when I was seven, one of those rich kid camps one would be stoked to send to if you were anyone else but me.
I remembered vividly how she reassured me that ‘“it would all be fine” and I just “needed to get out there and make friends”.
Well, she wasn’t completely wrong.
In a sense, the “friends” I made weren’t quite friendly, but all of the mothers in her youth group sent their children to camp, so there was no way to get out of it.
The mere thought of being cooped up in a bunk bed with other kids that found my presence threatening was nauseating, but my mother told me it was fine.
I believed her.
It was the first time the concept of trust was introduced into my life, as I trusted my mother.
When I came back after four weeks, I was slightly confused but never really said anything.
The first time the concept of trust was introduced into my life, it was broken.
The last day of summer camp brought me to one realisation that still stuck with me until today. Trust is a wicked thing, and to trust someone is a sinking hole that leaves scratches on your entire body.
My blaring alarm clock threw me out my musings and I groaned at the red letters blinking into my eyes.
With slow movements, I sat up in my bed with the sunlight blaring into my room and making me squint.
My ears hurt.
It was only to be expected, the sensitivity to light and my ears blaring and throbbing although there was only the beeping from my alarm clock.
My hypersensitivity cycle began today.
Carefully I turned off the clock and although I knew that I just turned it off, the steady sounds kept replaying in my ears even though it was quiet. It echoed in my mind and took on a distorted undertone that made my head hurt.
“Agh-“, I held my temple and quickly rummaged in my drawers to find two tiny earplugs made out of beeswax that I placed in my ears. They already dulled whatever sounds were around me, but If I wanted to go to class that wouldn’t be enough.
With all of the chattering and the chairs being pushed around it would literally be a living nightmare.
Finally, I found what I was looking for.
My hands grasped around the noise cancelling headphones and briskly placed them over my head.
These pairs of headphones were actually made for noise cancelling in careers with a lot of noise such as architects or builders, but there was always another way to use things to your advantage.
In this case, a perfect way for me to shield and save myself from the onslaught of auditary overstimulation.
Another thing: they were waterproof.
After a quick shower and putting on a brown sweater and washed out jeans I grabbed my glasses and made my way to class.
Oh, and a scent blocking mask of course.
I opened the door and waited for a moment to check for the level of noise that would still dimly make its way through my eardrums, but it was pretty much bearable.
I should take an aspirin later just to be sure.
A faint touch in my back made me almost jump, but as it turns out it was just Asami waving at me.
She said something, but then her eyes trailed up to my obvious choice of head accessory and she opted to communicate differently.
[Hi! Your cycle?]
Her hands moved around the air fluently as she signed to me, which was another positive thing about her teaching me sign language when we were younger.
[Yes, I have class now]
She nodded with a smile.
[Is everything okay? No problems?]
Her hands stayed close to her torso as she kept them up and I nodded too.
[I’m fine, nothing new. I got my headphones]
[Okay, text me if something happens]
She stopped for a second to indicate that her destination was somewhere else and I waved her off.
Adjusting my mask, I took a sharp turn to the lecture hall where I would have to listen to another professor talk about the best business strategies and mindsets, which made me sigh into the cloth around my mouth and nose.
This is a waste of time.
The light in the lecture hall was a little more dimmed than usual, and I was pleased to see less people than last week here so far. The professor was already setting up their presentation so I tried to find an isolated place farther away from the murmuring groups of people.
Shuffling through the seat, I took the last corner seat of the last row, making sure to put my bag on the seat next to me in the hopes of repelling all extroverted students.
I adjusted my glasses and mask again and placed my notebook and a black ink pencil on the desk in front of me.
I peered over to the projector that showed the PowerPoint presentation of the lecture and sighed when I realized that the professor just showed the key points of the slides. Meaning that I didn’t have to guess what he was talking about as I couldn’t hear him.
30 minutes into the class until I realised a knot in my stomach forming.
The professor had stopped changing the slide and gestured immensely with his hands, and then some students started to stand up and form a group of two to three people.
With a heavy sigh, I contemplated on how I would shoulder this. I mean, this is just one class. It wouldn’t matter if I left today, and if I went to the front to explain I would have to take my earphones off which would result in debilitating headaches.
Not worth it.
From the last row I could look down on the students working diligently, and I saw no one left over anyway.
What a waste.
I stood up, grabbing my utensils in my hands and moving around the table row to make my way downstairs, until I saw a movement next to me.
I whipped my head around to see another student looking at me with an irritated expression, his mouth still forming words that were hard to understand.
Oh, he’s talking to me.
“I can’t hear you”, I mumbled through the mask as I gestured to my headphones.
Normally, this was the second where the other person would motion me to take them off, but this guy only nodded to himself and then looked at his hands and then to me.
“I’m not deaf”, I mumbled again, afraid to be too loud since I couldn’t hear myself well, “It’s just a precaution for my safety”.
Clarity danced through the man’s eyes as he grabbed his phone from his pocket and starte to quickly type something before he showed me his notes app.
[You wanna work together? Or were you leaving?]
I was leaving, but that was only because I thought the effort would be too great to have a normal conversation. This guy seemed sensible from what I’ve seen so far.
And he reminded me of something.
Instead of risking being too loud or too quiet by mumbling through my mask again, I just sat down on my seat again and removed my bag from the one next to me.
Something about him is familiar.
He was wearing a black cap and a mask himself so it was a bit hard to guess, but as he pushed it down and took his cap off I immediately saw the resemblance.
My eyes darted open and he seemed to know what just happened, as he chuckled to himself and typed [twins] into his phone.
Two Miyas? Who would’ve guessed that that pompous guy actually had a copy of himself running around.
Contrary to his brother, this grey haired guy seemed to not only have a better fitting hair colour, but also a much more calm personality.
I grabbed my notebook and placed it between us.
[Sakusa Kiyoomi, normally I rely on signing, but this should work]
He nodded and quickly grabbed a pencil from his case.
[Miya Osamu, nice to meet you]
Hm, even the name was somehow similar.
I scribbled something down quickly.
[What’s the assignment?]
[Example of a itinerary in a business sense, with planned meetings for a small business]
With a quick nod, I brought out my notes from last week and we got to work.
Working with Osamu was relaxing, it felt easy since I was used to doing most things on my own. He was ready to pull his own weight and he even volunteered to present our findings at the end of the class.
With the notebook between us it was a bit clunky but the communication still worked somehow, and at the end of the day I was glad I didn’t leave. Although my earphones were on, I could feel the vibration of the loud bell as the class was dismissed.
I stood up to gather my things to leave, until I saw Osamu fumble with his phone and squinting his eyes at something.
Confused, I waited for him to look at me again and then very slowly and sloppily moved his hands around.
[Where are you going now?]
Granted, what he signed was a lot less refined but I understood what he meant. Did he just look that up?
Somehow, that act alone made me not wanna run back to my room, since I needed to get something to eat anyway.
I motioned to my ears and then made a gesture of something decreasing.
I want to go somewhere quieter.
“Quiet?”, he enunciated loudly, which I assumed by his exaggerated mouth movement and I nodded.
He beckoned me closer to his direction and so we took off.