Homecoming Weekend


Last semester towards the end of October is Gallaudet’s Homecoming event.  My friend, Christi, flew in for the weekend to join in the fun.  A brief tangent note for a second…This girl, Christi, essentially led my blind-self into the Deaf community, and by “blind” I of course do not mean literally blind but rather completely in the dark as for how to help me put the ASL skills I was beginning to tackle to use a social manner; because without the social aspect how are you going to use this language of ASL.  She really is a good friend now and the oddest part of our friendship is how we met, which was in March last year upon the grapevine that began at my mother’s workplace that grew to reach Christi and since we first met we’ve been thrilled about meeting one another.  So, she flies out here to DC and the event has a home football game full of foods and mingling, then there’s the Friday night Ball on the roof of Club Ibiza nearby campus, and finally the Bash party held in the receiving dock on campus.  The whole weekend was a good time filled with meeting people, parties, excellent weather, pictures galore, annndddd…..bumping into my Brittany.

Brittany and I began dating last semester the following couple weeks after HC weekend.  Both of us had these gut feelings about bumping into each other at Ball and really hitting it off.  The club was jam packed and while I waited for Christi to use the restroom I stood in the hallway caught in the mass of people moving from one side of the club to the other.  It was funny because several seconds after the moment I thought to myself, “Hope I bump into her tonight…”, here she came right behind our mutual friend, Mark, who actually kind of played a Cupid role in this.  A couple months later I found out she had had a similar thought of hoping to run into me right before she actually did.  The night played out with aplomb and I couldn’t have been more satisfied with the outcome:  Brittany let me give her my jacket once we were outside waiting for the coach to take us back to Gallaudet, where once we arrived she let me walk her to her room, gave me her number after we chatted a bit, and then I wished her safe travels home for the weekend and we went our separate ways.

No need to dive into deeper personal information about how things have transpired for what eventually became a real committed relationship, but I will say that the experience of being with someone who is Deaf has shown me things I often wished I could find with someone yet remained always just a wish.  Brittany and I communicate using ASL, yet she understands my background with English and my need to keep using it.  Sometimes she will SimCom with me, other times the communication will be more ASL, but regardless of which medium we are using to express with language she will maintain eye contact with me the whole time.  That is a wonderful thing when you’ve spent your last 10 years slowly discovering the rapid increase in need for people to look directly at you for communication to really work.  She’s allowed me to relax a bit when we go to a party or dinner or any other social get-together because now rather than struggling to hear in a dialogue with someone I can depend on signed communication, and it works like a charm.

I was never planning to meet someone and start a relationship with them out here.  You can’t plan these sorts of things they just happen, so it has happened and I’m happy to allow it to.  When you are a hearing person who suddenly one day finds him/her-self confronted with the suffocating isolation felt from loss of social inclusion, the fight to connect with people becomes stuck in your throat and aches to come out and be alleviated by someone else.  I don’t want to say this translates to being “saved” or “rescued” by a person because then they would become in debt to you.  No, rather, this is kindness and it understands, and it is connection.  After I became deaf the thing I missed more than music, more than dialogue in a movie, more the life’s orchestra of things all making sound together is connecting with people through language—talking and laughing all in this effortless flow that has a whole energy to itself.  When gone, man, I really knew what it was that was causing me to feel incomplete and withdrawn.  Before I met Brittany I was finding those social moments happening again but we all know that private time with someone you feel drawn to be around it reserves a place all of its own.

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