Status: Finished, yo

Not a Sound

My Funny Valentine

When they finally settle down, we begin to watch the movie. Jeena puts on the subtitles for me. Marko makes popcorn and Collin, surprisingly, eats all of our leftovers and two bowls of his own. Popcorn is my favorite food, he says sheepishly.

Ozzy sits by me close enough our shoulders touch. Whenever he shifts his position and his arm brushes by mine, I feel butterflies erupt in my stomach. It's almost more distracting than the movie. I try to focus, but at the same time, I feel a bit left out. The characters are singing and that takes up more than half of the story.

It takes a lot of bravery to move, but I lightly touch Ozzy's arm. What does the music sound like?

He watches my hands move and deciphers what I'm saying. I repeat my gestures, slowly now, because the first time, out of habit, I signed fast. It... he signs back. He takes time to pause and think between some words. It sounds old. The movie is old, so the songs are classic. They're happy.

The characters look like they're happy, I sign.

They are. They... He closes his hand and searches for the phrase. They express their emotions through song. He smiles.

Do you do the same thing with your trumpet? I ask.

I do. I watch him laugh and I can't help but grin. In the corner of my eye I see Marko steal a glance at us. I look back at the movie. It's not even a remotely funny part and he must've not known we were conversing. I look back at Ozzy. You should watch me play sometime, he signs. It's fun. I'll let you try too, if that's okay.

Sure. Something in my heart warms up. Oh, Ozzy?


Your m's and e's are flowing together a bit. I silently giggle and Ozzy blushes.

Really? Why didn't you tell me? he says this aloud, smiling, but I don't know if he's speaking. With a brief glance at the others I see that he'd mouthed the words to me. What's the difference between the two? he asks.

I sign m and then e to show him. He watches me intently, but then grins widely. He tries them out on his own. Like this? He puts all four fingers over his thumb for the m and rounds his fingers in a circle to this thumb for the e. It's wrong in every way.

You're a goofball. I take his hand and shape them into the letters with both of mine. His hand is rough and limber, dexterous from his instrument playing, and a slow smile crawls on his face when I make the letters. I pause when I feel his eyes on me and feel heat climb to my cheeks. He covers my hands with his other one. His thumb grazes my fingers softly, and he gently lifts my hands to his lips. My heart begins to pound, and for a moment, I think he's going to kiss them, but I only feel his warm breath and see his lowered eyes, and he rests my hands back onto my lap.

I like you, he says.

My heart feels like it's going to burst out of my chest.

Just thought I'd let you know. His face flames red and his eyes flicker down and back up again. I've liked you for a while. Maybe we can hang out sometime on our own.

I don't know what to say. All of the sudden it's like no one else is there; no one is watching a movie, no one is eating popcorn, and it's only Ozzy and I on the couch with my hands folded limp on themselves on my lap. Ozzy's deep green eyes meet mine and stay there. I lift my hands up to reply, but I can't even manage the words. My hands fall uselessly onto my legs like feathers.

Oh shit. I'm sorry, Ozzy says and shakes his head. I'm really sorry. I didn't mean... I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I-

But my hands move on my own. They reach out and take Ozzy's, his deft, strong hands, which mine are much smaller and weaker than his. His hands could cover mine and immerse them in his palms, but they only lay soft and fragile against my fingers.

I like you too, I mouth.

I feel strength return in his hands and he squeezes my fingers.

I like you too.