Daphne murmured curses at her parents as she crossed the hallway of her new school. Why did they select a name that made her a figure of fun for all her friends?

Friends? Did she even have friends? The kids at her previous school mocked her by calling her “Deaf-ne”. Daphne expected her new school mates to be no different. She gulped back a sob as she resisted herself from reminiscing the past.

A sea of strange faces welcomed Daphne. With a nervous gait, Daphne entered her class. Her social phobia started to creep in, seeing the multitude of students. The standard 5 students were screaming. Their pandemonium reached Daphne’s ears like an unintelligible roar. Beads of perspiration dotted her pale forehead as she sat in the corner most seat.

To shrug off her nervousness, Daphne started scrutinizing the classroom. She aced at reading body language. The blonde girl, crouching on the middle bench, rapidly blinked her eyes. Daphne could immediately figure out her discomfort. After all, our eyes tell a lot about us – they are the “windows to our souls.”

Her eyes then fell on another guy, who seemed to be biting the life out of his lips. His actions conveyed his untold stress.

While Daphne was fully engrossed in her scanning, a new girl approached her. Daphne calculated the distance between them to be around 2 feet. Personal distance. It indicated intimacy from the new girl’s side.  The girl’s open posture also showed friendliness. Daphne quickly covered her ears with her ombre hair.

“Howdie, I am Natalie,” the girl spoke, waving her hand in the air.

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Daphne’s mind went blank. Her hands started quivering all of a sudden. Somehow, she managed to wave back at Natalie.

Looking quizzically at Daphne, Natalie said, “Are you scared of me or what?”

With a pained look on her face, Daphne waved again.

This ticked off Natalie. “Tell your parents to teach you a proper language, a’ight?”

Natalie stormed off to her seat, leaving Daphne all by herself. Why could she not communicate with Natalie? She swore curses at herself.

Bells rang, and the language teacher arrived. He introduced himself as Mr.Brown, 30. He scribbled, “How many languages are you all acquainted with? And what are those?” on the giant blackboard. The students were asked to write the answers on chits. Many chits reached his desk.

One by one, Mr.Brown started reading the answers. To his surprise, there was a chit written,

“1 Language. Sign language.”

The students gaped in wonder at this answer. Mr.Brown asked for the answerer to stand up (he made hand gestures). Daphne stood up. She then took another chit and wrote about her inability to hear. Her ears were sensitive to only a few low-pitched sounds. Later, she revealed her hearing aid to the class, which she was trying to hide from Natalie.

Mr.Brown acknowledged her situation; thereby, he demanded cooperation from all students. The bell chimed again.

Natalie came running to Daphne’s desk. She pulled a long face, tugging her ears. Daphne immediately embraced her. Natalie then wrote on a paper, “Your parents taught you the most proper language ever. I apologize for my mistake. Will you teach me sign language? It is a language we must all learn.”

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Daphne nodded with a charming smile on her face. She could, after all, bring a change. Equipping oneself with sign language also comes in handy like any other language. Daphne let out a proud sigh and went on a walk with Natalie.

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Business Undergraduate, Bangladesh University of Professionals.

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