When I was in high school, I had taken American Sign Language to better communicate with some of my friends. Some of them were deaf and had problems speaking, some of them were mute, and so sign language was a good way to communicate with them. I kept studying it in college since I knew I wanted to work with other “disabled” students (I hate the term “disabled,” but I also hate the term “differently abled,” so, hey, what can you do?). As such, I was fairly fluent.
Excuse me – I’m told you’re renting a room in this apartment. I’m very interested.
I felt my whole day brighten as I signed into his (I was fairly certain the person was a “he,” judging on the size and feel of their hands) palm, That’s right! Can you hear me, or should I keep signing?
He signed back, I can hear, but I am unable to speak.
“That’s just fine! I’m not sure if you can tell,” I laughed at that, because it’s always obvious, “but I’m blind. Why don’t you come inside and take a look around! Did you hear about me from the Craigslist ad?” Immediately, I realized that couldn’t be true, because I hadn’t put my whole address in the ad (for obvious reasons).
No, I have a friend who lives on the second floor and heard that someone on the seventh floor was renting a room. It seemed like a good arrangement to me.
I gave my visitor a little tour of the place, showing him the room he’d be living in. After that, I finished up the cupcakes and we sat in the kitchen, getting acquainted with each other. He told me his name was Camio and he had been mute since birth. He worked at a local community college in the Philosophy department. He was a cat-lover and connected with Spooky right away – she seemed to approve of him wholeheartedly – and I decided that he would be an excellent tenant.
Camio moved in a few days later, once we’d settled the logistics, and proved to be a great roommate. He cleaned up after himself, helped me take care of Spooky, often cooked for the two of us, and his rent was always on time.
Everything was great.
Things didn’t start getting weird until about two months into our living arrangements.
It started when Camio got a girlfriend. Now, normally this wasn’t a problem, as long as they met somewhere outside of our apartment – I have to admit, she was rather rude and I wasn’t fond of her – but the nights that they spent in his room were spent… well. Having crazy fucked up sex. And I could hear every agonizing second of it.
Thankfully, Camio didn’t bring her over often – just once or twice, so my suffering was kept to a minimum.
One night, I heard something different coming from Camio’s room.