When I saw a woman signing to a little girl, I was having one of my spaced-out moments. My eyes dropped down to the child and I felt my heart sink a little.
I can’t even imagine missing out on sound. Music. The noise of everything around you, warning you.
As I watched her walk outside and back in again, I tried to see the difference in her.
Funny. She doesn’t look deaf.
I mean, not that she would – I thought maybe she would be seeing things, visibly differently. Then I guessed not.
A few minutes later the woman approached me and showed me her phone. She had typed: Please help I put a quarter in the tampon machine but it says it is empty.
DUH the woman was deaf. Shows how well I’d examined that entire scenario.
OK, I nodded, and put my index finger up like ‘one minute’. She nodded. Employees on the phone told me were out of feminine products and then there were pages and more waiting.
The little girl came over to us and asked, “What is my mommy doing here? Why are we waiting here?”
“Um,” I had to figure out, and how odd the world must be for her when she cannot understand those moments, “Your mom put a coin in a machine to get something out but it didn’t work.”
“A coin? In a machine?” as if the concept was all-new.
“Yeah, you see those,” I pointed to the candy machines, “You put money in and candy comes out. But one was broken.”
The manager walked up and handed me a quarter, hot from his pocket, and I gave it to the lady.
On the way out the little girl tugged at her mom’s dress and pointed to the candy machines. Her mother handed her the quarter and I watched them retrieve jelly beans.
The way the little girl had walked around me, how the quarter had gone from one purpose to another, felt very full circle to me.