LOVE SIGN LANGUAGE
Bold is Jurina.
Italics are Sakura.
After school, Jurina decided to do her dreaded homework at one of her favorite places; the local park. When she stepped onto the grass and took in the fresh, natural air, she sees another girl about her age with brown, shoulder length, sitting on a bench. She had headphones plugged in, and she was writing on a notebook with a mechanical pencil.
Jurina knew that approaching a total stranger would be a bad idea, but she wasn’t thinking when she found her feet taking her to the bench and there was just something interesting about this girl. She sat down next to the girl, still keeping personal space, and opened her notebook. The other girl wasn’t aware of Jurina’s presence, and Jurina just held an empty notebook in her hands, flipping pages so it didn’t seem like she just went over there to talk to her.
She couldn’t handle the silence. “It’s nice outside today for once, isn’t it?”
The other girl didn’t reply. She just turned a page and continued writing.
Jurina was confused; she didn’t know whether or not she was ignoring her on purpose. But, she tried again. “Um, may I borrow your pencil?”
When the other girl felt someone breathe on her, she flinched and looked up. Jurina froze and said, “O-Oh, sorry. Um…”
The other girl tilted her head. “Can I borrow your pencil?” Jurina asked, pointing at the pencil in her hand. The girl smiled, as if she had known Jurina for years and handed it to her.
“Thanks.” Jurina started scribbling random pictures in her notebook, not even looking at what she was doing. She felt nervous as the other girl watched her write, and quickly handed it back to her.
Then, it turned back to how it was moments ago. Silence and glances.
“What are you listening to?” Jurina asked loudly after a couple minutes, but kindly, hoping that she would reply and strike up a conversation. But, she didn’t. And after twenty minutes of reading over notes and looking over at the girl, Jurina sighed and decided to go home.
Something inside of Jurina told her that the girl might be at the park again the next day. She didn’t know why and sort of felt stupid that she’d been waiting on the same exact bench for ten minutes now all alone for something that had a very low chance of happening. While she waited, she scribbled random drawings she had in the same notebook she had yesterday. But, she eventually got tired of it and was about to leave. Then, the girl appeared and sat down next to her. She had the same notebook in her hands, and the same headphones plugged into her ears.
Jurina didn’t speak to her. Only continued glancing at her while she wrote. Not such a big surprise. But, then, Jurina had an idea.
Ripping a small piece of paper from her own notebook, Jurina wrote something, and set it down on the space that separated the two. Jurina tapped on the always silent girl on the shoulder and pointed down to the piece of paper when she looked at her.
What are you listening to?
The girl flipped a couple pages until she found a blank piece, ripped it out, and wrote something back.
Jurina felt satisfied to get a reply, though it was small.
Can I listen to it?
Aww, why not?
Jurina didn’t want to argue with a stranger.
Well, what’s your name?
Sakura. What’s yours?
Nice to meet you, Jurina.
Yeah, same. So, do you live around here?
I moved here a few days ago, yes.
How old are you?
They passed notes for the past thirty minutes. Eventually using around ten pages from their notebooks. There was a huge pile of ripped pieces of paper sitting in between them. All of them filled with information about themselves. It was as if Jurina had known her for a long time, even though she didn’t talk. But, now wasn’t the time to question that. Sakura was different from any other girl she’d met, and she liked her a lot.
It’s getting late. I have to go.
Wait. I want to see you again. Can I have your number?
I don’t have one.
That’s a lie.
No, really. But, I’ll tell you what, I’ll meet you here again tomorrow, yeah?
And before Jurina had the chance to write back, Sakura had already gathered her things and walked away.
Jurina walked over to the bench to find Sakura waiting for her. She had a new notebook with her, assumingly because she used up most of the papers from her previous notebook. So, was Sakura, but she didn’t have the time to buy another one. And she felt embarrased to be carrying around such an old, ripped up item.
Nice seeing you again.
And of course, they passed notes and eventually they learned everything about each other. Even the personal details. Their hands were tired, but they didn’t mind.
Do you want to listen to my song?
Jurina just looked at her, and Sakura looked back, biting her lip. She did wonder for the past few days what she was listening to. She knew her favorite bands, but there was something different about those headphones. So, Jurina nodded and Sakura unplugged them from her ears.
When Jurina plugged them into her ears, she was confused. “I don’t hear anything.” She said aloud, looking at Sakura.
Sakura looked at her sadly and gestured her hands in a strange way that Jurina couldn’t figure out until she realized why Sakura never spoke and why they’ve been communicating like this.
And Jurina wrote back.
You’re still beautiful.