When he had been shopping in New York he had been mugged. Yeah, it’s not only in South Africa that muggings occur! He had been hit on the part of his brain that is connected to his hearing and as a result was left with no hearing whatsoever. Not even the two percent that I was left with. He was left with zero, nada, niks, nothing! And he lived like that for nine years. He flew to Cape Town to visit his family and while there a Cochlear Implant was performed on him. “Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles…..” Guy’s hearing was restored!
Mum got to hear of Guy and Mum being Mum managed to get hold of his mother’s phone number in Cape Town. During their conversation she learnt that Guy would be stopping off in George on his way up to Johannesburg. “Please ask him to pop in and see us. We would love to meet him.”
Twelve months after my accident, deafness was still a new thing to me. Not a very nice “new” thing. It was something that I hated and was unfamiliar with. Why was Mum inviting someone who was deaf round to visit us? For goodness sakes! Not only that, but a young deaf MAN? In my eyes I now looked horrendous; my facial nerves having been affected by the accident. Not the sort of face that I wished to show off to any man.
Guy got out of his car and came towards us smiling. A good looking deaf man. Damn, damn, damn! Mum had made us a gorgeous lunch which we ate sitting outside under the Belhambra tree! Guy was hearing again which was something he had been without for nine years. Also he had a joie de vivre which was hard to deny! He was full of laughter, life and…ticking! My Mum and Dad liked him instantly. I was more difficult to win over! Just before he climbed into his car, he turned to me.
“I would really like to take you out for dinner tomorrow night. How about it?”
Guy interrupted this incredibly interesting line of conversation .”Yes, Gaynor, dinner tomorrow evening. Should I fetch you at seven?”
“Yes, thankyou,” I managed to get out successfully this time.
He arrived smack on seven and we set off to the restaurant. How we got there unscathed I will never know. Let me explain. Picture if you will two deaf people travelling in a car in the oncoming night. They are both politely trying to converse and obviously that involves trying to make out what the other person is saying.In other words – lip reading plays a vital part. In order to lip read that means staring at the person’s face. Impossible to do when you’re driving! Fortunately there was not much traffic that night! When we very nearly went into a ditch I said: “While you’re driving, you do the talking and I can watch your side view and lip-read.” We arrived safely!
Both my sisters were working at the restaurant that evening. Liz was waitressing and Megan was serving behind the bar. Liz greeted us at the door and led us to our table. “What can I get you to drink?” she asked when we were seated. “Gaye, would you like some red wine?” She knew my taste well.
“Oh, it’s just the night for red wine,” Guy remarked. It was cold and windy outside. “I think we should get a bottle of wine.” And he chose a beautifully expensive Pinot Noir. Maybe an evening with this man would be…quite nice! We then proceeded to have a wonderfully relaxed evening. We chatted together like old friends.
Oh, I forgot mention a very important point. In the restaurant, they had loud, piped music playing. Whenever there was music playing I tended to speak LOUDLY so that I could hear myself above the music. And Guy did exactly the same! So Guy and I happily shouted to one another completely oblivious of the fact that the whole restaurant was privy to our conversation!
Liz shot across to Megan and said: “Megs, do you think that I should go up to Gaynor and Guy and ask them to lower their voices. I mean, the whole restaurant can hear everything they’re saying!”
Megs had a broad grin on her face. “Nah, leave them. They are thoroughly enjoying themselves,” she said, “Also the whole restaurant is really enjoying them!”
Guy and I had a great evening. The bottle of wine was polished off amidst our discovering of each other. Guy lived on a boat in the Caribbean. How romantic was that? We were sitting drinking Irish Coffees and were both happily at ease with each other. I leant close to Guy and asked: “May I ask you a…well, a very personal question?”
When Liz heard me ask this, she began running in an attempt to get to me before Guy and the entire restaurant was treated to one of my “personal questions.”
“Sure, fire away!” said Guy.
Liz did not make it in time. I dropped my voice to a mini “roar” and whispered: “Tell me, Guy, when you make love do you keep your Cochlear Implant on or do you take it off?”
Guy bellowed back conspiratorially , “I have only just got this so I haven’t had much practise. But in the past I have made sure to keep my eyes open – for lip reading.”
“Oh, of course. Good idea!,” I murmured to the whole restaurant.
Unbeknown to Guy and myself, everybody was totally apoplectic with mirth. My two sisters died a silent death of embarrassment. And I was banned from ever going there when they were on duty!
I came away that evening having made a friend.
The deaf Gaynor had discovered the deaf Guy.
Smile….I liked him.