Hi everyone! This is a new story I've been working on. It's a little different, but I'm kind of interested to see what I could do with it. So read and review… let me know if I should continue with this story line of just scrap it.
When I woke up, I tried to stay as still as possible. I even tried not to breathe. It was a game I played with Soda every morning. He might not have been able to hear me, but somehow he always knew right when I'd woken up. I always tried to trick him, to let him sleep just a little longer, but he still woke up every morning about a minute after I did.
I squeezed my eyes shut, but nevertheless, I felt Soda roll over beside me. I rolled onto my back too and glanced up at him. He already had that goofy looking grin plastered to his face.
"I win," He signed, by first pointing to himself, then making his hands into fists and hitting the top of the left with the bottom of the right.
I laughed and circled the air with my pointer finger which meant always, then climbed out of bed.
"Ponyboy, you better be out of that bed," I heard Darry yell from down the hall. "You got work in twenty minutes."
"Yeah, yeah," I grumbled peeling my t-shirt off.
He suddenly appeared at the door to me and Soda's room. "Listen, I gotta get going," He told me lowering his voice. I couldn't figure out for the life of me why he'd bother doing that since I was the only other one in the room who could hear him. "Walk Soda down to the Community Center before you go to work, okay?"
Darry didn't like Soda to go very far by himself, even if it was just to the Community Center where he spent his days teaching ASL to the other deaf kids in Tulsa. He'd started working there after his teachers labeled him "deaf and dumb." But Soda was anything but dumb. I'd seen him sign with college professors whose job was to teach people ASL, and even they had commented on his fluency and the eloquence with which his fingers moved to form his words.
Soda had even been offered a partial scholarship to one of the best deaf institutes in the country a few months back, but we didn't have the money to pay for the rest of the tuition. We hadn't even told Darry about it.
For some reason Darry and Soda had never been very close. He'd never really bothered to learn much sign language—just the basics so we could get by—so he and Soda really didn't have a way to communicate. I think Darry saw Soda as very helpless. He had always been very overprotective of him, and hesitant to let him do much for himself.
Sometimes I wished Darry would just take five minutes out of his day to practice signing or even ask Soda how his day was. It had always bothered Soda that he and Darry had never once had a real conversation without me translating for him. I don't think it was because Darry didn't care about Soda, I think he just didn't much understand.
I did though. I understood almost everything about Soda. I knew how smart he was, and I was determined to get him into that deaf school. I suppose that's why I dropped out of school and got the job at the DX with Steve.
I'd told Darry it was because I wanted to help out with the bills, which was partially true. But every extra dollar I made went into the old shoe box under me and Soda's bed. We counted it together every night before we went to sleep, just hoping that one night we would have enough.
"Sure Dar," I said buttoning my DX shirt up. "I'll walk with him. And I'll pick him up on my way home too."
Soda was looking from me to Darry blankly. Darry never moved his lips too much when he talked, so it was hard for Soda to read them and my back had been turned to him when I'd answered Darry. It always got on Soda's nerves when he didn't know what people were talking about.
I quickly turned around and explained what Darry had asked me, only to be practically assaulted as Soda's hands flew into a frenzied torrent of protesting signs.
"Tell him to slow down," Darry demanded. "What in the blue blazes is he saying?"
"I don't need my kid brother to baby-sit me anymore!" Soda was signing hastily. "No one is going to try anything, he knows that!"
It was true. While the rest of us scrapped with the neighborhood boys and got jumped by Socs, no one ever dared to lay a finger on Soda. He was friends with everyone, greasers and Socs alike and I doubted that there was anything anyone could do to change that.
"He thinks he should be able to walk to the Center by himself," I told Darry, signing as I said the words in the hopes that he would pick something up.
Darry quickly shook his head and brought his pointer and middle finger of his right hand together with his thumb right in front of Soda's face. No had always been one of the signs Darry remembered.