Love Unheard Of

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At the time, I was writing a book about online dating, which led me to meet several girls per day to collect data, as they usually had plenty of shocking or amusing stories to tell me. I have to admit though, if fate would have it, I was secretly hoping to find the magical spark of love, the herald of true fulfillment.
On a Tuesday evening, I had a date on the square before the Cathedral. The girl I was supposed to meet was so unspeakably beautiful on her profile picture that I honestly doubted that she could be real, and in weaker moments, that she even resembled the girl on the picture. I sat down on the stairs of the Cathedral, and wondered what I was really doing here, what kind of dream I was chasing.
It all seemed ridiculous and illusory, but then someone sat beside me and when I looked at her, she seemed like the embodiment of all my dreams and illusions. Our eyes locked and we watched each other wordlessly, gaze filled with wonder, joy, curiosity and infatuation in a heady mix. We didn’t feel the need to speak, to introduce ourselves. It was curious for a stranger be so innately familiar; sitting beside her without hearing her voice yet feeling like I’d known her for so long. I was dazed by it, and thought the people around us recognized the weight of the moment and were walking on eggshells, their voices hushed and their breaths withheld as if to not disturb.
For me, the usual, cruel rush of time came to a halt in that moment, that blessed, majestic moment that fulfilled hopes and desires I had thought impossible, when we lost ourselves in the other’s eyes. Nothing else counted, her job, her birthplace, why she came to this world. Nothing but this instant, and I concentrated with my every nerve, my every sense and all my being to hang on to this idyllic moment. The shadow of the Cathedral enclosed us, elevating us into a higher reality. I took her soft hands and closed my eyes, thinking of nothing but her, and yet she made all my dreams appear in my mind’s eye. And then I heard the music, coming from somewhere deep beneath the stairs of the Cathedral, filling my soul with light, melancholic tunes, flying my soul into the awe of total annihilation. I could feel the warm hand gently squeezing my own, all the small signs of devotion. My body was glowing with the girl’s warm affection, and a never before felt shudder went through me. I didn’t want to know what was happening to me – I was afraid that anything that disturbed the moment would ruin it forever. As if the girl intended to do just that, she let go of my hand, looked into my eyes and then, like a child, she buried her head into my neck and pulled me close.
‘What’s the matter?’ I asked, but got no answer. Her body was shivering, and I almost felt the tears running down her cheeks, falling onto my embracing arm. ‘It’s okay,’ I tried to comfort her, stroking her hair.
I don’t know how long she kept me there, and I couldn’t comprehend why. Whatever I asked, she stayed silent. I pushed her away gently, took her tear-streaked face between my palms and looked into those sorrowful eyes hopelessly. Finally, she took a slip of paper from her bag, scribbled something on it and handed it to me, gave me one last smile and rushed away.
I stared after her in shock, petrified. By the time I remembered the note, she had already disappeared in an alley. I opened the folded paper. It had three words written on it: I am deaf.