Fuzzy Logic is a computer term, and my former husband, a computer programmer, frequently used the term because of what he was programming. I’ll save you the long and detailed explanation and give the definition in a thumbnail. It’s neither black or white, or true or false; instead it’s almost, kind of, sort of, or almost never type of thing. Apparently, it mimics our brain. Oh, great! That means my brain must be horrendously drenched in fuzzy logic.
Since I’m busy writing a new story and I keep seeing edits on my story that should release soon, my head feels like it might explode any moment. There’s too much fuzzy logic going on inside my brain. And I’ve got to accomplish both manuscripts quickly. The pressure is on!
The odd thing is, the story that I’m writing isn’t plotted, nor do I write by the seat of my pants. I’m probably only a chapter or two ahead in the story and that’s fuzzy, a longhaired rabbit sort of fuzzy. And I kind of know how it will end. It must have the HEA (happy-ever-after) ending. And I know what she will accomplish beyond snagging the guy of her dreams. That’s because I like some real life stuck into my stories. I don’t write by formula. Your life isn’t like your best friend or your neighbor, why should what you read begin to sound like every other story you’ve read in the last few years? It shouldn’t!
I’ve done what every good writer must do at some point while writing something. Being I happen to have a life beyond the current manuscript, I’ve left her and him in limbo while I slug through another set of edits that require my concentration. And in the meantime, my personal life is in a wicked storm that resembles a hurricane, it’s tossing my little ship around, my mast is broken, and I know from the calendar that there’s a very rocky shoreline in one direction, and an iceberg in the other. It’s a narrow channel that I must sail to reach my destination. And I’m totally at the mercy of the currents. I won’t know the outcome until the end of April.
I’m trying hard to be brave, keep my wits, and use my time wisely. Anyone who knows me well knows I do not accept failure. I’m much too competitive. Like our Olympians, they don’t get that far and watch another score pop up and say oh, I can’t beat that, I’ll just walk away. That’s failure! Their score might never be that high, but they did their best and that’s all the really counts. Quitting is automatic failure. And I’m not quitting.
My upcoming novel, SILENT JOURNEY, is about a young Deaf man and the hearing woman who has fallen in love with him. Falling in love was the easy part, facing the world was not! Plus they both had their own hurdles to overcome if they wanted to find a HEA.
Savannah had no idea that Alex was Deaf until she actually met him. Instead of that being a deterrent, it made her more determined to learn American Sign Language. This is where they go to her house for Thanksgiving and her parents meet him for the first time. Like every young woman who brings the man of her dreams home to meet her parents, she’s thinks her parents will love him too, but she soon discovers that the visit isn’t going as planned, and the welcome isn’t what she expected.
What would you do if your daughter announced that she was in love with a Deaf man and intended to marry him?
SNIPPET (in edits)
According to the GPS, they were getting close. He hated to admit it, but this was very similar to going for a job interview, except this job was for a lifetime.
Savannah pointed to the next exit. The town was small, barely a blip on the map, but it had a major grocery chain store, a big name shopping mart, and handful of gas stations, a pizzeria, and two fast food restaurants. They made a turn into an older neighborhood. The houses were tiny, but most were well tended. This was a blue-collar neighborhood. She pointed to a house with beige siding and faded brown shutters. It looked like every other house on the street.
She turned to him and smiled. “We are here.”
As he got out of the car, she bounded up the narrow walk to the door and opened it. A rather large dog immediately danced around her and then came to him with teeth showing between curled lips.
Savannah caught the multi-colored, mixed-breed dog by the collar and introduced her to Alex as Lady Floppy-Ears Chisholm. “Affectionately called Lady.”
He held his hand to the dog that sniffed it warily. The feeling is mutual. Having never owned a dog or any pet, he wasn’t certain what he should do. But he watched Savannah who beamed with love for the large animal, and the dog seemed to return it.
Meet the parents. Something inside of him crumbled. He stepped across the threshold into a tiny living room and closed the door behind him. Blinking a few times, his eyes adjusted to the interior. A large screen TV glowed with a sports channel, showing a panel of commentators talking about several teams and the players.
Savannah turned to him, pointed down the hall, and signed bathroom. He nodded his response.
By the time he washed his hands, whatever had been crumbling inside him, he decided there was nothing left but the weight that now lay deep in his gut. It was a modest bathroom designed with pale blue tile and white porcelain that looked as though it hadn’t had a shiny finish in years. There was a hot-water faucet and a cold-water faucet. The chrome on both was blistered and missing in places. The house appeared to be a WWII residence and he was expecting to see a Rosie the Riveter, We Can Do it! poster someplace. The bathroom had been decorated in seashells and mermaids and smelled faintly of bleach. He dried his hands on a little baby-blue guest towel that hung from a ring on the wall. At least Savannah was waiting for him as he opened the door.
“Come meet my parents.”
He smiled back at her and followed her down the hall through a dining room and into a kitchen. Any preconceived notions he might have had about her family vanished instantly. Her dad greeted him with an outstretched hand. They were probably close in height. Savannah was a clone of her mother, except her mom’s hair was shoulder length and she had bangs.
“Would you like a cup of coffee or a…” Mr. Chisholm opened the refrigerator.
“I have…” Her mother turned to the counter.
Savannah fingerspelled beer, signed coffee, and then pointed to the little kitchen table.
He signed coffee as he slid across the bench of the table’s booth seating, even though a beer would have probably helped him to relax.
Savannah’s mom put a loaf of white bread on the table and plastic storage bags containing several types of lunchmeat, another group with cheeses, and then added a jar of mayonnaise, along with several other condiments and pickles.
Savannah’s father sat at the table with a bottle of beer. “So what are you going to school for?”
Here goes. He signed architecture.
The man looked slightly puzzled and then turned his gaze to his daughter before returning it to Alex. “Is this some sort of joke?”
Alex shook his head, spotted Savannah’s giggle, and signed. “I read lips.”
“No, Daddy. He’s deaf. I told Mom and told her to tell you. As long as you look at him when you speak, he can read your lips.”
“Can you hear me?”
Alex shook his head.
Mr. Chisholm appeared to be confused. He looked at his daughter and then at Alex before beginning to prepare his sandwich.
Savannah handed Alex a mug filled with coffee. “Make a sandwich.”
Her father passed the loaf of bread to Alex.
He accepted the bread and withdrew two slices from the plastic sleeve.
She passed him the meats and then the cheeses.
Savannah’s mom sat across from Alex. “So how do you manage to go to college?”
Alex pulled the notepad from his shirt pocket. The same way as everyone else.
She took a sip of her coffee. “I thought people like you went to special schools.”
People like me? What’s that supposed to mean? Stay calm. She doesn’t understand. No. I went to the local public school. No special classes. But many Deaf will attend dedicated schools.
“And you’ve always been deaf?”
“So how do you talk?”
Before he could write an answer, Savannah said, “Mom, he uses his hands. It’s sign language, and it’s a real language. I’m taking it instead of Spanish. I told you that’s how we met, the Silent Spaghetti Supper.”
“Like Helen Keller used?”
He shook his head and Savannah watched him.
“Not exactly.” Savannah translated. “It’s changed over the years, and she couldn’t see. She fingerspelled. We’ve come a long way since those days. Fortunately, I can see. I am merely Deaf.”
“But you’re dumb, too.”
“Mom, he’s mute by choice, not stupid.”
“What? What is mute by choice supposed to mean?”
Alex pressed his lips together and then forced himself to answer the question verbally, “I cannot hear therefore my voice is not good.”
The look on Savannah’s mom’s face told him she understood.
Savannah put her hand on his arm. “It’s easier for him to use his hands.”
The family barely said a word. It was Savannah who did most of the talking.
Obviously, her parents were concerned about his relationship with their daughter. Yet he would make more money and be better able to provide for their daughter than her father had provided for his family.
Mr. Chisholm glanced up at Alex and then turned his attention to his daughter. “I thought maybe he’d like to hang out with me and look at the car I’m restoring. But I guess that won’t work.”
A little time with Savannah’s father might be good. He nudged Savannah. “What kind of car?”
Savannah turned to her father. “He wants to know what kind of car.”
“A 1950 Town and Country Newport with only 23,000 miles on it. It was in my grandfather’s barn. I inherited it.”
Alex grinned and gave the thumbs-up sign. In the barn? A family owned antique car? Oh yeah!
A few minutes later, he followed Mr. Chisholm out the back door and into a detached garage. He was on his own with a man who did not sign. Alex had to win the man’s trust.
As soon as the men left, Savannah’s mom turned her attention to her daughter. “Well, he’s cute as a button. But how is he going to make a living? Or do you intend to support him?”
Savannah shook her head and began to clear the table. “He’ll get a job as an architect. I’ll never make the money that he will.”
“You mean someone will hire him?”
“Yes.” She had to tamp down her frustration with her mom, but she also understood for she had asked herself those same questions.
“Is that your engagement ring? It doesn’t look like an engagement ring.”
“Yes, Mom. Isn’t it beautiful?”
“What happened to a simple diamond? Are you certain those stones are real?” There was the sound of disgust in her mom’s voice.
“Mom, he bought it from a local jeweler. I think it’s beautiful. It’s different.”
“If you wind up marrying him, what will you do, adopt?”
“You mean because he’s Deaf?”
Her mom nodded.
“We haven’t talked too much about children. The odds of us having a deaf child are minimal. And Alex doesn’t understand why there would be any concern about having a deaf child.” She remembered a conversation Alex and she had and began to giggle. “Mom, do you miss your third arm and hand?”
“It’s simple. Do you miss your third hand?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m not. A third hand might be super wonderful, but how would we ever know because we’ve done quite well with two. Hearing is the same for him. He’s never had it, so he really can’t imagine it – he’s never heard any sound in his life. As a result, he can better comprehend having a third hand, because he has two hands, than he can comprehend sound. He can’t miss something he never had.”
“Oh, Savannah, I worry about you in this relationship.”
“Don’t, Mom. In three months, I’ve learned quite a bit of sign language, and his mom says it will take me two years of being with Alex to really learn it.”
“I guess you want us to learn it, too.”
“It would help.” She took the sponge and wiped the table of every crumb.
“Being it’s such a pretty day, and we weren’t certain when you’d arrive, we thought we’d do hamburgers on the grill tonight, and tomorrow I’ll fix a big turkey dinner.”
“I fixed up the guest room for him. You might want to check it. I don’t know if he needs anything special.”
“No, Mom, he doesn’t need anything.”