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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Outcasts and Angels: The New Anthology of Deaf Characters in Literature
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Marina lifted the lid, revealing blue roses, a dozen long-stemmed ones. A small white envelope lay nestled among the stems. She picked it up, avoiding the thorns, broke the seal with a fingernail, and pulled out the card.

It contained a handwritten list of eight doctors’ names, and the word “Friday,” underlined twice. The card was unsigned. She handed it to Grant. “Jeff,” she told him. Then she shook her head. “Why flowers?” she signed, pointing. “Blue expensive, wow! Why-not E-mail? Why-not phone?”

Grant shrugged. “Maybe he think need careful. Now no,” he spelled, “e-l-e-c-t-r-o-n-i-c record of message, if later person authority look-closely. Maybe he think card with flowers not easy notice they, not make suspicious they.” He handed the card back to her, and she took it absentmindedly, staring at the blue roses, and hoping, despite herself, that they were more than camouflage.

Since the blood test Marina had asked several of her female friends for ob-gyn recommendations. Three of the eight names on Jeff ’s list were also on her own. She began calling, and was able to make a 10:00 a.m. appointment with the third doctor for the following Friday.

She printed out the address, and then checked to be sure none of the other doctors’ offices were in the same area. Then she E-mailed Jeff.

Enjoyed our lunch the other day. Could we do it again? I have an appointment Friday morning the 24th, near Clark and Division— perhaps we could meet at the Wallflower around noon? Let me know. Love, Marina
Saturday’s mail list, when it scrolled up, contained a letter from her friend Jenny in Seattle, several notices she didn’t recognize—probably advertisements—and a note from Jeff, which she displayed immediately.
Marina—sorry, but I can’t make the lunch date. I’ve got a big project coming together at work; will probably have to work all next weekend. Some other time, okay? Jeff.
He was avoiding her, she realized. He didn’t ever intend to see her again. Well, that was just fine, then. She hit the table explosively. She wouldn’t chase after him. It would never work with a hearing man anyway. And she’d gotten what she needed. Her hand dropped to her still-flat belly, caressing it gently.


“You sure not-want come party you?” Marina signed with one hand, the other paused just over the door panel.

Grant sighed, running his fingers through his short hair. “Yes, I sure. Veryexhausted. And I promise Paul two-of-us watch movie tonight. Say hello to motherfather, please? I call them next-week.”

Marina shrugged and nodded. “C-U-L,” she spelled, dropping the “L” forward in the shorthand for “See you later.”

She walked the three blocks to the el station deep in thought, not noticing the familiar surroundings at all. She was six weeks’ pregnant now, which meant she had only two weeks left in which to change her mind. After that, the pregnancy would be too far along for mifepristone to stop, and the only way out would be to have an illegal surgical abortion, a prospect which frightened her more than going to jail for fetal abuse.

As she climbed the stairs to the platform the old wooden framework began to vibrate. She hurried up the last steps and found a seat on the waiting train.

The party was at Bill and Lianna’s house, in Evanston. It was an older house, remodeled but not in a modern style. When Marina pressed the door button she could see the lights begin to flash through the little circular window in the wooden door.

Then Lianna opened the door. “Marina!” she signed, smiling and pulling her in. The short hallway opened to the right into a large room where about fifteen or sixteen people her age and older sat or stood in small circles. Heads turned to see who had arrived, and several people smiled and waved. Marina could feel a rapid thump through the floor and guessed that someone had music on with the bass turned up high. “I-take your coat,” Lianna offered, and Marina shrugged out of it and handed it to her.

She joined the nearest group of people, which consisted of Bill, Stephan, Nancy, Elsabeth, and Grant’s mother Joanna. “Grant where?” Joanna signed, raising her eyebrows, and Marina relayed Grant’s message. Joanna shook her head. “That boy he say-say-say he call, but none.” Next to her, Bill appeared to be having a political argument with Elsabeth and Stephan, on Marina’s right.


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