Regardless of the early hours of dawn approaching us, I couldn’t fall asleep, not even if I tried. First off, because people had music blaring all night long, secondly, because I wasn’t passed out drunk like Alex, Taylor, and Ethan, and finally because I couldn’t stop thinking about Marissa. I’d been staring at a “new message” screen for a while, desperately wanting to text her, but not knowing what to say.
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Hey, it’s Ashton
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I sent the text and didn’t expect a reply, but instantly a text came through.
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Took you long enough to finally text me!
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A boiling blush fills my cheeks and I’m unable to break my smile. As I tried to think of something else to say, she sent another text.
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Wanna come smoke with me? I won’t be offended if you say no btw
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I felt my heart begin to race and I quickly sat up from the table bed I was sharing with Alex. I threw my jacket on and quickly and quietly escaped the camper.
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Where’s your site?
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I awkwardly shuffled around in front of the camper waiting for her response.
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We’re on the outside, right by the bathrooms with a bunch of tents set up. I’ll watch for you though
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I didn’t even finish reading the message before I started almost jogging to where she was. I was nervous, but overjoyed all at once as I neared the climb of portable toilets. I slowed my walk a bit, trying to not look as eager as I was.
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“Hey! Ashton!” I heard Marissa call, and I turned to my right to see her sitting out in a lawn chair, illuminated only by the burning embers of whatever she was smoking. I walked over, hands deep in my pockets and she grinned widely. She gestured to the seat next to her and I sat down, heart still pounding.
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“You can’t sleep either, huh?” she asked, taking a drag from which I could now see was a joint. I shook my head as she let out the smoke.
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“I don’t regularly smoke this stuff, but this weekend is the time to just do whatever, you know? Do you smoke?” she asked, resting her elbows on her knees and holding the blunt out to me. I grinned sheepishly and took the joint from her, taking a long, deep drag. It had been too damn long since I’d smoked.
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“Damn, you’re a pro,” she laughed as I handed it back to her. I leaned back in the chair, taking another deep breath. I glanced over at her as she started putting the joint out. She leaned back and looked at me.
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“I tried smoking that stuff when I was in high school because of my insomnia and it worked miracles,” she sighed happily with a smile.
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“So, how do you communicate with people if you’re mute? Do you sign or carry something around?” she pressed, genuine interest in her eyes. I cleared my throat, as if I were going to start miraculously speaking, but instead pulled out my phone. She sat patiently and quietly as I typed:
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9/10 times I just type because it’s quicker and not everybody knows ASL. I sign to my family and to Alex sometimes because it’s quicker, but I can suffice with typing or small gestures. When I was really young and learning to read and write, I would sign, but I also had flashcards I carried around.
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She read over the text, smiling as she read it. She handed me my phone back and just looked at me for a while. It wasn’t awkward though, I quite enjoyed examining her eyes some more.
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“Have you ever been able to talk? Also, feel free to let me know if I’m being way too fucking nosey,” she laughed and I smiled, typing again:
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I could make noises and stuff when I was really little. I could say “mama” and “dada” things like that, but then when I got older I just...I don’t know...I couldn’t speak.
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“Did you go to speech therapy or anything?”
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Oh yeah. Until I was in high school. I think they just gave up on me after a while.
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“Huh, well thanks for indulging my curiosity,” she sighed, leaning back in the chair and looking up at the sky. I continued to look at her, wondering how such a specimen existed.
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“I’ve really enjoyed your company, Ashton,” she hummed quietly, looking at me and I smirked, typing out on my phone:
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Are you sure it’s just because I can’t talk and you can just blab on?
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She looked insulted, but then laughed.
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“I can’t believe you aren’t annoyed with me and my constant talking. Like, literally, I never shut up once you get me going!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms up in the air dramatically. I burst out into my airy laugh and she looked at me in awe.
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“Oh my god, is that your laugh?! That is amazing!” she exclaimed, and I figured the joint was finally getting to us. She took a deep breath and grinned at me.
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“I’m gonna pass out soon I think, but seriously, text me and we can meet up tomorrow,” she yawned, with a stretch. I nodded, standing up and helping her up from the chair.
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Thanks for sharing your blunt with me, and the night. I’ll see you tomorrow.
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She read it and I winked at her. I gave her and wave and slowly started back to my tent, finally thinking I’d be able to sleep.
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