A Project for Better Journalism chapter

A Touch of Raspberries

This story is about a deaf girl and a bully. The bully starts to fall in love with the girl. Despite her differences, he falls for her, and he can’t figure out why. This short story reflects on how love shines through even if you don’t see it. Will he choose her over being cool, or will things turn the other way around? Being deaf is nothing to joke about, will he realize it?

Author’s Note:

If you are sensitive about the deaf community, pause here. You don’t have to read this story if you don’t want to. This story is based on a manga/anime titled, “Koe No Katachi,” or “A Silent Voice/The Shape of Voice.” I changed many things about it so it doesn’t copy the “A Silent Voice,” exactly. I claim no rights to the creation of “Koe No Katachi” or “A Silent Voice/The Shape of Voice.”


It all started when I was a young boy. As young as fourteen, I was the most popular kid in the ninth grade. Everyone was my friend, and I was known as, “Junior” to everyone. Even my teachers called me that. My real name is Oscar Lanbridge, and this is the story of how my life changed forever. It started when I was on my way to second period. This was my science class which was secretly my favorite class. At the time, you wouldn’t have caught me saying I loved it because it wasn’t “cool.” My friends yelled to me when I walked in. “Ay, Junior,” my friend Alec said. “You got your homework?” he asked me. I was always the person to my have my homework done because I actually liked doing it. I nodded my head and gave it to him. “Attention everyone,” the teacher said to us. “We have a new student and she’s very special.” All the students rose their eyebrows. Alec nudged my shoulder, “She?” She came into the room, and she was really pretty. The teacher wrote down something on this notebook she carried. The girl nodded and flipped the page. She wrote something down flipped it over. On her paper it said, “Hello everyone, my name is Faya.” Everyone was wondering why she wrote this on paper and didn’t say it. We were wondering why this blue eyed, brunette was not speaking a word. It was like the teacher could read our thoughts. “This is Faya Mayweather and she is completely deaf.” When the teacher finished her sentence, everyone starting chatting amongst one another. The teacher looked over at me, “Faya will be sitting in front of you Junior.” I rolled my eyes, “Okay whatever.” I was trying to be cool in front of my friends, pretending like I could care less about her. That wasn’t the case though, I wanted to know her even if she is deaf. After writing on her notebook, she nodded and sat in the seat in front of me. As the teacher was talking, he wrote down everything on the board so Faya could follow along. She wrote down everything, and she looked like she was listening more than anyone else. Her beauty is astounding and her quiet breaths were tranquil. As my gaze on her started to fall deeper, my other friend Matthew tapped me on the back. I turned around and saw that he had something in his hand. “Hey Junior, I dare you to throw this in her hair,” he was holding his gum that he just finished chewing. “Why don’t you do it?” I asked him. “C’mon, are you a chicken,” he started imitating a chicken, and people around us started laughing. Everyone in classroom started to be in a pit of laughter, except Faya. “Silence,” the teacher said turning around. “Yes sir,” we all said in unison. When the teacher starting writing on the board again, I turned around to Matthew. “I ain’t no chicken,” grabbing the gum I threw it in her hair with no hesitation. Alec and Matthew started to crack themselves up, and my other friends Chris and Drew started to board the same laughter train. Faya was struggling to get it out of her hair and I felt so bad. For the sake of being cool, I didn’t help her. The smiles started to arise again. Our teacher turned around once again and saw what had happened. The gum was completely stuck at the bottom of her hair. She was only making it worse by clawing at it. The teacher tried to help her but decided to just send her to the office. I came along with her. She took her notebook with her, and we went off to the office together. It was quiet when we were walking until she decided to write something on her paper. It said, “Who threw the gum? Do you know?” I pointed to myself and told her I was sorry in sign language. Her eyes lit up and she asked me something in sign language. She signed to me, “You know sign language?” I nodded and started telling her how my seven year-old sister Isabelle is deaf, and so I learned through my mom. She laughed and told me that was adorable. We finally made it to the office, and I told them what happened. The nurse helped her into the nurse’s office. The principal pulled me into her office and talked to me. I’ll never forget this talk for as long as I live. “Come sit down,” Principal Jones said to me. I sat down, and waited for her to talk again. She stared at me for a while then started talking. “Are you sure you are the one who threw the gum?” The fact that she asked me that stunned me. I nodded. She rose her eyebrow, “I’m surprised.” “Why?” I asked not knowing what she was talking about. The principal walked over and stood in front of me. “You walked in laughing with her. It didn’t seem at all like you would do that to her.” My eyes widened. “You didn’t want to do it, did you?” She asked me. I looked down and felt guilt flowing in my veins. “I thought so. You don’t have to do this or be here right now. You care about that girl, you wouldn’t hurt her. I know about your sister, and I know you are familiar with the deaf community.” She continued on, “Think to yourself, hurting the ones you hold dear could crush a soul in pieces.” I felt a drop in my heart as the words kept flying at me. “You’re not in trouble. Just think about it.” We finished talking, and I walked out. I went to the nurse’s office to check on Faya. She was nowhere in sight, and I only saw the nurse. “Where’s Faya?” I asked. She looked over at me coldly, “Thanks to someone she went home to try to get that gum out.” I nodded and was about to head back to class. “Ya know,” the nurse continued, “bullying a deaf girl isn’t cool.” I nodded once more and walked back. Over the next few days, my friends kept pressuring me to throw more gum and spit balls at her. I told them no, and they rolled their eyes at me. They kept bullying her and stopped talking to me because they thought that I was lame. When Faya came back her hair was shorter. Even so she was still beautiful. She became my only friend, and I loved being with her. I was happy but there was a downside. Being the ex-friend of Alec, Matthew, Chris, and Drew dragged me into being bullied with Faya. They kept blaming me, and I would get detention.  Eventually Faya’s father was tired of it and pulled her out of school. The day before she was going to move. She and I spent the entire day together. She brought food for a picnic. We went to Yerny Park and sat under the oak trees. “Would did you bring?” I asked her. She held up her hands and began to sign, “I brought all of my favorites.” She picked up a tub of raspberries and opened it. She lifted up her hands, “These are my absolute favorite.” I smiled and slightly blushed. I realized the situation. This whole time I had tried to ignore it. She’s going to leave me, and I was about to cry. She noticed my teary eyes and reach towards the raspberries. As she placed the raspberry in my mouth, she held up her hands. “Don’t worry, know that….I love you” she signed those heavenly words. I couldn’t believe it. Faya was getting a call when I was about to respond. She kept nodding and looked like she was about to cry. She started to sign, “I have to go, but this isn’t goodbye forever though.” “It isn’t,” I said back. I never saw her after that until yesterday. I am now a junior in college. I was at Panera Bread as this beautiful girl walked in. I thought I recognized her, but I shrugged it off. Throughout the rest of high school, I always thought about her. I thought I’d never see her again. The beautiful girl walked out and towards me. She placed down her bagel on my table and lifted her hands up. I looked up and soon realized. “Oscar, is that really you,” The girl signed to me. I lifted up my hands, “Faya, you’re here.” A miracle happened, and I had never thought that it would. We talked the entire day, and she went home at seven. She told me something that day. “You know, I have a baby brother who dealt with bullying, and I helped him through it,” she said. “That’s amazing. I wish I were like you,” I respond. She glared at me as she held up a tub of something. Raspberries. “Remember from our picnic.” I nodded and grabbed one. “You helped me through the bullying in the ninth grade,” she signed to me. From that point on, I started to help my sister and other kids who were bullied. Faya and I both helped so many and soon got married after college. Faya is a special education teacher, and I’m a biologist. Our lives changed for the better. I’ve learned a lot from her as she once learned from me.