One day several years ago, many months after Marie came to live with us, my husband, in a good mood, came into the kitchen, swooped me backwards, and gave me a passionate kiss. When we had finished, I noticed Marie standing there, gaping, eyes wide, with a shocked look on her face.
“What was THAT????’ she asked in American Sign Language.
“A kiss,” I told her.
“No, no”, she signed back, “a kiss is a little peck on the lips” she said as she came over and demonstrated one on the dog. (Heaven knows a teenager would never kiss their MOTHER!)
“There is a different kind of kiss when you really love someone like your husband” I said.
“That is amazing! How did you LEARN to do that? ” she asked plaintively.
“You don’t learn it, you just feel it. It is natural when you love someone,” I explained to her.
“Well,” she huffed, “I’m going to wait until I’m 17 to do that,” she said as I said a silent prayer to myself that I should be so lucky for her to wait that long!
I laughed inwardly at her innocence, this worldly child who, because of her child abuse knew the mechanics of sex more than anyone her age. I doubted she ever saw anyone really “in love” before, and she had never seen anyone kiss passionately, which really surprised me. The more I thought about it, though, I realized she hadn’t been exposed to it in her young life and the only other way she might know would be from watching television. Because of her deafness and lack of early education, she had a low reading level and was not able to understand the captioning on tv, so she did not generally watch comedy or drama series. Her favorite tv channel was (and still is,) the Animal Planet where captioning is not really needed to enjoy the shows. What wonderfully active lives those animals live! Exotic lives! Interesting lives! Dangerous lives! Sometimes romantic lives; nuzzle noses, lick, bite, cuddle, hug, dance and flap their wings as a means of showing affection. But a long, romantic, “mushy” kiss? I think not….Marie had to learn that from her parents…
To read more about our life, here is a link to my book:
Link to the Readers Digest review of my book: http://www.rd.com/recommends/what-to-read-after-a-hurricane/