I want to tell you today about two people I care very much for. I have known them for a while, indeed, they are close friends. You may have met them already there. Writing this makes be smile.
But I’ll let one of them, Daphnée, tell you, herself, how she met the other. So it goes…
D: I am a writer, and a successful one at that. I am also deaf and mute, from birth. This does not affect my writing, all the opposite. I needed a translator, for a novel that was so successful that publishing houses were pushing my own publisher to let them translate and publish elsewhere, for a lot of money. However I had retained the rights for other countries and wanted to keep my work as mine.
So I did some research, and advertised.
My ad said: “ Published and successful deaf-mute writer seeks an independent, proven and qualified translator, from English into at least three EU languages, as well as Russian and Japanese. Please reply to xxx.”
And Sarah replied, one of a few dozen replies I received. But hers was special. She said:
S: I am an experienced translator into four European languages (German, French, Dutch and Italian), and Russian and Japanese. I’d love to work with you. I must tell you that I am paraplegic from birth, and work mainly online. However I am prepared to meet you in town, if you wish, but please make sure you chose a place suitable for my chair.
I know how to talk to you.”
I thought about the last remark, and concluded Sarah knew sign language. I thought it was rather sweet of her to say that. Her credentials were perfect. Sarah mailed me a picture of her as well. I looked at it, hesitating, somehow moved by it. Her red hair came out of the photo, framing a beautiful elvin face, with a smile, well, explosive, lighting her delicate features. That photo went straight to my heart. I replied, and attached my own pic, that of a tall athletic black woman, who could have been a model. I said I wanted to meet, and gave her a date, and the address of a wheelchair friendly bar in London.
On the day, I was sitting there, the place was already busy and, I assume, noisy. I ignored the usual show of males parading and approaching. I was wearing my badge: “F***off I’m mute”. Then I saw her, she was wheeling herself into that place, gracefully, and I realised that the bar had fallen silent. All eyes were turned to her. She was exquisitely beautiful, in a way that only exists in dream, or in the mind of a writer. I stood up, went to her, greeted her in signs, she smiled, replied, and as she spoke I read her gorgeous lips, my heart beating the chamade, and I helped her to my table. We looked at each other, silent for long seconds. We talked about the book, then ourselves, then were silent again, just absorbing the pleasure of each other’s presence. We talked again about ourselves. Our hands touched, ever so lightly. Then she signed:
“ You are how I imagined you would be. I know this is a professional interview, and I am at risk of failing. I am just very emotional, and you are so impressive.”
She succeeded as you already know. Ever since, we have been working together, and she’s of course much more for me now. As I am for her.