6 Months at the National technical for the deaf (PART 5)

6 months at the National technical for the deaf (PART 5)

Wow! I can’t believe that it’s already been 10 years in 2021! I’m still OBSESSED with every moment of my college experience from Fall 2011 to Winter 2012. Yeah! I’m consciously overthinking how much I reflect too much on good and bad memories. But what you’re reading here is probably TOXIC, UNHEALTHY, or REPETITIVE. I was only 19 years old in my naivety of real-world problems on my own after completing my high school diploma.


From Fall 2011 To March 2012

  1. Demetrius Curtis
  2. Zachary Brain Seguin
  3. Missouri
  4. November 11, 2011
  5. David Cardona
  6. Emily Borgel


In Nathaniel Rochester Hall’s computer lab, I newly gained a few deaf friends, but at the same time, they were totally clueless about what was wrong with me because I was so glum at that time. I was so distraught about my writing projects on the flash drive. I NEVER explained why I was always moody around new friends.

There’s this 22-year-old man I inadvertently confided in and talked to about my USB drive problems in November 2011, but it wasn’t until September 2011 that I met him.

When I left New York in March 2012, he WAS THE most fascinating man I had met IN MY LIFE.

I remembered dealing with my overbearing grief in the middle of November 2011 as I approached that 22-year-old man about my “flash drive” damages one week before the Thanksgiving vacation. I thought I could confide in him in privacy at some point and NEVER tell him again. But I have NO idea why I felt compelled to share my grief with this most handsome man as long as it takes.

I was JUST LIKE a moth drawn to the fLAME, you know?

I kept returning to him as an addictive drug, as I’ve been seeing him for the past four months (November, December, January, February, and March).

We met many times in two places: Nathaniel Rochester Hall & The Wallace Center Library, as my safe spaces where I could share my feelings with him.

Two photos of Charlie Bennett in one picture as a collage. Straight Outta Da Bronx. It's a fan-made photo.

Two photos of Charlie Bennett in one picture as a collage. Straight Outta Da Bronx. It’s a fan-made photo.

David Cardona is an incredibly handsome Puerto Rican with a beautiful killer smile that made my heart go crazy. 

NOPE, that’s NOT why I found him attractive. It’s NOT because he is the physical object of my longing. I first met him in September 2011 at the Nathaniel Rochester Hall in that same room. We spoke a couple of times in the weeks before the bizarre USB flash drive incident in November 2011. I wasn’t completely mesmerized by his good looks when we first met; I NEVER really thought about him then. I only thought of him as “Mr. University Tourist Guide,” who showed me around RIT/NTID. As a matter of fact, he’s NOT really a tour guide because he never takes me on tour. David did explain a few things regarding RIT/NTID but NOT at a significant length of detail. He NEVER told me everything, but I just got a general idea of who he was when I first met him, and he was some random dude I met at the wrong time. He happened to be in the same room as I was at the computer lab.

I mean, if it hadn’t been for D.C, I’d have met another DUDE, you know? I still remember interfering with David’s homework duties because he sat next to me on the right side. 

The Hammer (2011 film version)

I had difficulty finding the correct information on the Internet by reading the entertainment news about Russell Harvard‘s leading role in THE HAMMER (2011 film version). The RIT website says that the film will be available on DVD in January 2012. Still, it also told me it’ll be screened at the local cinemas in November 2011. Unfortunately, there was no mention of a specific date for theatrical release in November 2011. So I decided to get in touch with David for temporary help while sitting next to me.

David eventually turned his head in my direction as his eyes innocently found me.

He watched me write down the crumbled piece of paper I had carried around all day. I was kind of afraid to talk to him at first. It was only in case I had to talk to random strangers.

Well, as I wrote to him in that paper, “I’m deaf. I need you to help me with this Internet thing. I don’t think I’ve read that correctly.” 

I didn’t even bother to use ASL or Pidgin Signed English in front of him because he would think of me as a weirdo. So, I thought writing was the only way to communicate with him.

“I’m deaf,” says David Cardona.

Shawn: “Oh, I had no idea you’re deaf! I can’t even tell who’s deaf on campus or not, there are so damn many hearing people here! I didn’t want to use ASL in front of hearing people.”

David: “Actually, I’m hard-of-hearing, but I can speak a bit orally.”

Shawn: “Ahh, I see. Anyway… According to what I read online, there’s a slight problem that I found. There is no specific date for the November premiere of the film in this article. Do you see something I don’t see?”

David moved toward me in his skating chair and leaned down to read where I was pointing.

“Yeah,” he said after a few moments. “I noticed some errors in this online post.”

Shawn: “Yeah?! See?”

David: “Lack of specific announcements for the movie release in November 2011, but it says the DVD sale of THE HAMMER in Walmart will be released in January 2012.”

Shawn: “Right! I’m somewhat surprised that this publisher forgot to set the release date in November. It should’ve been there by now.”

David: “Yeah, sometimes RIT publishers are a lame ass. They don’t do an excellent job of putting the blog here. Occasionally, this happens. I’ve been here for 2 years. Now that I’m in my third year, I know what’s going on.”

Shawn: “Hm…” (slightly nodding)

David’s eyebrows were gathered in confusion as he strangely looked at me. I gave him a slight nod of listening and understanding because he briefly explained that part in the best way possible. And here, the silence begins to spread between us while he stares at me oddly. I didn’t immediately have any further discussion for a few seconds of silence.

David: “Um… Don’t you mind if I ask you a personal question?”

My heart got popped out of my throat and froze. I knew it! I knew what he would ask me! He’s gonna ask me how dark my skin is? Or the way I use sign language that is different than everybody else in the deaf community? I admit I’m NOT very good at expressing ASL classifiers and syntactic cues, but still… I hated how deaf people thought about me. They’ve always been so low-minded about me. They said I was “not deaf enough” because I was NEVER good enough to be part of the deaf community. These people don’t like my hands. They don’t like how I speak ASL. I knew that was the only reason why David was gonna ask me that.

Shawn: “Sure, shoot it.”

David: “Uh… Are you gay?”

It was kinda weird for him to ask me about my sexual orientation. That’s what most people ask me every day. I am uncomfortable answering that question because others are starting to intimidate me because I am who I am. I usually lie to someone I don’t know and tell them no.

David, on the other hand… 

I want him to come up to me and ask me like that. I’ve always fantasized about being able to answer all of the dumb questions from attractively hot studs without making snappy judgments or worrying about getting hurt. When he asked me that, I thought it was a scathing sexy move on me, but at the same time, I knew I had to stick up for myself when the situation demanded it.

Shawn: “Yea, yea, I am. Why?”

David: “Well, it’s your body language that pops into my head. Your hands wiggle like a girl. You don’t look masculine. You seem kind of feminine. Like an effeminate.”

Shawn: “I’m very much aware of my physical appearance. I understand that I’m very different from other men who are more macho than me. I don’t look like a guy to you. I’m kind of effeminate in every sense of the term.”

David: “Don’t be fooled by my question. I’m not gay, but that was the only question I ever asked. I’ve been observing you, that’s all.”

Shawn: “Deaf people are visually sensitive to even the smallest of details that might have easily gone unnoticed. Hearing people may have observed the same thing, but they don’t necessarily bring up in the same manner that you do. To me, Deaf people are so brutally honest and unfiltered. I’m not sure why. Are Deaf people endowed with some kind of gaydar superpower that allows them to discern who is gay and not?”

David: “I don’t know if this is the Deaf superpower or not. But, you know, I can’t help but notice that you’re different from the rest of the men.”


I recalled having another series of dialogues with David on November 14, 2011. I told him that I’d been unhappy with my writing projects, which had been accidentally erased from my computer’s flash drive at the time.

“Wow,” David suddenly became empathic. He’s in his relaxing composure while his masculinity is putting on the show. He seems very attentive and listens to me. But at the same time, he looked unmoving because his eyes were droopy and tired.  

David: “I’m sorry that this occurred to you. I had no clue you were interested in writing stories.”

After describing everything to him about my writing efforts, I told him I’d been working so hard for so long, ever since I started writing at the age of twelve.

“Wow, this is very deep, dude!” exclaims David. “You’re who you are as a writer. Only you know enough about yourself to be better than anyone else. You’ve decided what you’re going to do with your stories that you wrote. You’re very enthusiastic about telling your stories and working on your writing projects. Since your projects have been unexpectedly deleted from the flash drive, I can only imagine that it has put an end to your hopes and aspirations. It’s like a driver needs a tank of gas to get on the road, otherwise the car, it wouldn’t work at all.”

Shawn: “That’s exactly right! You seem to understand my situation better than all the people I’ve met in my entire life! No one in my family could see what I was going through with my projects over the years! Nobody in my school has the slightest clue what I’m talking about. Nobody! Why do I feel like you’re the only one who acknowledged and validated my emotions? It’s exactly answer I’ve been waiting to be told. Seriously!”

I first noticed that he enjoyed listening to my bedtime stories, even though I gave him too much information. It SURPRISED me that he was such an attentive listener as I told him about the writing projects I had completed and stored on my USB drive. David has always had many questions for me, such as, “What happened to this character?” “How?” “Why?”

LOL! He ended up being my whole audience overnight! 

His inquiries begin to idolize me as if he was a diehard fan of my work that hasn’t been prolific or publicly seen. David became the only real fan and audience I had on this planet, and I was grateful to him for that! I am suspicious that he may be the greatest muse of my work! From then on, every time I met David in Nathaniel Rochester Hall or the Wallace Center library, he gave me a great pep talk and encouraged me to do better. 

So, during the fall season of 2011 and early 2012, I went over heels in love with David for four months.

Every time I talked with David, I could feel his presence of heat pressing down on me and David’s incredible energy radiating from every inch of his body. His breathing existence, which was all around me, was a joy to experience. David’s sensual smiles allow me to expand my heart and see things from a new, more optimistic angle. As if he set me on fire in the exaltation and euphoria, but positively, as opposed to the horror film version of The Wicker Man. His personality distinguishes him from the rest of the masculine wolf pack! I don’t believe I’ll be able to find anybody quite like him. I don’t know if I can find anyone like him. I hoped he could be my love partner. He insisted that he was born straight and still straight as hell, which silently disappointed me. 

I was kinda expecting that he was more flexible around his sexuality at the time. 

Straight actors are daring to interpret same-sex scenes in front of an audience. As David points out in his Bronx Sign Language: “If Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal can pull it off, why shouldn’t I have no issue making out with random dudes or playing gay in a Hollywood film? I couldn’t imagine doing something like this if I was in the role of these Brokeback Mountain characters, but it made me understand that this is just a gay-for-pay situation. If Heath and Jake can make money off it, I’m going to do it for money!”

As Shawn says in sign language: “You appear to have the flexibility to play the roles you can afford as an actor. Straight actors are allowed to pretend to be gay, after all. Even if it’s only for fun or if they don’t have any emotional ties to particular situations that might make them uncomfortable, they won’t be able to do it in real life. There are no requirements associated with this concept. It’s the most challenging part of being bi-curious, at least I think so.”

David: “It allows me to stay open-minded and better understand why some men are gay. I mean, I remember going to some drunken party one night in particular. Back then, I’ve been a bit bi-curious. I had a habit of sitting in a circle with other people my age. We spent our time playing such a ridiculous game. The wheel of the bottle was spinning round and round. Every time the bottle gets stopped and pointed directly at a guy, everyone dares him to locate a kiss, and he chooses me as his kisser. The first time I realized I was chosen, I said I didn’t find men attractive and wasn’t interested in them. All I do is kiss the chicks. Because everyone else in the game was always pushing me, I decided to have fun and enjoy myself. I told them okay, one kiss, and I meant it. That’s all that should be done. I kissed him with my tongue and mouth. We kissed during the stupidest game. Everybody applauded us and made fun of us, and a couple of others were caught off guard. It’s probably the gayest kiss I’ve ever felt in my life. I knew I was still part of that game.”

Shawn: “Hmm… Interesting. Your kiss doesn’t seem any different, right? I mean, does this guy behave in such a different way from the girls you love to kiss?”

David: “No, I don’t see anything different between men and women. It’s the same as kissing a woman. It’s only a mouth that I kissed for nothing. One hole, that’s right: one hole. I am far more interested in women because I wanted to be a father figure for her children as they grew up. I was planning on having a family. I’ve become obsessed with kids. Men cannot get pregnant because they are men themselves. I’m not even sure I can wrap my arms around their fat bellies, okay? I enjoy cuddling pregnant women.”

Shawn (chuckles): “It’s natural for gays to secretly fantasize about you getting them pregnant and having kids around, right?”

David: “Dude, you crack me up! Please, this will never happen. My closest friend once told me how he felt about me, and I politely refused to be his boyfriend or future husband. I haven’t treated him any differently than any other straight man in the Bronx, New York. I explained to him that I respect his identity, but there were already all the personal boundaries that I created for him. As long as we hang out socially and regularly, I limited him to do what he is allowed to do and not allowed to do. It means a lot to me because all we can do is be friends. I don’t want him ruining everything for me. As you can tell, we’re still good friends. I told him he’d be better off with someone he could rely on. He was not the only one. I was frequently approached by other gay and bisexual men, and I had to politely reject from time to time. Sorry, gays, I prefer pussies! I know I’m hot, but that’s never gonna happen.”

Shawn: “You know, David, I was a freshman at the Missouri School for the Deaf when the whole mess happened. That was March 2008. Before the fourth-year guy got his high school diploma, I had a crush on him. Whatever happened between us hasn’t been pleasant to me. It’s been a terrible year. He didn’t want me around him. I guess I pressured him. I gave him my feelings inappropriately. I wasn’t sure how to express myself to him. How I treated him was wrong. After this incident on the first floor of Wheeler High School on Friday afternoon, there was also a fight on the bus to get home in Saint Louis, Missouri. The following week, we returned to school after a long period of silence during which we never spoke. Then our friendship was over. We didn’t even get a look at each other for three months. After seeing him graduate from high school, we have weakly rekindled our friendship, but it is different from before. He’s had a different attitude towards me lately. Our discussions were reduced to almost nothing. I did miss a bit of what we had back.”

David: “Well, he’s not treating you right. If I were him, I would never do this to you. As a champion, I would’ve handled the situation admirably. I can outdo him. I’m more relaxed with you than him around you.”

David and I were on the second floor of the Wallace Center of the Library when I had another remarkable encounter with him, which I remembered as we were there. I felt a bit awkward when I sat next to him in the same room with him, watching a 2006 version of ANOTHER GAY MOVIE on YouTube.

I remember him sitting right behind me, which was a teensy bit of a super-nice surprise. We were literally within several inches away from one another while sitting with our backs, eyeballing our computer monitors separately.

David: “Hey, what’s up?”

When David walked in on me, I knew I had to hurry up and HIDE the browser tab from him. I couldn’t let him know what I was looking at. 

He probably thought I was watchin’ gay porn online. LOL!

Shawn: “I’m now watching the funniest gay film I’ve ever seen. No, I don’t think you’ll enjoy it. It’s a bit too much bonkers, corny and cheesy, if you ask me. It’s almost like you’re not meant to see it because you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

David: What?” He seems a bit lost.

In self-doubt, I wordlessly shook my head, and as soon as he took a look at the browser tab on the Internet, I hid it quickly. David could understand what was going on, well, not at first. I offered him the strangest smile that wasn’t really a smile in the traditional sense. This is more like a YIKES smile than anything else. Just one look on my face said something he didn’t get at all. 

I also have NO idea why I told him in the first place, much alone what I was thinking.

 But I can’t stop myself from inadvertently giving him this unnecessary knowledge, even though I should’ve kept my lips closed! 

I was a little under the gun-hijacking or coercion through my head to say anything!

David: “Ah, well, let me have a look. I’m a bit somewhat curious in seeing it!”

Shawn: “Don’t hate me if you check this out.”

David didn’t heed my warning and continued to sit next to me, sometimes too close to my body. I felt that he was stuck straight into me and that we were possibly melting together. I could sense David’s sexy masculine presence and his physicality alone beside me. He seems so athletic. 

It’s a pleasure to have him at my side. 

Although he smelled charming in his own right, I was fully aware that he wasn’t constantly dripping with perspiration from gym workouts or sports. 

Maybe, that’s how Bronx Latino guys smell that wayI don’t know. 

He’s got a sultry scent about him on random occasions. At the same time, I’m also aware that he did apply cologne to his skin. He even apologized if I noticed the rotting stench on him. How considerate of him! Still, it only happened once and would never happen again in our interactions. My point is that he was so damn irresistible, attractive, dreamy, and seductive when his body was so damn close to me! Seriously! I was ready to burst out laughing as he pressed the Play button on the wired mouse in his hand to begin streaming the video. 

I SAVORLY watched him watch that shitty video! 

When David had just finished seeing a few minutes from “Another Gay Movie” on YouTube and didn’t feel the need to watch more than 5 or 10 minutes, he turned to face me and expressed his thoughts: “Ugh. Um. Yes, I do understand the point you’re making. This is far too bright, colorful, and campy-look. I was under the impression that this was written from the point of view of an effeminate sissy man, rather than a macho gay man. Brokeback Mountain was my favorite movie because it’s really masculine atmosphere. My reaction to this video I just watched a few minutes ago was very different from what I saw on Brokeback Mountain. If you want to enjoy watching this one, don’t be afraid to do so.”

David respectfully walked away from me and returned to his computer behind me, leaving me alone to look at the same video of my free will. 

We went our separate ways after visiting the Wallace Library. We didn’t talk again for several hours later. Then he went to do whatever he did on his own.

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