Passing Silence

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Don't let the numerical order fool you—no one ever moves from denial to acceptance in five easy steps. Sometimes, before you can concede, you're forced to test extremes.

“I know you're mad, and probably hurt, but that's on me. I did what I had to do, son. This business is hard! You wouldn't have been able to keep up and… with you not being able to hear… well, you'd just get in the way. I know you're bright—God, I hope you don't think I question that! But, Kurt… what's the use of being bright if you can't communicate?”

Ross Sutton has plans for his sons—they're the linchpins of his legacy. Each step of their lives is carefully plotted to ensure his success but, when a rare illness leaves thirteen-year-old Kurt profoundly deaf, nothing will ever be the same.

His hero, the father who’s coached him at every stage, drops Kurt at a residential school for the deaf with only one set of instructions: Don’t come home until you can appear to hear! Nine years later, Kurt reenters his father’s world, determined to pass as hearing. Can he do it? Can he make his dad proud again or was ‘normal’ lost to him forever the day the sound went off?

Kurt Sutton just wants his life back—to be ‘normal’ again. As he puts it:
“…to walk into a room and know what people are talking about,
…to listen to somebody’s ideas and express my own,
…to have a girl hold my hand rather than watch me use it to talk,
…to order a breakfast and be able to understand if the waitress is asking about cream for my coffee or how I want my eggs cooked,
…to have an argument and actually know what the other guy’s pissed about,
…to just once not have it end with them all staring at me and shouting, ‘Are you deaf or something?”

Unable to admit it to himself much less to his best friend, Declan, Kurt’s sure his friend is the only thing keeping him sane most days. Declan was there when he got sick. The last voice he ever heard was Declan's; it’s Declan's voice he still listens for in his head when darkness and panic overtake him. At night, as they lie together, Declan’s voice is what's rumbling through his bones, Declan’s words make him feel accepted and whole, assuring him of a soft spot to land. Will Declan help him get back his life or is ‘normal’ totally disappearing in the rearview mirror?

Fully deaf and inextricably bound to Declan, Kurt is neither Deaf nor hearing, gay nor straight. “I've been trying to be someone I'm not—still working my ass off to impress my dad. I need to be who I am…. But I don't have a damn clue who that guy is anymore.”

Accepting his new reality means coming to terms with the limits of a father’s love while learning to trust the unconditional love of a best friend. Along the way, Kurt is forced to examine the boundaries of family, language, sexuality, and, of course, ‘normal’.

Passing Silence takes us through the very real issues of audism and what it means to be culturally Deaf, the struggle to understand and be understood, to stay visible in a world that won’t take time to see.

Table of Contents


Submitted: June 23, 2019

PROLOGUE   Sirius was cranked but not at the eardrum-blasting level Kurt usually insisted on. Declan was surprised to see hi... Read Chapter


Submitted: June 23, 2019

CHAPTER ONE NOT A BLIP ON HIS RADAR   "Move it, little dweeb!" Those were the first words Kurt Sutton said to him. ... Read Chapter


Submitted: June 23, 2019

  CHAPTER 2  YOU’RE NOT A FAG ARE YOU, DUDE?   Declan's mum had rented a small house sight unseen before... Read Chapter