To begin with, he was frail. He walked carefully, setting each foot down as if unsure that the bones would continue to support him. He focussed forward, his eyes looking at his destination. This was a man who seemed to have lived his long, long, life pulled along by a goal's magnetic force. Beside him was his wife. She had a brace on her leg and her cane hung over her arm. Her hand was clasped in his, they were an single unit making their way along. As they passed me, I saw their hands. Together, clasped strongly together. It seemed to me that it would take something mightier than death to separate those two hands. His became strong in hers. Hers completed his. They walked slowley, but they walked together. Love embodied is so much more powerful than love spoken, don't you think.
She may have been 14, perhaps 15, but I'm woefully bad at guessing ages. I look in the mirror and guess my age at about 12, and I know I'm way off there. But let's just say, she looked to be in her teens. She was walking alongside her mother and they were laughing about something. You could tell that her mother had simply forgotten, for a moment, that her daughter had Down Syndrome. This is something that takes parents by surprise. When a child is born with a disability, the diagnosis is looked for in every movement in every moment. But over time the child becomes a child and long stretches of time can pass without even thought of difference. I could see this was one of those moments. Then, suddenly a group of teens comes out of the store. One of them calls the other a 'retard'. Mother notices. Daughter doesn't. For a second. The word flys again, daughter is struck. She reaches out and takes her mother's hand. They hold on tight. They don't slow down. They don't change course. They just hold on. Each hand supporting the other. Two become one. Each becomes stronger. Love embodied is in a way, I'm learning, love spoken.
They are doing repairs on the apartment building and the front driveway is cluttered with scaffolding and much of it is fenced off. Cars can no longer come into the driveway. So when I get off the elevator I push through the two doors and then down the driveway to the side of the road where Joe meets me with the car. It's a fair way and I'm proud that I do it on my own. Yesterday we had to leave early and I left the building with the superintendent. He noticed the traffic cones at the end of the drive way and clucked annoyance when he saw they were evenly spaced. 'I told them to leave room for a wheelchair between two of them,' he said. I then understood why there was always a larger space, one big enough for me to get through. I thought it had been accident. I didn't realize it had been kindness. Anyways, he rushed ahead rearrange them for me and I pushed down the driveway. I almost hurt myself rushing. I didn't want to keep him waiting. Joe pulled up and the three of us spoke as Joe went about his business of putting the wheelchair bag into the car. When I went to get up I noticed that the ground was rough in that area and, afraid of falling, I motioned for Joe to give me his arm. I reached up and took hold of his hand and got myself up. I noticed the super notice our hands. Together. Love embodied, I've learned, is love loud.