She said it like she had said it a thousand times before. A line delivered with such practiced ease. Mother and daughter collapsed in laughter at a routine that clearly hadn't grown old. Let me put you in the picture.
I stopped at the huge Indigo bookstore a block from where I live to see if they had the first in the Bone series of graphic novels. I had picked up other such novels in the past and we headed over to where they were shelved. The clerk working that area told us, upon request, that these particular novels were down in the children's section. We took the elevator down and began wandering the aisles looking for the book. I like looking at children's books, seeing what's current for the toddlers among us.
Over in the teen section was a mother and a daughter team. Mom had a couple books tucked under her arm and her daughter was shopping for something to read. Nothing surprising here except her daughter was a teen with Down Syndrome. They were clearly having a nice time together and were chatting as they shopped. The person I did really notice was an older woman who seemed almost to be stalking them. She was a clever old fox because she'd learned to stare out of the corner of her eye. She probably thought she was being subtle, but she really wasn't. She was like a soldier wearing camoflage in a kitchen.
Mother noticed too, or must have, because she turned to the older woman and said, "Lovely day, isn't it?" The ice being broken the elderly woman turned on the sympathy taps. She went on and on about how lovely it was to see her with her daughter. That it must be such a trial. That her heart must have been broken. That she must be such a saint. There was little time for reaction or to say anything because the dam had burst and prejudices and preconceptions flowed out freely.
Daughter came over and caught the last part of the conversation, she'd heard it all before too, without pause she interjected, "I'm not special, she's no saint." The older woman didn't quite catch what she said, so she stopped her pity prattle and said, "Pardon?"
"I'M. NOT. SPECIAL. SHE'S. NO. SAINT." The words were clearly enunciated. There was a brittle pause, then a glance between the two of them led to helpless laughter. The elderly woman shook her head and walked away muttering. People don't like it when you turn down pity.
I found the graphic novel and began pushing myself back to the elevator. Mom caught me eye, I said, "Well, I'm special."
Now we all laughed.