Friday, May 01, 2009
We were waiting, in the hot sun, for Mike, Marissa and Ruby to nagivate the incredibly long line that led up to the Dumbo flying ride. Joe, who's face always has a slightly reddish hue, began to radiate the heat we were sitting in. I told him that night that I felt like I was going to bed with Mister Tomato Head. Anyways the reason we were sitting there was that we had the family camera and there were pictures to be taken of Ruby's first flight!
Joe saw that they were next up so he went to get into a position to take a photograph. I watched the current ride and saw a small boy, sitting cuddled up with his mom. He had his hand outstreached feeling the wind as it raced by, a delighted yelp left his lips. I swear I saw his mother cry. It was a lovely moment amongst many. I noticed him get off and only then saw that he was blind being expertly assisted by his mother. I understood now the sudden source of her tears and felt them myself.
They passed by me on the ramp down from the ride and I smiled at him. It didn't matter that he couldn't see me, I was convinced that a boy who could read letters on the breath of wind with his fingers would feel the warmth of my smile as he passed by. Then I noticed Ruby running along picking out the elephant that would take her to the skies, I saw Joe readying the camera. He gave me the, 'How in hell will I get this shot look.'
They flew by and Ruby, just like that little boy had her hand out, she too squealed delightedly as Dumbo soared to impossible heights. I wondered, wistfully, if she one day would bring her little girl here. If she would wonder at how small the ride had become over the years. Because now, you could see clouds in her eyes. She got off and took her Dad's hand as they made their way to the ramp.
One of the parents, with a small child, was loudly complaining to her friend about how stupid it was to have had to wait for a blind kid to ride on the rides. 'The lines are long enough,' she said loudly figuring all would agree, 'Without wasting them on kids who can't enjoy them.' She was surrounded by a sea of hard faces. Everyone who heard her was glaring at her ... she, to her credit, noticed and toned down a little.
I could write here about 'who was blind' but I hate that kind of statement as it still casts blindness as a negative state. I wonder though, not at the smallness of people's hearts but, rather, at the smallness of their imagination. It's a failure of imagination to not understand how a blind child could feel flight and experience joy. It's possible that that hand, outstreached, was touching the very face of wind. How cool is that? How incredibly cool.
I'm guessing that that woman colours all of life with simply one crayon - and that is something that I truly pity.