"Why do people stare at you so much?"
Ruby was sitting on my lap, she'd finished her food court treat and we were chatting about Christmas. She caught someone gawking from a distance and I said, 'You mean like that woman over there.' She said, quickly, 'Not just her lots of people stare. Why do they stare at you so much?'
I was stuck.
'I don't like it when people stare and me and I don't like it when people stare at you.'
I was still stuck. I looked at her face. She was looking at me earnestly, with absolute trust. I had thought I'd say, 'They are staring at me because they can't believe how lucky I am to know a lovely little girl like you.' But that's not true. I suddenly felt the weight of the question and I felt like Ruby was depending on me to take her question seriously, to take her seriously.
'Because I'm different than other people.'
'No you're not,' she said quickly, 'you're just Davey.'
I gave her a hug trying to keep tears out of my eyes. 'Yes, I'm just Davey to you, but they don't know my name. They don't know me like you do. They see me as being bigger than them and they see me in my wheelchair.'
I felt like I'd struggled through those words.
'That's what I already said, silly,' she said patting my shoulder with her hand, 'You're just Davey.'
I am that.
I'm just Dave.
How I pray one day that what Ruby knows the entire world and everyone that lives in it one day will understand.