Tuesday, November 13, 2012

He Was MAD

I didn't hear what happened.

I just saw the reaction.

I wouldn't have seen the resemblance at first. He was a teen, maybe 16, maybe 17, impossibly thin. He was attempting to grow some facial hair but was only sporadically, and unfortunately, successful. She was old enough to be his mother, convenient as she was, and where he was tall, she was not, where he was was made of straight lines she was made of curves. It was only later, when we were having a cup of tea and they were having a bite of lunch at a table just down from us, that their relationship was evident in how they smiled.

But.

The reaction.

We were just coming around the corner as the noise burst out. The young man, flustered and furious, as taking off on someone who had said something to his mother. She, too, looked flustered but also embarrassed by her son's anger. She kept leaping in to his monologue directed at a shocked passerby, asking him to calm down. "I will not," he said, "I know how that kind of thing hurts you."

All I could get out of what he said to the woman, mortified by his abrupt speech and clear anger, was that she had either done something or said something that in his mind diminished his mother. "This woman RAISED me and my sister!!" he raged. "Don't treat her as if she is something less than you. Just because she uses a wheelchair doesn't make it OK for you to ..."

At this point the woman put out her hand in a motion meant to say, "I'm sorry."

"You damn well better apologise to her. She's a damn sight harder worker and stronger person than most in here."

It was over by the time we were passing them. I heard him say, "I just don't know how you put up with it all the time. Jeesuz ... I'm glad it's you in that wheelchair cause if it was me, I'd be in jail after a couple of weeks." She laughed. The tension eased.

Over lunch they looked very much like mother and son. But they looked like more than that. They looked like really, really, really good friends.

6 comments:

michelle jadaa said...

Reading this brightened my morning as both a mother and disabled.What a great man he will make with such compassion and love and yet such strength.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

While it is heartening to hear about this young man responding so fiercely to the prejudice this mother encounters, it is disheartening to know that she encounters it to such a degree, any degree really.

Colleen

Anonymous said...

Loud & proud!

becca3234 said...

where can i find a copy of the video about ethics of touch with a person living with a disability?

Jayne Wales said...

Well and truly claimed

Rachel in Idaho said...

After my mom had knee surgery a few years ago we were out and about at the aquarium when somebody who worked there referred to her as "the wheelchair."

The instant fury that took over my mind gave me an idea of what it's like on the other side.