The child was young, but not young enough to not notice. It constantly surprises people that we, as disabled people, notice their behaviour. Staring, is a particular particular example, you know when people feast their eyes off of difference and fill their bellies with 'supergust,' a word that should exist for the combination of superiority and disgust. We notice and we feel, and it shocks them.
I know this because I've become more confrontative when these things happen. "I can see you you know," startles starers and "I can hear you you know," bashes bigots into silence. Somehow they seem to feel that we are ready targets who neither hear, see, or feel their behaviour.
The little girl, I was sure was feeling the eyes on her, her chair and the way her body was shaped. I had noticed her because she was glaring at something in the distance. I focused my eyes on her glare and slid along until I saw what she was looking at. She was looking at three boys all close in age and all about 4 years older the she. They were, in full view of their parents, mocking her and staring at her.
She was little.
She was young.
But she noticed.
And didn't look away.
She didn't look away.
She glared back and angry stare. She said nothing and she said everything at the same time. It was a cold, hard look at those kids. They didn't notice her eyes at first, but when they did.
When they did.
She was young and already fighting. Already deciding that she doesn't deserve disrespect. Already taking on bullies. Already demonstrating that disability doesn't always mean helpless vulnerability. Already alive to her difference and her defenses.
Rock on kid.