Posted on Sunday, March 20, 2011
A rare golden ball of gas in the sky warmed us today. Blackbirds singing, Laughingboy on the front doorstep in his wheelchair gazing at multicoloured twirly windmills whizzing around in a cool spring breeze. I in the kitchen buttering bread for the baby, a sudden rush of chundering wheels interrupted my train of thought.
The kid in his go-cart skidded to a halt outside our house and looked up at Laughingboy, gazed for a few seconds in unashamed curiosity.
“Hiya” he said. Laughingboy said nothing, his head lolling to one side, his brain processing a multitude of all sorts of things, or nothing at all.
“Hiya” the kid said again. Again Laughingboy stayed mute.
I chose that moment to go outside to spark up a smoke and smiled at the kid who instantly jumped at my presence, as though caught in the act of doing something private. He smiled back. Or half-smiled. He wasn’t sure.
“You’re a clever young lad” I told him. “You know that most people who don’t say hello back, are ignorant. It’s different with my little boy, he can hear you but he can’t reply yet, he hasn’t learned how. Whereas most people give up on saying hello to him, you don’t, and that’s why you’re clever. It’s people like you who’ll teach him how to talk, so thanks… thanks a million.”
“K” said the kid, and go-carted away. Laughingboy giggled at the sound of churning wheels on tarmac and the birds went on singing, as they do.