What binds us as humans? What, more than anything else, promotes a sense of fellowship?
Oo! Oo! I know! Pick me, teacher! Pick me!
Go ahead, Frankie.
Why, it’s shared experience, of course. We all know what’s it like to be angry, sad, joyful, scared, excited and embarrassed. Especially embarrassed. We can relate to each other in a more meaningful fashion because we’ve all experienced similar feelings. Especially embarrassment. I mean, everybody says or does something dumb once in a while, don’t they?
Longtime readers may recall the story of my Grade 10 French teacher’s buttocks finding their way into my hand. Tres embarrassment la, I must say.
And perhaps you remember the day I was Christmas shopping and my elbow was assaulted by a woman’s bosom. Not my fault of course, but still a tad embarrassing.
Well, I did it again. And it involved a woman again. Well, a girl/woman, of 18. And it sort of related to body parts (but not naughty bits this time, thank goodness).
Son #2 was having a few friends over one evening a couple of weeks ago. They were gathered in the basement wreck room. Sounds of high hilarity and video game crashes and explosions prevented anyone but me from hearing the knock on the front door.
I got up to answer, expecting one of #2's urchin friends. Instead, I saw nothing, nobody. For a second. Then, in the deepening evening gloom, I saw a pretty young woman kneeling - actually, on her knees but leaning backwards, sitting on the backs of her calves - and smiling up at me. I didn’t recognize her but figured she must be one of #2's friends or a friend of a friend.
I smiled down at her. Obviously, she was expecting someone she knew to answer the door and was preparing to play a little joke on them.
“Hi. Is Son #2 home?” Only she called him “Jake,” which is his name.
About then Devon, one of Jake’s buds, arrived from the wreck room. I guess someone else heard the knock, after all.
“Hi April,” he said.
“Well,” I grinned and held the door open. “Come on in. And no need to crawl.”
“Actually, I have to.” Without a lapse in her smile, she tossed her head to indicate behind her. “I had to leave my chair at the end of the driveway.”
I peered and could just make out her wheelchair behind my car. Since I rented the large dumpster, there was no room between my car and the lawn to negotiate her chair closer to the house.
I stood aside, laughing ruefully and shaking my head at my dunce-osity, as April set her hands on the ground, then lifted and swung her knees into the front hall. Laughing off my apology and rocking forward on her hands and knees, she made her way along the hall. I asked if she needed help with the stairs and she cheerfully refused. It seemed she had no use of her legs below the knees. But there was nothing wrong with the rest of her and her confident good nature was a balm to my embarrassment.
But sheesh. I mean, holy mackerel. What a maroon.
Muttering to myself, I walked to the end of the drive and carried her chair closer to the front door. I didn't want to leave it so close to the street. Darn thing was heavy. Jake or one of his buds could carry it back for her when she needed it. I recalled him mentioning a friend named April from time to time, but he’d never talked of her disability.
Later, when the kids had gone home, I asked him why he’d never mentioned it before. He shrugged, saying it never occurred to him. It was no big deal. April was just April.
Which, of course, is exactly right.
April is April and Frank is Frank and faux pas (pases?) happen to everybody.