I thought I was stronger than ever before but ..
there they were, little crushed eyes and fingers of their Father (God) slashing away at my lethargy, two days ago,’Miss Ray ! We can. We can do,we can.’
‘It’s a little complicated.’ I stutter, suddenly looking at a room full of blind kids and am wondering if we shouldn’t re-work some lines, moves. ‘Has some .. some .. choreography, the meaning is … there to be understood. Has two scenes, the stage divided in two. Two scenes.’
Tabi the youngest nods. She has little weak arms and a smile like fire.
‘Can I call you aunty Ray? They’re calling you Miss ..?’
‘Tabi, you can call me what you wish. My own son sometimes calls me Ray, ha ha.’
They smile politely and want to get to work ; it is 3.45 pm, no tiredness no fatigue, just please get on with this Miss R please, aunty who ever whatever you are. We are a force to reckon with, a little left out of the ‘intelligent things’ of the world, please stop talking down at us, Miss Please, we like good music, but can do drama. What are the lines ? How many of us will be finally chosen ? Who will be left out ?..
Uh dearest Lord God almighty…
‘Ok Tabi, this is a musical – silly, fun serious … you’re an ant that can’t see but .. hey do you mind playing an ant that…?’
‘Don ‘t be silly Miss Aunty Ray ..’
( She say that because I asked her or because she already knows all ants are’ blind’?)
” Is she aunty or Miss ?”
The one talking is about to play a Lion and practicing head rolls like I never told him, how does he know ? He is 7 years old.
Anju, another 9 year old is hyperactive, we make her a hoppy kangaroo, though about the lines here, can they carry it off with humor, and .. oh choreography, what do I do. The scenes expand to fit in everyone, I can see that happening, it will tire everyone out, calories will burn, hair will turn grey then blue, we will sleep talk, sleep eat and walk, not them, me. I got used to a sheltered life, positioned to take offence if not properly applauded. Not these kids, they don’t take offence, not yet. Maybe oneday they will, maybe they will get bitter, even sour. Maybe they will not, who knows ? Do we shape minds ? Is that possible. How much time does this take ? Is it all about a song and dance, no ? Then what ? As we have tea and square boxes of biscuits inside a room overlooking trees, a money-plant, 2 kittens and a grinny-faced dog running with kids playing cricket ( yes they can play some great cricket), am thinking, what a tiny school this is in the back yard of the Universe and yet here I am, touching a galaxy of stars I never knew existed ; am feeling more than just basic- sitting-blessed. Am motivated to stand taller, get people to see this thing, watch this. I forget the word impossible… my mind is being re- shaped, yeah I can hear forgotten wheels whirrrr..
We’ve gone ahead recorded the music – it plays in the auditorium, am thrilling, delighted, worrying, like a mother, like an alter-idiot. Why is the human mind ( read : Me) so addicted to defeat. As the light fades to dusk and the moments sort themselves out, am intrigued like never before. We discussed ‘ imagery’ before we did some foot work. The little kids left and we worked on the next segment with teenagers. I’ve never seen such positivity. One kid with a polio foot, wanted to do dance too.
Their only worry was what to call me, Miss, or Aunt, seeing I was mom to one of their school mates. I was there to help them out with some stage work for drama, they remind me of all I can do with them if my mind will stop being afraid…
I see the guest list and my soul scuba dives out backward forwards sideways, I die and watch as my spirit rises in separate little pieces each crying Mercy. Please God it’s safer home, cooking my little poetry and eating paint. It’s easier killing mosquitoes and playing pretend, playing games with wishlists, this is dreams in crutches and broken lines. I wasn’t trained for this. Last year this time I chickened out squawking blue murder, why am I afraid ? Since when did disability scare me ? So what if someone falls on their face, so what if that Trampoline act goes awkward, so blinky what, we’re dealing with things of the dark, with parents of kids who see things differently, literally. Am afraid ‘cuz I came here with a script that might have have to be re-written with some help here. AM afraid of all things am yet to learn from other people’s kids, and thought I knew everything baby. It is humbling to realise how little we know, breaky- humbling to fall apart in broad daylight, and meet the dark, knowing this is essential. To understand the dark. Touch it. Search for lights, like for the first time. Baby ,learn. I tell myself, learn, like a Child…
after all my yelping about ‘ Positivity ‘ am trembling at how tough kids are really, inside what the rest of us call ‘ disability ‘. ( Never thought I could get through this Post, whoa Lord crash the Gates in my mind, smash the irresponsibility within that screams, ” NO!” say yes, skelter the Rats inside, the foxes that carve out nests in our vineyards, dear God reach me higher than I ever did, shut me up when I hide behind defences we all took generation to build – generations that curse the best of us against the rest of us , that discriminate and label, that defeat us before we can ever start to begin – oh God is this a prayer ?)