Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Walking with Sophie
The rest of them -- The Husband, the Man Child and the Big O left the house to go to the baseball party at Shakey's Pizza, that bastion of arcade thrills and pizza that isn't really pizza and I waved to them at the door, sulky because I was staying home with Sophie, the noise and mayhem of Shakey's not good for her, sulky because I wanted there to be an instance of family, a time when we could all go out as a family, have fun, no reservations, just pick up and go. Sophie was sticky with seizures that afternoon and I couldn't stand staying home so I put her in her wheelchair and left the house, turning left and into the urban part of the neighborhood, the cafes and coffee shops, struggling through doorways and sulky at the sun in my face. Beautiful day. The iced tea, the cheese cubes, the apple slices and roasted almonds that we shared, the relinquished face-up to the sun and I felt better, smoothed-out, walking home. I crossed Wilshire Blvd, pushing the wheelchair. A Latino passed me, dirty grocery bags clutched in both fists, his face averted. I maneuvered around a group of Korean teenagers flipping their skateboards, their faces averted, a white bum rooting through the trash looked up once and averted his gaze as well. I have never thought of disability as an equalizer in eye aversion, but it appeared to be so on Sunday afternoon. I pushed away from the city street and onto a residential one, the 1920s apartment buildings stark against the blue sky, palm trees waving, morning glory wrapped up and around a telephone pole, caught in the wheel of the chair, its viney, purple fingers clutching so hard that I had to bend down and yank it free.