They arrived at the top of the ramp, started down, and then spotted me, racing down towards them, and pulled back to wait. The disabled access to the north mall means going under Bloor Street so there’s a long ramp down and then a long ramp up. I enjoy this ramp because it’s got hand rails on either side and it’s set up so I can go really fast down one and then use the momentum to get up the bottom part of the other. After that I can just pull myself up to the top. So they watched me race down and then pull up. When I crested the top, where he had waited along with an assistant, he was grinning. He’d liked what he’d seen.

“Thanks for showing me how to do it!” he said. He was about to speak again but before he could, the worker with him said, “Do you wear gloves to help you, I didn’t see?” I was about to answer when he spoke, his voice softly frustrated, “I was going to ask you what kind of gloves you are using …” he’d obviously noticed my glove. Her voice entered again, “He’s looking for a good set of gloves to use.” His face closed down as she spoke.

I backed up, because I was just a little far ahead to be in a comfortable position for he and I to talk. He had spoken first, he had initiated the conversation, it was to him that I would speak. Besides I’m much more interested in ‘I’ than in ‘he’. Once in position I showed him the gloves that I was using. “He’s looking at getting biking gloves,” she said leaning over him to look at the gloves. I said, to him, “I use these because they are good all weather, winter or summer, they have a good grip and they really protect my hands.” He leaned over to look and she gently pushed him back so she could see better.

I didn’t know what to do. It’s his job to direct her support. I don’t know the dynamic and I don’t know what my speaking up would do. I don’t know if it would endanger him. But I don’t know what my silence would mean either. I simply don’t know what to do. Except finish up the conversation.

He spoke from behind her head, she had bent down to get a look at them. “What brand are they?” I told him the brand and was relieved to have her stand back up so I could see him. Her voice again, “Where …” He cut in, his voice a little stronger, “… did you get them?” I told him the store where I’d picked them up and told him I buy three or four at a time because I can’t always find them.

“So am I going to see you racing down the ramp any time soon then?” I asked. He smiled and said, “I suppose it depends on …” She began to speak again, cutting in. “Please,” he said, “let me finish.” It was not a request. She hushed. She didn’t like it, but she hushed.

There’s revolution and rebellion in him, once he makes friends with those, his life will begin to be his own again.