We had gone over to the mall to have a very late lunch at the food court. The mall was packed, it being a cool spot in a very hot day. I was lined up to get my salad, yeah it depresses me too, when I noticed another wheelchair user in a different line up. He was young, maybe 28, and he was with his young daughter who kept him very busy. She was on his lap, then swinging on his wheel, then getting behind to push when the line was moving. To her, dad and his wheelchair, were simply part of her world. Oh. My. And when she looked at him, you could tell, she loved her father. Oh. My. And when he looked at her, you could tell, he loved her.

We found a table just as dad and daughter arrived at the front of the line. Then I saw him turn his head and look down past us and his eyes lit up and a smile broke his face into sunshine and then into view came his wife and two other daughters. She kissed him, his wife, when she arrived and then they ordered. Each of the kids, freshly squeezed, by their dad, played while they waited. Once the food ready, he placed the tray on his lap and wheeled himself over to a table following a child determined to pick where they would sit.

It was so lovely to see him and his family just being out and being family.

But, then, we are never ‘just out’ are we?

I was not the only one who noticed. The whole food court noticed. And stared. I know, I know,I should talk, but I promise you I just glanced. Conversations turned away from the weather, and you know how hard it is to get Canadians to talk of much else, to him and his children and his wife. It was like they’d never seen a family together before.

Questions about the wife swirled in the air. Why would she ‘waste her life’ or ‘put up with the burden’ or ‘have to take care of 4, not 3, children? No one mentioned love.

No one mentioned love.

They mentioned his disability. They mentioned their irresponsibility for having children. They mentioned money, whose the taxpayers or their hard earned cash. They mentioned the poor children who would never get to really play with their father.They mentioned a lot.

But they never mentioned love.

They never mentioned seeing his eyes light up and his face shine at the sight of his wife and children.

They never mentioned the kiss.

The kiss.

I wonder if he knew, they knew, that they were having lunch and confronting bigotry at the same time. I hope not. Not right then. Not right in that moment. They have a right to simply be in their world with each other and barricade themselves from the attitudes of others.

The never mentioned …

… love

… and that kiss.

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