You are sitting one pew in front of me during mass and I am at once intrigued and fearful. You are large, towering well over six feet and your hands resemble oars; weathered and larger than any hands I have ever seen before.

You catch me glancing at you and you gesture, pointing to your mouth, forcing your lips to purse, pushing noises through that indicate you are non-verbal.

Just like monchichi.

Except you are a grown man, unkempt grey hair sitting atop a head not quite proportionate to the rest of your body. You, in your denim shirt, at least four sizes too big and tucked into dark blue overalls, you represent everything I fear and refuse to face for more than a few seconds at a time.

You are a special needs adult.

You are not as cute as the children in monchichi’s special day class.
You are not small, easy to handle, easy to carry out of a crowded restaurant, if need be.
You are not embraced by society.
People fear you.
People do not understand you.
People do not gather around you and comment on your beautiful blue eyes, your sweet-smelling skin, your flirty smile.

You are alone.
You are sitting here, at church, alone.
And I am staring at you, trying so hard to seperate you from my own son, and I can’t.
The tears are slow and quiet.
My fellow catholics must think I am in need of some extra holiness today.
I am in need of something.
I am in need of promises that this man I am so rudely staring at will not be my son decades from now.
I need someone to shake me and tell me that they will find a cure and that it is perfectly okay and normal to hope and pray that he speaks in full sentences someday.

I want to hug you and make you disappear at the same time. You are too close and I am not ready.

I wonder about your mama and what kind of woman she was.
I wonder if you have any friends.
I watch your jerky movements as you try to engage others with your hand gestures, but they politely nod and turn around.

It is because you make them uncomfortable.
People don’t know what to do with special needs adults. You are a child in a grown man’s body and the packaging is no longer acceptable.


Not today.
I am not accepting this today because I am not ready. Because the final results are not in and we still have a chance.

I am ashamed that I am afraid of you.
That I want better for my child.

But I do.

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One Reply to “The Stranger”

  1. Thank you for that raw and honest post. You have such a different perspective of it. Feeling so close to it. I can only imagine the fear. It is all so unknown.

    My prayers for strength and comfort for you.

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