Speak to her, not me!

Valerie Marquez

Off to the park for a bit of fresh air. Here we go again, people meeting and greeting.

“How is she doing?” “Is she coping all right?” they ask above her head, as if she’s an object. Occasionally condescending, they pat her shoulder, as they would a beast with no understanding.

“Poor thing, it must be so hard.”

They continue to speak patronisingly about her.

I see red… as she appears so alienated, lost…

I watch her slumped in her wheelchair, as I push her.

Do they not realise, she may not be able to manage for herself, but there is
nothing wrong with her hearing?
Her brain works – she has feelings and understands every word they say.

Why, oh… why! do people not speak to her directly instead of in the third person?

“Enough is enough!” I say. “Speak to her directly, address your questions to her, not over her head.”

“I’m not her spokesperson; she has a mind of her own. She can answer for herself. The light’s on and, yes, she is at home and in full charge of all her faculties.”

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