Samuel and I were out shopping the other day and we found ourselves in the middle of a long queue at the till. The couple in front of us were chatting about what was on TV that evening, so being the nosey person that I am I was trying to listen in. You never know they could have been talking about a fab TV programme I didn’t know about!
Then the guy in front (who had a very cool jacket on) looks at his watch and says that he really must go, they shared a quick kiss on the lips and he was gone. I heard the man behind me, who had been chatting to the woman behind him about his garden, make a loud ‘tutt’ sound just as the couple had kissed. I smiled to myself thinking oh bless him, perhaps a bit of a prude about public displays of affection.
But then, just as the person in front got called to the cash desk, the man behind me muttered something about poofs and darkies. My mouth fell open. I couldn’t believe it. Yes, the couple in front who kissed were two men and yes, one was black. I hadn’t even thought about the fact they were both men and one was black. Just thought one had a cool jacket!
Of course I’d give anything to mend or cure Samuel. But things like this does make me think that at least Sam doesn’t have a clue about the ignorance and prejudice in this world. He will only know and understand love and affection.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be brought up by parents who would accept anyone, whatever shape, colour or gender. As long as they were a nice person, they were always welcome in our home. I grew up knowing that I could bring home anyone for them to meet and they wouldn’t mind. It sounds funny, but that always gave me a real feeling of freedom. My husband could have been a black woman and they wouldn’t have minded.
We have one relative who does mind about these things. They make comments now and again which highlight their, in my opinion, out of date views and prejudices. If Samuel was a child who was aware of things and understood the world around him I’d have no choice but to insist that they keep their comments to themselves when he was around.
I can’t shield Samuel from his condition and what he goes through every day. But at least I know that he will never understand just how negative the world can be. He wont understand about violence and wars and how we seem determined to hurt each other. He wont understand about famine. He wont understand how cruel we can be. How this big world isn’t just full of love, but prejudice and hate.
Sometimes I wish I was like Samuel and only thought this world was just filled with love and cuddles.