When I was at University, I had a friend confined to a wheelchair after a car accident years before. One Friday night, we were trying to decide what to do to entertain ourselves. I looked in the newspaper and found a movie that looked as if it might fit the bill. It was on at the cinema just up the road. I passed the paper to Helen, but she shook her head.
“No, we can’t go to that one.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because there’s a couple of steps at the front of that cinema.”
I looked at her blankly. In reply, she looked at her wheelchair. At last the penny dropped.
“Oh!” I said, “I’d forgotten about the chair.” And I honestly had. But Helen’s face lit up with delight.
The other day I realised just how she felt at that moment. I’d taken Sausage to the ophthalmologist for her regular check-up. One of her eyes tends to look in a different direction from the other, especially when she’s tired. It doesn’t affect her eyesight, except that she has no binocular vision. So, in the doctor’s words, she’ll never be an A-grade cricketer. I was telling all this to someone at work, a lady who knows Sausage well. “But I don’t have binocular vision either,” I said, “and it’s never been a great problem.”
“So it’s probably genetic?” she said.
I looked at her and waited for the silliness of what she’d just said to hit her. Then we both burst into laughter. But it really did make my day. For that moment, someone forgot the ‘adopted’ thing and Sausage became as truly my daughter as she feels to me. It was a really good feeling.