This short story inspired by DP Weekly Writing Challenge: That’s Absurd
The water lapped gently against the boat. It was hypnotic.
Simultaneously the fishing pole slipped from his hands and he heard the wail of a loon off in the distance.
“Come swim with me!”
Before Stanley could gather his thoughts and realize the playful invite came from the loon, he was swimming effortlessly beneath the water.
“Keep up!” The loon called over his shoulder “We have fish to catch!”
“But…” Stanley stumbled over his words. “How?”
“No time to talk.” The loon circled Stanley. The confused child tried to turn with each revolution the loon made. “If you want fish for dinner you must focus and swim!”
Stanley released his apprehension and swam. He glided through the water with ease, faster and smoother than he knew possible. He and the loon circled each other as they propelled forward.
“No!” Stanley tried to raise his hands to stop the loon that swam directly at him, the loon’s beak was open to its fullest, Stanley had become the fish. Stanley had become dinner!
The young boy felt himself gently rock back and forth. “Stan, come on, you need to wake up, if you want fish for dinner we need to get out on the lake.”
Stanley opened his eyes. “Dad?”
The Twisted Man
I will admit I struggled with this one a bit. I kept imagining a twisted tree and for that reason I guess my eyes were closed to other ideas. This morning as I drove my dog to the vet I saw this twisted man in front of a retail store. I did a few U-turns so I could look at him a little closer and snap some pictures of him. So here it is….my submission for the weekly photo challenge – Twist.
I have spent the past 28 years working and “teaching” people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. I currently teach adults that live in the community to manage their own finances and avoid exploitation. However, over the years I have taught everything from brushing teeth to operating difficult machinery. I like to think I have touched many lives and instilled a bit of independence in each person throughout the years. Often times when I am teaching “non-disabled” people about people with Intellectual disabilities I stress the fact that they are able to learn…the difference is it will likely happen a bit slower. For this reason it may take years to see significant progress. But progress will be made. I have always enjoyed looking back on where a person started and acknowledging how far they have travelled.
I think it is hard to know if we made a difference in another person’s life. The first group of guys I started working with in 1986 have all died now and sadly I had not seen many of them since I moved out of state 15 years ago. Did they ever think about the things we did together? Did they remember the hours upon hours we trained together so they could ride the city bus independently? I don’t know and sadly I will never know.
However, I do know one of the reasons I have stuck around for all these years is because they taught me. The people in my care taught me that unconditional love is possible. Those that enjoyed arguing with me, taught me to choose my battles. The people that moved at a pace slower than mine, taught me to put my hands behind my back and wait for them to complete a task in their time. The people that asked me every few minutes what we would have for dinner, taught me patience. They all gained my respect and they all taught me what it meant to deserve respect.
My entire professional life I have been in the role of teacher, mentor, and coach. But the role I have cherished the most has been that of student!
This post was inspired by The Daily Post – Weekly Writing Challenge/ Student, Teacher