So, Twinkster and I are at The Big W-M. Getting some groceries, looking at DVD's, picking up an prescription at the Pharmacy - why, it's darn near like one of those happy advertisements you see on television, without the yellow smiley faces bouncing around, and with a sparkly little girl in a wheelchair.
As usual, Twinkle and I have a dialog running; we're talking, giggling, having as much fun as we can without actually getting kicked out of the store. She's zipping off ahead of me, trying to drag me to the makeup counters to plead for new lip gloss, or over to clothing to see if she can wheedle a new swimsuit. She darts over to the crafts department, to pick out some buttons for a new dress, and then before I can stop her, she's off again, and I'm pushing the cart behind her as fast as I can.
So, it's all good, right? We are having one of those rare days, where being in the chair isn't an issue, and for once, I can look at her in that wheelchair without feeling like my heart has been torn out. It's a great, summery July day - we even joke about taking the wheelchair through the carwash, to shine it up.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a kid - just this short, dumpy, nasty little kid - walks up to Twink, leans in, and says
"I feel sorry for you"
His mother grabs him by the shoulder, and begins to propel him off to the left. I look at Twink's face - she's stunned. All the color has drained from her face, her eyes are full of tears, and she is fighting hard not to cry here in front of everyone.
I spin around, and grab the mothers sleeve, and say "I feel sorry for YOU. She might be in a wheelchair, but she isn't a narrow-minded bigot like your kid".
The mother shrugs me off, and now half-running, pushes the fat little monster ahead of her towards the door. She glances back twice to see if we are still there, or following her, and they disappear into the swirling crowds in the parking lot.
Twinkle is devastated. Our happy afternoon is gone - the jokes and the fun are forgotten in the wake of one nasty little bastard, and his condescending remark.
I'm still seeing red.