When I was 6, I knew I wanted to be a singer. To be specific, I wanted to be a Vietnamese singer. I grew up listening to the music, and Vietnamese karaoke was a big hit during my childhood years. Unfortunately for me, it just wasn’t meant to be. I never got the big break I wished for. So no, I don’t currently sing for a living. Nonetheless, I am able to regularly live out my dreams.
Last night, while working a register at work, my husband was high-fived by an intellectually disabled young man who was excited about his mother purchasing cookies. “Cookies! Yeah!” he said, beaming at my husband, who also proclaimed his excitement for cookies. The young man had to have been in his mid to late teens, and he waved at my daughter and me in a friendly fashion as well.
“You’re lucky he didn’t try to kiss you!” remarked the girl working opposite my husband. “He did that to me the other day.” She rolled her makeup-caked eyes as if it were devastating news, something we could all console her about, when all I wanted to do was adolescently roll my eyes back at her. This young man had much more verve, much more love for his life, than she likely ever will. He will never be as bored as she proclaimed, never complain about the rain as she had done; he was bursting with far too much joy for such things.
I understand unwanted affection. I was attacked as a child by an intellectually disabled boy at daycare when I was four years old. I remember getting the shots afterward, the fear I’ve felt toward men, and I don’t like to be touched without my permission. Personal space is incredibly important to me.