When I tell people I'm disabled, they look at me astonished, because from the outside there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with me. Two arms, two legs, I can see about me, I can hear every word that is said , but I am disabled, for though I hear, I do not understand, for though I see, it's all confusion.
You all take for granted the communication you share among yourselves, not realizing it's not just words you use. You flap your arms about, make strange faces, sit in odd positions, inflect your voices in coded fashions. You touch, when you stand you dance a strange dance, and none of it makes sense to me.
I don't like to be touched. I don't like fluorescent lights. I don't like all the confusion of crowds, so many different conversations going on around me until I'm forced by the primitive flight or fight, to run away. Such confusion. How do you make sense of anything?
Although you all look human like me, I feel cut off, lost in an alien world where everyone expects me knows what's going on. I can make out some of what you are all trying to say, if you say it slowly, not too close, and without any gesticulations, facial ticks, body postures, all those non-verbal communications things you use.
Yet you don't see my disability because I'm invisible. I've been called a "blank wall" many times. My conversation is a monologue, carrying only the thoughts I have, without connection to you, though I'm trying to understand.
So it's easier for me to just stay away. Turn down invitations until there aren't any anymore. Closed off in my the world I can understand, taking in information piece meal, tiny bites, from the distant room where I live.
I like alone.
It wasn't always that way. There was another heart in my world at one time, but that heart stopped beating and she is gone, now reduced to a box of ashes, the base chemical residue without water or form or love or gentleness or understanding. Just a pile of nothing. She speaks to me when I sleep sometimes. Nonsensical words of dreams without connections. She was my connection to your world, at least when she was around. Without her, I was back to alone. But she always came home. Then she left and a box was what I was handed. She walks through my dreams now. It is her. I can even smell her hair when she puts her head under my chin.
I like alone.
I don't try to deal with her gone. I'm still waiting for her to come through the door or out of the bathroom or kitchen. But I don't dwell on it when she doesn't anymore. Just dreams.
In the beginning I had my mother. Then I had a little girl I married when we were both too young and stupid. Then there was the tire store where I met her. My life was full for 3 decades and 4. Florida, Texas, and back again.
You all ignore me because I don't fit your idea of disability. It crushes my soul not to be understood or have anyone even trying. It runs counter to everything I've been told about humans in general. Then, again, I'm not human, at least not a human as humans understand the term.
Being alone isn't in it itself a totally bad state to be in. No one bugs you with stupid questions. They just look at me with blank expressions (actually, to me, all your expressions are blank). Then just turn or get up and walk away. Once again invisible. Standing there surrounded by those I can't understand or get close to.
I'm clumsy and awkward. My words trip over each other incoherent. My thoughts twisting around the connections I can never express properly, though I do know the answers.
Alone protects, shields, isolates from pain and loss and never again being touched.
Now old, gray, fading against each sunrise, growing darker at the sunsets. I have had my time and the sun no longer warms me. The sounds of life is a discordant, shrill, spreading into the unknown distant future closing in.
There are so many like me, but for different reasons. In that I'm not alone in that condition only the circumstance. I now choose the loneliness over companionship. I was lucky, in a way of having found a true love, though I never knew it at the time or appreciated until it was empty.
No dreams or wishes, please. Just leave. Leave. Please. Shadows have no need of sunlight or darkness. Just pass by and do not look. My soul left so long ago that I... Don't know. I don't care. Blow it all up. Tear it all apart. It would be a better world and will fill again with goodness when I've...
Some ask me, "Why Xuěbào?" Some ask what it is. It's the Chinese name for the Snow Leopard. Typical of all cats, she is an ambush predator. On the outside I look weak and frightened, and on the inside a big part of me is. But buried deep down, in a place I rarely reveal is a very dark place. That's where she waits. The "Ghost of the Mountains" is another name. She blends in with her surroundings.
I blend in. I'm invisible. No one really looks at me. I'm nothing. Just some old, white guy with a gray beard and ponytail. I don't count. I have nothing worth bothering about. So I just watch. Don't really focus on anything or anyone. But people do fascinate me. All those odd gyrations, facial ticks, strange forced laughs. The are so bland. So ordinary. Such easy prey if anyone was hunting. Though she lies in wait, she's not looking for prey. She only defends. And, like me, she likes alone.
Alone doesn't hurt, because there's no one who can hurt me. Alone doesn't care because there's so very few I care about. Other than them, there's alone. Distant from anything or anyone who could hurt me. Someone tries and there she is, a big surprise.
I try not to intrude unless intruded upon. A distant relation (in mileage not relationship) has started conversation again. I learned some things I didn't want to know, some that anger me and others I could have never seen. She was trying to make contact for someone else. Maybe he knows. I hope one day he’ll understand, but he’ll never truly be close. Too much pain. Too much lost time (I often wonder where lost time goes). My love never waned, but I can't make it right. That one “woman” is a destroyer of love. She even chose that route and succeeded in her mission. And it was all for arrogance.
She's even pushed him away as she did me. Blaming him for her failure and inability to understand anything or anyone different from her norm. She married again and had another just to make the final push final. And all because of a name, a different way of thinking, just different which she hates. I've never really understood hate. Anger, rage, yes, but not hate. Why did she send him away instead of trying to understand. For that I can't forgive her because I wasn't allowed to be there to try and explain. She, and those who made her, built that wall of hate. Terrible, dreadful, final.
To those who won't or can't understand I've given up trying. It's always confused me, this secret talking, of eyes, and faces and bodies. So stop. I'm not here. I do not exist in your universe. But I continue from shadow to shadow. Totally…