If you have been here before, you may already know that Quirky is autistic, but more importantly she is beautiful, creative, and unfailing kind in her simple way. To her the world is black and white, and those middle shades of grey do not exist. When she speaks, her words are few and she often struggles to weave them into fabrics of conversation, but they are always spoken without malice. I think it this, more than anything, that left me struggling to catch my breath long enough to help her catch hers.
In what was to be a way for her to open up and meet others girls with interests similar to her own, girls who love Stars Wars Movies to Comic Book Superheroes, she found herself face to face with the blatant selfishness of a bully, who chose to bring her down in a most hateful way. In short, she found not girls with words of kindness, not girls focused on their similarities, but instead found herself excluded, the butt of the joke, and on the receiving end of foul words expressed in ignorance. To make matters worse, she was at what we had always considered a sanctuary, a safe place to join and belong, the library. I had anticipated picking up Quirky, with smiles as she spoke of her favorites things, but instead found her struggling to hold tears. We spent the ride home, talking, and as the truth of what happened came pouring out of her so did her tears, and by the time bedtime arrived and the evening had been spent snuggled together watching her favorite show, she had seemed to have let it go...forgotten. I on the other hand still felt that pain.
The next day my mind was still focused on that pain, as I sat in the middle of the Barnes and Noble Cafe, putting my thoughts together to create a post on the dark side of human nature, I found myself the witness of a simple act of kindness. An employee of the store, Sarah, going beyond simple customer service to help a young woman of special needs. In her speech, and her actions, the young woman reminded me so much of Quirky that I felt as if I was glimpsing her future, the one where I might not always be there to protect and to sooth. I found myself drenched in that light of kindness and smiling despite myself. It took but a moment, but it restored my faith, and left me with the hope that in Quirky's life she will find herself in company more with the Sarahs of the world and find herself lifted up much more than she is ever brought down.