So often people think that people with a disability are not capable of having a romantic relationship nor that they desire one. I have always been curious about that. Why would anyone think that just because a person has a disability they don’t have the ability for emotional connections? So many times I have gotten it wrong, seen something that I thought was there but really wasn’t. I got a taste of what it felt like to feel special for a moment in time, only to have it disappear. Leaving me to wonder if it was real or not. Mom always said to me that in order to meet new friends I had to allow myself to be open and let my guard down. Remember that things take time. She also reminded me about how I met my friends, they were the ones who approached me, and they wanted to get to know me. That is the type of person I needed to meet in college, someone who wants to know me. Someone like Olaf, who likes warm hugs, is kind, gentle, and outgoing. Olaf sees the world through the eyes of a child with all the curiosity, wonder, and acceptance of a child. He is always asking "why" because he wants to learn more. He understands the importance of enjoying the things around us and not letting life pass us by. He knows that love is putting someone else's needs before yours. I love Olaf!
As soon as I stopped trying to force friendships it happened. I didn’t realize it but he had always said hello to me before class. This particular day as we were waiting for class to start, he approached me in the hallway. He asked if he could drive my chair for me and away we went. It was a wild ride through the hallways. Class started and I remembered all those things my mother had told me. Wait for someone to approach me.
Things take time. After class, I asked for his number, I figured that was enough time. He took my phone and put his number into my phone. I was shocked, he actually gave it to me.
This could be special!
For the first time, in a long time, I came home happier than I had been since starting college. I was so excited, no guy had ever just taken off with me and my chair, much less given me their phone number. Except for when I asked Jake to the prom. He was so sweet.
The change in my demeanor was instantly noticeable. I could not wipe the smile from my face. I finally had a friend, a guy friend. No longer would I mope around being nostalgic about high school; college was ten times better. I didn’t even think about the people I had so longingly thought about just the day before. I was happy to be part of college life. I chatted up a storm with mom about this guy and wondered to myself if it would be something more. I was smitten. Later that same evening he texted me. My heart sang, and we texted back and forth for over an hour. It was exciting, cool, and scary all at the same time. Was he flirting with me? No guy had ever texted me let alone for an hour. We talked about Chinese food, Amerita ( I was lost about this), what classes we were going to take, and being the last person on earth. I felt like I had known him forever. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to sleep. My mind was racing.
Is he flirting?
The next day I got a wake-up text. I was busy with appointments all day and couldn't text him back. He was my main topic of conversation with everyone I met that day. Later in the day, he asked if I wanted to hang out. OMG!
He is flirting with me I thought. This was so cool, a friend and possible boyfriend. I gotta text my girlfriends, they will know how to handle this. Unfortunately, my friends did not answer. I had to do this one by myself. I told him I was at the Mall and was going to a play later that evening by my house. It was an elementary school play, no big deal. He kept asking if I was going to be at the mall all day. I coyly told him I could be, hinting that I was interested in spending time with him. He didn’t get it. He suggested that maybe he would go with me to the play. A date? I could hardly believe it, he wanted to spend time with me. We continued to text. I couldn’t even remember how upset and lonely I had been feeling just a few days before.
Is this a date?
We agreed to meet at the Elementary School by 7. I got there early and saved us seats. He got lost and arrived after the play had started. He bombarded me with questions as soon as he sat down. He wanted to know what the play was about, my favorite color, and what kind of movies I liked. I hate that, I was trying to watch the play. It was corny and not very good but I was totally into seeing it. I had such fond memories of this Elementary School and my favorite teacher was the director. I was excited to introduce him to her after the show. All he wanted to do was chat during the play and drive my chair. This was not the time or the place. After the show, I suggested we go get something to eat. He gave me a lame excuse that he had no gas money and couldn’t stay. My heart sank, this was not how I had envisioned this evening going. He surprised me by asking me to dinner another time, just the two of us. That’s when mom intervened and said she would have to get to know him better before she trusted him with me alone.
I understood where she was coming from. It took a long time for my friends to be with just me and not my mom too. I need help doing everything, including eating. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I can order my food, I just can eat it without help. He seemed to understand. He took me on another wild ride through the hallways and out into the parking lot. He hugged me goodbye and it was over. Another sleepless night for me. I texted my friends again. I need advice. Crickets.
All I wanted was a picture
Finally, I heard from my girlfriend. She demanded all the details, his full name, and wanted to see a picture. The problem was, I didn’t have a picture and he doesn’t have any social media accounts. She can’t stalk him or find out anything more than I tell her about him. She told me to ask him for a picture of himself. That seemed like a good idea and a reasonable request. We agreed to facetime each other with the details the next day. I once again got a morning text. My heart sang! I texted him but noticed he had called me, so I called him back. I asked him if he would send me a picture so I could show my friend.
There was an awkward silence, then he agreed to send a picture, then he changed his mind. He explained he trusted me to describe him to my friends. I protested and reminded him that my vision isn’t the best and a picture would be better. He said, “Just tell them I’m real by my voice”. What is that supposed to mean? I agreed though and we ended the conversation because I had homework to do.
Monday came and went with no good morning text and only a one-word answer to my question about how his day had been. This is odd, I thought to myself. I’m confused, does he still want to be my friend? Is he mad at me because I asked for a picture? What happened? Why are things so different now? So I decided to go with my newfound confidence and ask him. Did I offend you in some way? No was his reply, he was just busy.
Hmm, really? Everyone tells me they are busy, but actually, they are just blowing me off. I decided to write it off. Maybe I was making something out of nothing, or was I? After all, I would see him on Tuesday in class, and everything would be explained. Not quite, we exchanged hellos in class the next day but again that was it. What happened to that guy that I had a deep, exciting conversation with just a few short days ago?
Gone but not forgotten
This friendship didn’t last. I wondered if it was me or my disability that scared him away. Then I figured out it was neither. It was him and how he thought it would be fun to drive my chair like a racecar and help me. In life, there are many types of people that will come in and out of your life. It is important to realize you are worthy and deserve to be happy and have the exhilaration of a new relationship. I wouldn’t change much about this incident except maybe I wouldn’t have immediately gotten my hopes up. This young man had not only physically taken me for a wild ride, he had emotionally taken me on one as well. I once read that friendship begins with a simple talk. It blooms into a long deep conversation. The next thing you know, you begin to care so much. I can’t wait to meet the person that wants me for me and makes my heart go pitter-patter. It is those moments that make life worth living. I can't wait to meet my Olaf!
Thank you for reading until the end!
This is the view from my wheelchair, where miracles can make a difference. Always Strive for the Impossible. Come back next week to see the beauty of getting your hair done and hear more about my experiences and The View From My Wheelchair.