Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There's a difference between cannot and choosing not to

The little girl was maybe six. She sat at the back of the bus and on her mother's lap but didn't want to be there. She wanted daddy.
So she called once, twice and three times for him but not to him. "Let me go, I want to sit by daddy," she said, as she and her mother struggled to determine who would win this tiff. 
Dad was four rows up. He never moved. He never said a word. 
The mother tried to calm her daughter, though she said nothing. 
The people, except for one man, squirmed. He could read their minds -- 'dad, do something!' 
The father never reacted. The man knew why.
The little girl finally wriggled free; and the mother tried to say something, perhaps trying to call her daughter back to her, but only a grunting kind of sound came out. 
The girl made it to her father. She touched his shoulder. He never spoke as he turned to her. But he lovingly picked her up and sat her down beside him. 
The people on the bus were relieved. One mumbled something that sounded like "about time." 
But only the little girl heard. Her parents did not because her parents cannot.  
The one man who understood smiled at the mother. Her facial expression made it clear what she was trying to say -- "thank you." He winked. He knew what she meant.

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