Glimpses of Mabel

I see her in the supermarket, eight years old with straight sandy blonde hair.  She is next to her father, peeking over the freezer bin.  She has the unmistakable face of a child with Down Syndrome, something I am acutely aware of now.  I look up at the man beside her- he is not Chris and his daughter is not Mabel.  But for an instant she was.

I walk into the library and choose the door on the right.  The one on the left is has the blue handicapped placard on its center.  I see a little girl, five years old, head down hands out, pushing against that door.  Her tongue sticks out of the corner of her mouth in little-kid exertion against the heavy door that is no match for her little frame.  I blink and she is gone.

I walk down the bike path with a friend, bikes whizzing by, an occasional jogger and many other walkers out enjoying the day.  I see the mom walking with her teenaged son, another face revealing the features of Down Syndrome.  I see a teenaged girl in a loose dress trudging along beside them.  I smile at their puppy love.  My friend notices the boy too and squeezes my hand.  I take a deep breath in and the girl fades away.

I walk to my bedroom and eye the open door to the guest room.  I see a crib in the corner with a mobile hanging over it.  I lean over the railing and spy a chubby pink baby, legs in cast, arms flailing, hair matted from a hot slumber.  She looks up at me and her eyes sparkle as a smile takes over her lips, recognizing her mother.  And then I am back in the hallway, looking through the open door at a dresser strategically placed where the crib would have gone.  I turn away and continue on my day.

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