Sunday, February 19, 2012

Who Can Tell It Best?

            "Well, what did you think she was going to do?! Do you really think she can tell the difference?"
            "Do you honestly think that little of your own daughter?"
            "Where do you get off telling me about my own daughter?"
            "CUT! Ladies, that was pitiful. Are we not trying?" How could he believe these actresses, pampered and pretty, could emulate any argument of significance? Would his masterpiece be an infomercial? A soap opera?

            "Cara, try to act like you're sensitive to your daughter's disability in every way, maybe a little over the top? Can we do that? And Ann Marie, can you pretend this is a child with a disability, one that is disrupting your classroom and that you can't handle? DO NOT switch around the roles, huh? Got it?" Cursory nods of the head with blank eyes mean they got it, right?
            "Alright, TAKE 4!"

            "What did you think she would do? I know my daughter, okay? Do you really think she can't tell the difference between herself and the other students?"
            "Don't you think she can rise above it?"
            "Do you think you could rise above it?"
            "CUT, cut. Stop acting like your acting."

            Did I choose the wrong actors? Perhaps I didn't brief them enough? Maybe if they met Ally? Could I bring Ally in here? Could she tell her story? "How about this: I'm going to go home and spend some time with my daughter and we'll pick this up again tomorrow?"
            The actresses both looked relieved. I get how they wouldn't get it, but do I?

            If I didn't know anyone with Down's, would I get it? Did Ally even understand how it affected her? Did she understand about my writing and directing? Wasn't I doing the right thing, trying to make people understand?
            "Well, isn't this a sight!"
            "Ally and I are allowed to have a little fun while Daddy is at work, right Ally?"
            "Mhm," Ally never jumped up to say hello anymore. Would it be every day she stared deeper and deeper into a workbook or art project or puzzle and avoid my eyes more and more? Or maybe it was puberty coming on?
            "Did you have a day at work, dear?"
            "Don't I always?"
            "Not so good then?"
            "I don't get how they don't get it."
            "Yes, you do." And wasn't she right, my dearest wife? Wasn't I being unfair? Wasn't it unfair of me to assume these young girls could emulate an inexperienced and under-trained elementary school teacher and an overprotective mother of a child who slept less than three hours a night, still wet the bed at twelve, and couldn't imitate without direct instructions? Was that an obvious answer or what?
            "Ally, sweetheart, do you want to tell a story tomorrow? Go with Daddy to work?"
            "What story?" Was that a glance up?
            "Do you remember Mrs. Armstrong last year?"
            "I didn't like her. Why'd she have to place me with the baby class?"
            "Do you remember how you felt? Do you want to tell the story?"
            "Maybe. Are there snacks?"
            "Will there be snacks? Always."
            "Then why'd you even ask?" Do anyone else's crinkled eyes 

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