1/26/2012

Sensitivity Impaired

Story Sent in by Marc:

In one of my early online conversations with Debbie, she mentioned that she liked carnations, their variety of color, and all that. Because I thought it would be nice, I picked up a small bouquet of them right before our first date, which was to be at a small neighborhood restaurant.

I gave them to her upon meeting her, and she seemed truly flattered. She thanked me several times, and then we went inside to eat.

As we slipped into conversation, she asked me, "Have I told you about my brother at all?"

"Not much aside from the fact that you have one, and that he's ill?"

She nodded. "Cerebral palsy. He's at Marren Treatment Center. He loves carnations, too. I think it's the colors. I was going to visit him after dinner."

After dinner, according to the plans that Debbie and I had made, we were supposed to go to another place that was having live music. Perhaps she had forgotten.

I asked, "Are we still going to Soft Note?"

She said, "Oh! I forgot that. Um, sure, we can still go. Can we hit Marren first? It won't take long."

"I can just meet you at Soft Note. I don't want to impose or interrupt the time you're spending with your brother."

"You won't be imposing! I just want to stop in, show him the flowers you gave me, and then we can go."

Sounded quick, and also sounded important to her. I didn't mind the side trip, and so I followed her in my car to the treatment center.

Her brother, Paul, to put it gently, had a pretty severe case of CP. He was in a wheelchair and couldn't seem to move without some difficulty, although he definitely reacted with some excitement when he saw his sister with the flowers. She handed them to him, and he swung them back and forth, like a baseball bat, until he became tired.

"He really likes them," Debbie said, "Would you mind if he kept them?"

"Not at all." They were Debbie's flowers, and she was free to do what she wanted with them. Giving them to her sick brother, I thought, was a sweet gesture.

We had been there for about a half-hour when I asked, "Did you want to head to Soft Note soon?"

She said, "In just a little bit. I haven't been here to see him in over a year."

A realization hit me. I asked, "So you decided to see him the night of our date?"

She replied, "Well, yeah. The flowers reminded me of him, and we were in the area." She then postured her forearms upright against her chest, rocked back and forth, and said, "Durr! Durr! Durr!" in what I guessed was meant to be an impersonation of her brother.

It was odd that not only had she not visited her sick, local brother in over a year, but that of all the times she chose to visit, it was in the middle of our date.

She went back to filling her brother in all about her life, and he occasionally swung the flowers around, shaking off leaves and petals, bending them in every direction. She laughed at that, and a few other things that he did, including a glance at me each time as if to ask, "Isn't he ridiculous?"

We had been there for 45 minutes. I stood up and said, "I'll meet you at Soft Note."

She replied, "Okay. I'm going to see if I can take Paul with me."

"Take him... I'm sorry, what?"

She slipped past me and walked out of the room, leaving me alone with Paul. I told him that it was nice to meet him, but he didn't respond.

Debbie returned and told me that even though she was related, the place wouldn't let her check him out. She said, "I'm going to call my parents to see if one of them will come down here now and authorize a release, even if just to come to Soft Note. I really think Paul would love it there. Durr, durr."

"I'm sure he would. Meet you there, then. Maybe."

I went myself to Soft Note and very much enjoyed the music. Debbie texted me twice, once to ask, "Can't reach my parents. If they agree to let him out, can u come back here and help me stuff him in the car?" and the second time to say, "Nevermind. I'm breaking him out of here tonight."

Debbie herself never made it to Soft Note, and I suppose I forgot to ever reach out to her again.

9 comments:

  1. So sad for the parents...a son with Cerebral Palsy, and a daughter with mental retardation.

    Personally, I would have left the first time she mocked him. Durr...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, this is quite sad. I can't believe she hadn't visited her brother in over a year. Poor parents indeed; their "healthy" child is a selfish, insensitive moron.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This touched me in a spot I didn't know existed...sniff

    ReplyDelete
  4. What the fuck is her problem? That's a fair question, right?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wait... teasing the mentally handicapped ISN'T a romantic bonding experience? Crap! I guess I'll have to change my Valentine's Day plans then...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Using a mentally challenged brother to get out of a bad date? I think I've heard this one before.

    Ruprecht, you must leave the cork on the fork.

    Yeah, I've heard that one before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @WD and ToL,

      CP is a neurological condition, but it can cause mental problems - it clearly made Debbie an asshole.

      Delete
  7. You know, if she wanted to get out of the date she could have just said I hate to leave early but I'm afraid I'm too tired to stay. No games, no drama, no manipulation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Where's the fun in that? No foreseeable future in relationship = no consequences for one's actions. Why waste the opportunity?

      Delete

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