SPAIN Miguel

We were across the street from Miguel, having dinner at the Old Shangai restaurant. His parents were standing next to him, having drinks with friends, as is the custom in Bilbao.

Miguel’s only toy, a little racing car, was tied to his wheelchair so that he wouldn’t lose it. Miguel looked about 7 or 8 years old.

Miguel reminded me of my brother at that age.

I thought about walking over and saying hello. But thought of how protective my mother was and how little English his parents would speak. They would surely think I am a lunatic.

They couldn’t speak English, but their friends could understand a little. With gestures and simple English I explained that my brother was like Miguel and that I wanted to say hello to him. With their permission.

Once they understood, they opened their circle with pleasure, let me in and introduced Miguel to me. They even picked up the little racing car and called his attention to me. Like proud parents they wanted to show off.

Miguel had freckles and clear, green eyes that when it eventually settled on me, were friendly. He was happy, loved.

I said, Hola, and he smiled at me. It moved me.

I sat with him for a few seconds, made sure he saw me smile then, said ‘Adios’.

Miguel waved at me.

I thanked his parents and left.

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