‘It was emotional sitting next to Dad. I asked him why he cried the whole time.’ Lulu and I were standing outside the theatre, waiting for Delph to come out. The foyer was bursting with people.
I turned to Lulu. ‘So, what did your dad say?’
‘He said the reason he cried was because all these kids dancing tonight are the same kids who are usually the lost ones at school. The kids who everyone ignores. He said he cried because now it was their time to shine. Krystian cried too.’
I looked over at my cousin, Krystian, Chloe’s dad. Indeed, his eyes seemed a bit red-rimmed. Krystian is a well-known crier though. Movies, adverts. None of us were surprised he’d shed some tears.
‘Did you not cry, Mum?’
I pursued my lips. Famous hard-faced, non-crier. ‘To be honest, I was feeing too happy for the dancers to cry for them. What about you? Did you cry tonight, Lu?’
Lulu nodded. ‘I did when I thought about all the disabled kids at school. The ones who all hang out together but no one else says hey to them. This performance made me realise how sad that is. Because they were beautiful tonight. They looked like they were having the best time.’
I peered at her. Lulu had a look on her face I hadn’t seen for a long time. An open look. Like she had come out of her teenage, self-conscious shell. And I think also, for one of the first times, she was proud of her sister for being disabled. I know that sounds strange. I mean, Lulu is impractical sometimes… and, as her PE teacher said recently, she throws like she’s throwing a sandwich. But Lulu’s got insight. She understands things most people don’t.
Able-bodied kids usually grow up to have lives which are completely independent of each other. They can choose to be close… or not. Disability changes that. It just does, and not even by the physical, practical things that you do for another person. It’s the dynamic – the expectations and the roles.
Parents sign up for this by deciding to have children. Before they have them, they effectively sign the childbirth lottery agreement. But siblings? Siblings never get one shred of choice. Their fate is destiny’s alone. And watching Lulu now – it seemed like a weight had just been lifted from her.
The dancers began to come out from the theatre dressing room. All of us; their family and friends began to cheer for them. The dancers looked completely proud… and completely cool… and completely at home.
Chloe and Lu found Delphine and threw their arms around her.
‘Hey Delph, did you get to keep the costume?’ Chloe asked.
Delph shook her head ruefully. ‘They took it back.’
Ohhh. She really wanted that costume. ‘Oh well, never mind,’ Chloe soothed.
‘Hey Delph,’ Lulu said, ‘you were awesome tonight by the way.’
Delph’s expression lit up. ‘Thanks Lu. Did you like my solo?’
Lu rolled her eyes. ‘No, I didn’t like your solo – I loved it.’
Delph’s eyes shined at her sister’s. ‘Thanks.’
Lulu punched her playfully. ‘Guess what – Dad cried almost the whole time. I sat next to him.’
‘Yeah, and Krystian did.’
’No surprise there!’ Chloe broke in.
They laughed. Lulu continued, ‘Mum didn’t cry at all. Isn’t that typical?’
Delph smiled. ‘Yeah, typical. Shall we go home now?’
The girls smiled at her. Arm-in-arm – they were a true trio. ‘Yep, let’s go.’