Friday 15 June 2012: Not what I planned.
You know those days where absolutely nothing goes as planned? It's been like that the last few days. Today in particular.
The plan was to blip a photo of Master Five Year Old with his friends from a cupcake afternoon for his class. There were quite a few very cute/funny photos from the afternoon. 90 minutes of 35 five/six year olds, in a park, running rampant, fueled by God only knows how many cupcakes each. You see why that was the plan for today's blip.
However, with it being winter, and rather cold, I needed to stop by one of my local cafes for a nice hot chocolate to defrost myself a little. And this is where I met the amazing man in this photo.
I've seen him there a few times - always making the most beautiful wire sculptures. Very socially awkward, and never able to maintain eye-contact with someone for more than a moment. I had come to the conclusion that he may have been on the Autistic spectrum. I felt bad for making that assumption, but by no means did I think any less of him - I saw him as an artist above all else... With a delightful smile when he finished a part of whichever sculpture he was working on.
He was making a scale model of the Auschwitz fence this afternoon, and Master Five Year Old, being Mr. Artsy-Pants was intrigued. Instantly bombarded the man with questions and compliments. I could see he struggled with the conversation - but, my darling boy was being very much over-enthused and in-your-face. But he handled it well. MFYO hushed for a moment when his hot chocolate arrived, and the man tried to make eye-contact with me. Ben had absolutely made his day - by seeing him no different to any other person, and treating him like he was "normal". He could not remember the last time he was treated as anything less than weird, as, he is in fact quite severely Autistic and cannot live independently. He can do things independently, but still needs care from his parents. My heart broke for him - he's so talented, and tries so hard to fit in, but people still treat him as a lesser.
I offered to photograph his sculptures if he ever wants to display them online - free of charge, of course - which he seemed to struggle with. He's grown accustomed to people being rude and unhelpful, and it makes him feel as though he's not human. He thanked MFYO and I for making him smile properly for the first time in years, and kept eye-contact for a few seconds.
I kissed his cheek, and told him he is more human than the rest of us, and thanked HIM for his time pushing though his difficulties because of MFYO's interest.
It was one of those slightly overwhelming experiences.