How Humans See Us

It always amazes me how easily we are able to make our way thru a large group of humans. It is like they do not see us, but at the last second, they step out of the way. It is usually the more sensitive of the humans and I’ve often wondered if they are able to sense ghosts and other undead creatures as well.
We are perfectly able to go about in daylight, but there are some who will notice and stare, and darkness makes it easier. Some will whisper to their companions, urging them out of our way. This is only if they are standing, of course. On the subways and buses, when there are no available seats, the ones who notice us usually pretend that they have not: they look away as if meeting our eyes would cause a compulsion to stand; others pretend to sleep, or read. Those that do offer us a seat make a big deal of it. I’ve had arms sweep over the seat needing only a bow to complete the picture. They like to act as if they have done an act of bravery, “Look! I have acknowledged One and am giving up this seat of my own free will!” Still others will give up their seat and then proceed to whisper to me how someone they love, someone close to them, is like us and how it happened. Some will even ask for my story. But even these humans do not meet my eyes.
Who are we? Well, most of us started just like you. A lot of us grew up, fell in love, had children. We did not choose our way of life, our way of being. I think it is safe to say almost all of us would give anything to go back to the way we were. Before. I am one of those. My son will be eleven on Monday and the time has passed so quickly, yet I regret how much I am unable to do for him since my… Change. Mine was caused by my son’s dad. Others the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Others simply have crappy genes.
While a lot of us have changed our diet to help adjust to our new form, some still eat as they did. We have learned that it makes others uncomfortable to see us so we are not so much hiding as trying to ease the discomfort of those around us.
As there are things we can no longer do for ourselves, we often need a human to do these things for us. But only if it is of that humans own free will. We do not force others to take care of us. For a lot of us, admitting that we need to rely on someone else, a human, is too much to bear, and we simply do without.
I mentioned my son. He says I am, “the best parent in this world and every other” and I wonder about those “other” worlds. Is there a world in which we are the majority and not the minority? If so, how do we eat, who makes our clothes? And while my son may overlook my many faults, I am all too aware of them. We live in the United States, yet my disabilities are what make me stand alone, and apart. We, those of us with physical disabilities and those with mental disabilities (I’m sure having physical disabilities is enough to bring on mental ones), are like vampires. Pariahs. Lepers in a modern day world that has not seen a leper in an age. People see us walking, limping, relying on a cane, walker, or in a wheelchair, and they act as if it is something one can catch. No, my silly human, I do not bring my son’s dad around so he can pull you into a chokehold and slam your spine on his knee. Others have not brought their genetics, their accidents, their immune systems to make you like us. We are an impotent group and we mean you no harm. If anything, most of us wish for you to never know our pain, our loneliness, our loss.
But we wouldn’t mind your seat.

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