The Human Parts Open Thread: Letter to a Stranger
Human Parts

I see you most days on the early morning commuter train into London. You are below average height, with thick glasses like the bottoms of milk bottles. Your knee joints won’t bend for you, so your gait rocks you at speed from side to side as you work hard to keep up with your able-bodied companions. But it’s your smart blue suit, shock of sandy hair and ready smile that I notice most. I suppose we both had the day off today, because I noticed that smile as I walked to the park with my little girl — Violet — and you grinned at her and I. But that wasn’t what Violet saw first. She laughed, stared and asked in astounded glee, “Why is that man walking funny?!” And then she mimicked you, still giggling. I stopped her as soon as I could, scared you would hear or see. I told her that mocking someone and laughing at them was unkind; that it would make them very sad. She asked me why you walked like that and I told her I didn’t know, but that sometimes people’s bodies don’t work like they should. She was silent. She let everything sink in — her actions, my stern admonishment. Then the tears came and she sobbed quietly. At three years old, it’s a big lesson to learn — just one of many more to come. She is such a big-hearted, generous little girl and she was ashamed. Violet wants you to know she is very sorry.