The Road to Freedom
Why did I come to this world as a disabled person, a person who could not speak correctly with the same balance as a drunk, banned from everyday activities such as running, playing outside, riding a bike, and talking to new people? I felt like a prisoner in my own home, confined and restricted to watching television and playing Nintendo.
It is Friday morning, 4th of July weekend. My father and brother are strapping the Quad Runners to the red trailer. Meanwhile, my mother and sister are putting the luggage in the car while I am playing Nintendo as usual.
I really hated going to Rosarito, Mexic. It is like a nightmare to me. At the beach house there is nothing to do for me; the thought of no Nintendo and a television that received less than three channels really makes my life more miserable. My family loves going to Rosarito because they have a good time. My father and brother go out riding on the motorbikes, and as always I have to stay with the girls.
Well, I have no choice; forcedly I hop in the car. The two-hour drive seemed to take eternity. Several times during the journey I felt like opening the door and jumping out of the car. Two hours later we finally arrived and rested for the remaining of the day.
The next day, which was the 4th of July, we all wake up early and go out for breakfast. After breakfast we drive back to the beach house and sit around for a while. Around , my father says he wants to ride the Quad Runners to the beach. I do not feel too excited about it, but it is better than sitting in the house. The only problem is the fear of falling I always have when riding on the back with my father.
The roads are stoned-paved; therefore, the half-mile drive to the beach is a bumpy one. When we arrive to the empty beach, I jump off the bike and sit on the warm sand. My father and brother take off racing until I lost sight of them. The only living things are the seagulls flying around in circles making noise and bombing the beach. The bright sun hitting my face is making me sleepy, but the loud thunder-like sounds from the huge waves along with the cool breeze kept me awake. After daydreaming for a while, I see my father getting closer to me. Suddenly he stops in front of me and turns off the motorbike. He looks at me and says in an assuring voice, “Try driving it I am sure you are able.” At that moment my mind goes blank; I am trying to make out what my father has said to me. It is the first time someone is really allowing me to try something new. “Come on I will ride with you do not be scared,” said my father. I get up and slowly hop on the motorbike. My heart is pumping at a rate of 1000 beats per minute. I feel nervous and scare but at the same time excited. After a few instructions on how to operate the Quad Runner, my father starts the motor and sits on the back. I nervously put my sweaty hands on handles and slowly push the accelerator with my right thumb. The bike slowly starts moving, getting more speed with each passing second. Then with my left foot I shift into higher gears until we reach the full speed of sixty miles per hour. With the cold air blowing in my face, my fears slowly vanish while my confidences increase. Each passing minute, my life is completely changing like a comet that leaves a trail of particles. Rivers of joy flow through my body as I drove through the sand. Minutes later my father tells me to stop. He gets off with a big smile on face and says, “You are on your own. Go on fly like an eagle.”
Fifteen years later as I reflect back in my life, I think to myself how a small event can change a life. I was like the eagle that was born in a chicken nest. The eagle that always wanted to fly like the birds that he saw in the sky. The eagle had the capability to fly, but in his mind he was a chicken that could not fly. How our own mind can put many obstacles, blinds us from the beauty of the challenges we all have to face in life. Obstacles will always be there, but now my disability will not keep me from overcoming them. Life is not static it is dynamic: it is taking on new challenges where there is everlasting joy. We only need to open our eyes, closed by our ignorance, and lift our heads: then we will see life conquer death, joy conquer sadness, love conquer hatred, truth conquer falsehood; but above all we will see ourselves conquer any obstacle. If our eyes are closed, we cannot see and consequently we are blind; and the blind can only imagine reality. Disability is not a punishment; it is a place against the stream where humanity receives the strongest pushes and resources for a world based on solidarity, trust and love.
To be continued...