Connect Four

When Annabelle learns that her summer camp is traveling to volunteer at a school for children with disabilities, she is scared of what she will think. But what happened was beyond anything she could imagine. Based loosely on a true story.

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3. We Will

When Emily was finished and went to lunch, next, we ate lunch. After lunch, we returned, and I helped a boy named Samuel paint using a headband onto a piece of cardboard which would be pressed onto a t-shirt. It was rewarding to see him smile, and although my hand hurt after holding the cardboard for what felt like ages, it was worth it. And after that, I went over to a girl playing Connect Four. When the instructor finished she said she was going to leave her with me and one of my friends. She looked her in the eyes and pointed her finger: "Now no tricks!" She said with a smile, wagging her finger playfully and walking away after a bit. "She can reach these three. Just follow her eyes, and she'll tell you where to put it if she can't reach it. Okay, Sarah, have fun. Now what is your name?" I responded, Annabelle, and she walked away.

 

We played one game. She won. I tilted back the oversized board so she could see and she smiled. The second game started and I couldn't decided whether I should let her win or not. So I decided against it. I should treat her just like I would any of my other friends. It felt hard at first, but then I realized it was really impressive anyway. I was looking at the board and could see the places all laid out, where as she must be doing it all from memory. It may sound simple, but that's pretty darn impressive in my book. Sometimes I would hold her hand as she placed it into a farther away slot, or pick it up if it fell on the floor. Eventually, I was left with two chances/spaces where I could place my chip to win, and with a slight hesitation, I placed my piece in the winning spot. "I won!" I said. The smile was worth it. I think she could tell I had treated her as equal.

 

She took off her glasses as I turned and put all of the pieces away, and she got rolled off to lunch as I said goodbye. We met another girl in the hallway, and I watched her go from a standing chair to a sitting one. I took in my places around me. I looked at the photographs in the walls, at the colorful art. The teachers joking with the students about shopping and whatnot. Students eating in the cafeteria today, alongside teachers, the bathrooms off to the side, newspaper articles and paintings and portraits hung in the hallway. Sarah and I had connected more than red and yellow chips on a blue gameboard. I didn't want to leave her. Her smile, her personality shining through. She was someone who I wanted to hang out with. I could only imagine the things she would say to me, slightly hidden behind those sparkling eyes and striped shirt, if she could. We were equals. Sure we weren't exactly the same, but we were equal. Equal enough for me.

 

 

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