Issue 1 - Alumni
The What-If Game

The What-If Game

It is a difficult thing, being born. I’m ready for the task. My body is strong. Even though the dark is comforting I can’t live here forever. Wait. What’s that? I’m being pushed towards a light. It’s too bright for me.

Mom and I are alone in a room. I’m cold. Where is everyone? I’m clean. I don’t have any of that sticky stuff on me. That’s good, right?

Two Days Later

Something is wrong. Somebody better find me soon.

* * *

It’s easier to say that I was disabled at birth than to say, “Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I presented as your average baby for two days.” All I know is what I’ve been told: I lost oxygen to my brain, and that was that. It would be several months before my parents would get a diagnosis.

It’s not like those two days mean anything to me now. It must’ve been hard for my parents, but I’m not telling their story. I’m telling mine.

Despite the fact that I’ve never been able-bodied and therefore shouldn’t miss it, sometimes I wonder. It’s like holding water in my hand (or, in my case, rice on a spoon). I can see it there for a minute and then it’s gone—the “it” being what my life would look like if I were able-bodied. I wonder about what kind of job I would have. What friends I would have. What kind of person I would be.

My entire social circle would be different. Would I be the popular girl? The nerd? Somewhere in between? There’s no way to know. I met all my friends at the Henry Viscardi School. If I didn’t have a disability there would be no reason for me to be there.

Evan says that we would have found each other anyway. That no matter what bodies our souls were in we would find each other. It’s a romantic notion and I want to believe it, I really do, but I don’t know. How much of life is fate and how much is circumstance?

I can’t spend too much time thinking about this. It hurts my brain. It also takes me away from actually living the life in front of me. It would make some interesting science, fiction, though. An able-bodied person meeting their disabled clone. Nature versus nurture made real. And who’s to say that disability isn’t part of nature?

If someone were to come to me and say they could make me able-bodied I wouldn’t take it. All I would ask for is the ability to get a driver’s license. Not being able to drive will always be one of those things that irks me. Especially when I see other disabled people doing it. I know that our brains are different but I still sometimes wish that I could have a CP brain that didn’t cause my body to startle and that I had good spatial reasoning skills and a sense of direction. Is that too much to ask for?

Margie Suarez received her MFA from Hofstra University in December 2013, with honors. She is currently working with the disability justice organization Sins Invalid to increase their social media presence.