The difference? He isn’t cruel


Photo by Elaine Wallace

Brandon and Jillian Morani laugh together during their senior photos.

By Jill Morani, Londonderry High School

I would hate to live in a world where I didn’t have my brother. Why? Because he’s the one that has opened my eyes to a spectacular community of people. People with special needs.

Every morning I wake up and thank whatever fate put me on the earth for giving me one of the most important people in my life.

With my brother having special needs, I find myself asking what makes the two of us different from each other. Really, what makes any of us that much different from those with special needs?

Well, we do think differently sometimes. Sometimes they think faster than us. Information is passed from neuron to neuron faster than we can blink.

But sometimes they think more slowly, their thoughts meandering and then settling in a cozy corner within their mind.

Sometimes the thoughts that they have can be locked in their craniums, can be stuck there for years and years to come.

Aren’t we all like that? Don’t some of us think slower or faster than others? Isn’t that what makes us perfectly unique?

Well, maybe we are different in the way we speak. Some of them may have a speech impediment, some may stutter, some may speak quietly, some may yell to the skies. It can be difficult to express our “slang” to them, because sometimes they may not understand what it means.

Hey, aren’t we the same way though? We have people who are shy and stutter when they are nervous, and we certainly have people that can’t understand modern terms.

I guess it’s in the way that we touch. They could have a stronger grip when they shake your hand or reel when they even think of touching something with an odd texture.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to touch something slimy, sharp, or sloppy. What about you?

Quite possibly what makes us different is the way that we feel inside, how our emotions affect us. They have different minds that may process emotion in a way that contradicts how we see it. If they don’t realize what you are feeling, it isn’t their fault. If they don’t cry when the mood calls for it, it isn’t their fault.

But we all experience emotions differently… Don’t we?

It could be what we see. It could be that they notice the small particles that fly through the air when they don’t mean to. Something from the distance may catch their attention and keep it locked as their focus. You could try to break their attention, but it may not work.

For their undivided attention is enraptured by the marvel seen through the eye of a golden magnifying glass. One that shows every . . . single . . . last . . . wonder the world has to offer. We differ in the fact that we aren’t born with this miracle apparatus. We should even consider ourselves perpetually lucky to be able to create friendships with these incredibly gifted people. These human beings who are so eager to share what they see with anyone willing to take the time to hold their hand, lean in and look through the glass with them.

Photo by Paul Morani
Jillian Morani stands in her foyer at home getting ready for homecoming. Her supportive brother, Brandon Morani, hugs her while posing for a picture.

Their attention, like ours, can run thick or thin. So why are they seen as different and unequal?

Are we unequal because they hear things with hypersensitivity, or not at all? Or maybe it’s just because those with special needs aren’t carbon copies of what we see as “perfection.”

But does that make it okay, at all, for us to take advantage of someone who is different?

None of us are perfect.
None of us should be the same.
None of us should discriminate against different.

So what truly makes us different…?

The way we see each other.

I want to live in a world where people like my brother will be treated as though different is not a bad thing, but a kaleidoscope of extraordinary talent, miracles and praise.

I want to live in a society where our differences make us stronger.

Since when did the differences between people give us the right to call others’ freaks?

They have an innocent desire to be your friend. In what world does that make it okay then to mock and humiliate them for this?

The true difference between my brother and the comments thrown at him?

He would never dare to hurt somebody in the way that he has been hurt himself, because even when the world has turned against him, he’s looked below the surface of what his bullies have said to him and has seen that they themselves may be the ones that are hurting.

Isn’t that incredible..?

The horrible freak you have depicted as my brother can look through your cruelty and see a person who must be hurting.

Because who on earth would ever hurt somebody so innocent unless they themselves were in pain.

Oh wait…

This story was originally published on The Lancer Spirit on February 6, 2020.