I didn’t waste any time. Two weeks after my graduation, I went with my sister to the college and approached the counselor’s desk.
(Same desk as teacher. Sister and Counselor walk on.)
I would like to apply to go to school here.
COUNSELOR (looking up from her desk)
GREAT!! May I see your diploma please?
ROBERT (smiling at the audience and handing her the diploma)
Here it is.
COUNSELOR looking at the diploma
Oh, I am sorry. We don’t accept “special” diplomas anymore.
ROBERT (looking at the audience)
I love my life!!
What do you mean you don’t accept that diploma???
ROBERT (looking at counselor)
What can I do to get into this college?
Well, you need to get your GED.
So in 1993 I enrolled in my G.E.D. class. In 1994, I passed. (Pause) I went and passed the college entrance exam and here I am. I proved not only to myself but also to those who told me that I would never get into college that I could do it. Oh, ye of little faith! I take classes now and have gotten up in front of the classes and talked about my disability. I am not scared to go up in front of the class and introduce myself and answer questions if they ever need answers about my life and me. I remain a student but yet I remain a teacher to students who don’t know the difference between the disabled or how it is for disabled students. I like teaching about life…sometimes it is just as important as what we learn in class.
(Mom walks on)
People search for reasons for things. That is why we learn. My teachers ask me what keeps me going, why do I put myself through this. I ask myself, is it ever going to stop? Why do I put myself through this? My mom is always searching for some “reason” for my disability. When I was 14 we had this conversation….
Robert, I have something to ask you….Are you mad at me?
I think I may know what has caused you to be like you are. When I was pregnant with you, I had a stint of pneumonia. One of your aunts told me God was punishing me for the things I did in the past. If I wasn’t sick you would have been normal.
But mom you told me God has a reason why I’m disabled. I don’t know why yet but as I go forward God will reveal it to me.
That’s right. You are right. I love you Robert.
I love you too, mom.
My life is pretty good actually. I have always been close to my dad. He is a good man. When I was around 23 or so we were standing out by the drive way and I said to him: “Dad, I kind of feel left out sometimes and like I am letting you down. I can’t go out and play football or anything like that. Can’t work with you out here…”
Robert, if your weren’t the way you are today, your brother and sister wouldn’t be they way they are today. They wouldn’t be understanding, patient, or as compassionate to other people as they are now. If you weren’t the way you are…you mother and I would not be like we are with people. You are very special Robert. I hope you know that. You still need to work towards accomplishing all your goals.
But when do I know that I’ve done enough? When do I know that I am at the end of the tunnel?
You’ll never know what the end of the tunnel is because there might be a train coming.
At that moment I felt proud to be his son. (Smiling) Now don’t get me wrong, things aren’t always so wonderful in my life. I get my feelings hurt too. Take for instance when I was talking to my sister one day…
(Kimberly and Mother enter and cross to Robert)
So, Robert–when are you going to get a girlfriend?
Robert does not need girlfriend right now; he has enough trouble taking care of himself, that he doesn’t need a girlfriend to add to his problems.
Mom, you never know. I might have a girlfriend in the future.
(Mother leaves the stage)
I was shocked!! My mother is the type of person that all through my life has told me that anything that I wanted I could achieve. To hear her say that about me, after she told me all through my life that I could do anything, was very disappointing to me. I just let it go. I mean what else can you do? Did I tell you about my brother’s wedding? 2 years ago, my brother called me at 8:00pm.
BROTHER (On Phone)
So, Robert, how would you like to be the best man at my wedding?
I said “YES”. I was shocked a bit. I was thinking that he was going to ask his best friend-first. But he said:
I was going to ask you first and if you didn’t say yes then I would have asked my other best friend, but I really want you to say yes. My other best friend will also be a best man! Robert, I can think of no one better to be my best man than you!!!
(As narrator speaks, the scene will shift to the wedding party with the head table toasting …and having a great time and guests are dancing and talking)
I was very proud. I felt that he could have picked anyone else but the fact that he chose me proved to me that he wasn’t ashamed of being seen with me. The only reason I was considering saying no to him was that I did not want to distract the guest from the couple. It was my brother’s wedding and I wanted him to be the focus. I was afraid that if I was the best man people would pay more attention to me. They didn’t. Everyone had a great time and the wedding was a great success. (Wedding party breaks down) BUT before the wedding was the Bachelor Party! Now don’t get the wrong idea!! My brother took all the groomsmen to Suwannee River. (Sounds of water flowing) While we were there, we decided to go to the grocery store to get some snacks.
(Robert, Brother, and two groomsmen walk into the grocery store. Robert and one of the groomsmen break off and walk down an aisle of the store while Brother and other groomsmen get more snacks. In the first aisle stands an attractive young woman.)
ROBERT (pointing to the young woman)
Man, she looks good.
GROOMSMAN (Turning to look at her after looking at can of soup)
Hey, you’re right.
(They follow her through the store, always one aisle over. They look at her through cans of black beans and bags of potato chips. Robert and the guys go through check out and “wait” for her. The young woman goes up to check out. The guys nudge each other)
Wow, she is one hot momma!
(The young woman looks straight at them. She smiles and reveals a mouth full of missing teeth. The guys look at her)
Oh man! Everything looked good until she smiled.
What a shame!
(All exit bummed out)..