I’d guess about ten years old. Spikey blonde hair, pale blue eyes, chubby little kid face.
His mother stopped by the table we were manning at the School Health Fair, mussing with the pamphlets strewn about the blue plastic tablecloth. The tri-fold cardboard display announced “Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation” in bright blue letters. Myself and another volunteer from the RI JDRF stood vigil at the table, handing out trinkets and informational packets, answering questions, and enjoying the sights.
“Hey buddy. Would you like a t-shirt?” My fellow volunteer leaned in towards the little blonde boy.
“Sure. Thanks.” Shy blue eyes.
Turning to the mother, my partner asked, “Does anyone in your family have diabetes?”
She waved a green sweatshirt clad sleeve at her son. “Yeah! He does! He has diabetes.”
He looked at the floor and contemplated his untied sneaker.
His mother laughed loudly and clapped him on the back. “Some days he talks about it and some days he doesn’t. Today he just ain’t talking!” She picked up an issue of Countdown Magazineand flipped through the pages.
“Here’s your t-shirt.” Pale blue eyes met my own. “I have diabetes, too, you know.”
“Yeah. I have an insulin pump.” I pointed to the pump clipped inside the pocket of my khaki skirt. “I’ve had diabetes since I was about six.”
“I’ve had it since I was seven.” He smiled and fingered the plastic sleeve around the blue JDRF bracelet. “It’s okay… so you have it, too.” He looked at all the other volunteers at the other booths.
After a beat: ” You look just like the rest of them.”
I stood there after he and his mother walked away, toting plastic bags filled with health fair goodies and JDRF magnets and pamphlets on bloodsugar management. His blonde head blended in with those of the other kids until I couldn’t find him in the crowd anymore.
He looked just like the rest of them.