World Down Syndrome Day

Dear DJ, dear friend, dear brother,

It was back in 1989 when we first met. I got off the car that took me to your house and first thing I saw was you and your brothers waiting for me in the front yard. 3315 was the number of your house. Your blue and beautiful house.

I have to recognize that, at first, it was hard for me to think of living one whole school year with you. I say at first, because it took me exactly 30 seconds to figure out how stupid I was to just think that. I knew I was going to learn so much with you. You were three or four years younger than me. I was fourteen. You were ten. I was a teenager. You were a child. You slept upstairs. I slept downstairs. You went to middle school. I went to high school. I played soccer… you…

You asked me to show you about soccer. We played every day after school. You could be playing with the ball for hours. You asked me to teach you some Spanish. You learned some words. I wasn’t a very good teacher. We went to some snowed hills with our slides and had so much fun. We lit some firecrackers and had so much fun too. We played baseball, football, hide and seek, we played darts… we had so much fun together.

And, guess what! You might’ve learned how to play soccer, but… I learned too. I learned much more than you. I learned that we were the same. Different ages. That was all. We were equal. The same. Exact! You had legs to play soccer. Me too. You had arms to grab a ball. Me too. You had ears to hear my poor english. I had ears to hear you call my name. You had eyes to look for me after school. I had eyes, me too, to look after you. You had a mouth to call my name, Golalo. I had one too to say hello. You had a heart… me too. Your heart was bigger than you. I still wonder how in such a small ten-year-old body could fit such a huge heart. You loved. You LOVED. You did so with every bit of your heart. You were the kindest kid I met. When I left your house, when I came back to Spain, you called every birthday, every Christmas… until you left. I remember your mother calling me and telling me. We both cried. Since then, since that sad day, I feel your heart in mine. A small piece of yours is in mine. I’m so damn sure a part of you is with me in everything I do. You showed me so much in so little time. I love you too, DJ, and I miss you so much.

Today is World Down Syndrome Day. Today, maybe today, some one else learned that you are no different than the rest. We have to learn so much! Thank you, DJ. Thank you for teaching me what really matters. School was alright, you were better… best!

One last thing, please, keep taking care of us.

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