| this was a new experience for richard, which now, when he thought about it, was not sure he was ready for.
" i've not left the house for ages," he thought. " what if i'm laughed at?. what if people at this centre hate me?".
saturday came round soon enough. holly really made an effert with richard, dressing him in his finest clothes. she had sorted out transport, the centre was coming in 1 of their special bussses with a wheelchair ramp, so that he never had to transfer. they could just take him up in the chair.
" try to have fun, richard. i know this experience is scary for you, but i'm trying my best. you don't want the rest of your life to be void, right??"
" no, mom. i'm sure i'll be fine. "
holly kissed him and sent him on his way.
kelly wheeled him up on to the bus. as she did so, she introduced herself to him.
" you must be richard. holly's told me all about you... i'm kelly, your 1 to 1 support. "
" hello kelly, what are we doing today?. "
" well, i figured we'd have a music day. play instraments, sing songs, things like that. do you like music?".
" yes, i do. i like the guitar, actually. you have any guitars?. "
" sure do," kelly said. as she did the bus began to move towards the centre.
" best go up the front with the driver, only for a little while.... i'll be back.".
now richard was alone with the other people on the bus, none of which he knew. he started to pannic.
" hi, richard!. did she say your name was richard?". a boy's voice behind him was calling his name. but he remained silent.
" hey, rich!. are you death?. i'm saying hello to you!".
richard still didn't respond. he just sat their, dreading what awaited him at the centre.
soon kelly returned and anounced that they'd be ariving soon.
" i don't like the people here," said richard. " they don't seem to understand me. especially some boy who was just talking to me!. "
kelly reached out a hand to richard. " you need to give them a chance, you've only been here a few minits. anyway, if you mean craig, pay no attention to him. he's constantly demanding attention from anyone who will listen. "
when they arived at the centre, kelly wheeled richard down the ramp, before helping some of the others.
craig, who was with another support worker, hellen, kept saying " hey, rich, rich!. talk to me rich!."
" he needs speaking too," mumbled kelly, as she wheeled richard inside.
the music session was great. richard, as promised, showed kelly his skills on the guitar, while craig demonstrated to hellen how good he was playing the piano.
" you see," kelly said, " it's not bad here, huh?. how was the music session for you, richard?. "
" i still don't like craig, " he said. " and i still don't know anyone else here. just you."
" you'll get to know people, hey, i tell you what.. when it's lunch time, i'll introduce you to some of the others."
when it was lunch time, kelly and richard didn't sit round the table with the others, they circled the centre, looking for another friendly face that richard could interact with.
" that's colin," kelly said as they passed a teenage boy eating a sandwich. " and the girl next to him talking to herself?. well, that's cathy. ".
" you see richard, you're not alone here. everyone here is in a wheelchair, because of 1 reason or another.
" are their any other blind people here?" asked richard.
" a few," said kelly. ". " mostly sighted. "
the afternoon passed slowly. the group were read a story. something about a puppy, and his adventures on the farm. boring, boring, boring!. richard thought to himself.
cathy came over to kelly at the end of the story, with her support worker leanne.
" she wants to meet richard properly," leanne stated.
" say hello to cathy, richard!." said kelly smiling.
" hi, cathy!. " cathy touched richard's chair, and started talking to herself again. something about diffrent words that began with the letter R.
" she likes you," kelly said. " don't you cathy?".
soon, it was time to go home. richard was to take the same bus, back to his house, and as before, kelly did the honours of helping him on and off.
he requested to sit next to cathy, and kelly allowed it. all the way home, the 2 teenagers held hands, and the support workers smiled.
at cathy's stop, cathy said goodbye, the first proper word she'd spoken all day, and left the bus with leanne.
richard was last off. he thanked kelly for helping him, and in turn, kelly thanked him for great company.
holly met richard at the door.
" good time?" she asked. " it sure sounds like it. i could hear you and kelly laughing from inside. "
" it was great, mom. it was great. help me inside, and i'll tell you all about it. "
kelly with tears in her eyes, helped him through the door.
" i hope to see you again, richard!. it was so much fun!. "
before she had a chance to start holly crying, she turned and headed back down the drive.
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