In 1985, Santa was good to me. I was 15 and received paisley pants, a v-neck sweater, and chunky long pearls to match my big bangs sprayed high with AquaNet.
Dad and I visited Uncle Roy and Aunt Patty in the afternoon. My cousin Mikey, a few years older than me, received a Teddy Ruxpin.
I didn’t understand. Until then, I hadn’t noticed a difference between my cousin and me.
My dad explained, “Cousin Mikey has Downs Syndrome. He won’t grow up like you and Jeff.”
Dad continued, “Mikey does not have guile.”
I asked, “What does that mean?”
“It means he will always have a childlike innocence. He can’t be unkind.”
“What will happen to him when he grows up?”
Dad explained, “Usually children with Downs Syndrome don’t outlive their parents.”
Yesterday, Mikey died from Covid-19. His parents, Uncle Roy and Aunty Patty have it, too.