A.R.T. Confidential, an inside look at a hidden world: Sammy

Sammy was one of those young folks the staff led us to believe was incapable.

When I whispered in his ear: “Screw them. Right?” he grinned from ear to ear.

Sammy took off with our systems.

When he eye signaled he wanted to create a curved line and one of the points he plotted was well off the canvas the aide protested, “It’s not on the canvas.”

Knowing a pushpin point off the canvas was a great way to create a large curved line impossible to create if the point designated was on the canvas, having total faith in Sammy, as I could tell Sammy had a brightly sparking faith in me, I said, “It’s a good way to make a large curved line.”

The staff person who told us Sammy was incapable made a face.

In the pause of this moment Sammy, who we were told did not speak, said clear as a bell, “Yeah. A curve.”

All of us laughed, but it was not funny. They thought Sammy could not talk because they had pounded him with condescension for so long he had given up trying.

But when he was with me, and knew he was in charge, and knew he was right, and knew what he was doing he backed me up with his, “Yeah. A curve.”

In the moment of laughter Sammy grinned, and we felt good. But not that staff person who said he was incapable.