Having a visible disability is one of those things that people often notice right away but do not know how to talk about. As a legally blind writer and artist, I feel strongly the power of words and the importance of listening—not only to what people say, but what they do not say and how they do not say it. Conversations, especially conversations around historically taboo subjects such as disability, can be tough—full of misunderstandings and missed opportunities for communication under a thin veneer of politeness and acceptance. This is a story about a conversation that was waiting to happen but never did.
In the mountains, there is a village where the wishes people make on paper butterflies come true. However, each person can make only one wish at a time, and the effects of any previous wish are canceled out by the effects of the new. This is where Shiyo lives.
Traveling with my guide dog, I often find myself drawn into conversations with the people seated in the chairs next to me. In this way, I’ve met all manner of unique individuals with unexpected stories to share. This is a creative nonfiction piece based upon such encounters while flying back and forth between home and school during my time as a graduate student.