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one little hand tucked into mine

There is a girl of about age 8 with long blond hair and pale skin, who floats through the school, living her own quiet reality amongst the busyness. She is high on the autism spectrum, and avoids all eye contact, speech and touch, except for with her main carer, whom she has a strong bond with. She edges into the periphery of the gardening program, happy to water the plants, at times trying to tip water back up into the tap from her bucket, but has never acknowledged my presence. Today we did a harvest session for the kids cooking class. I looked at her with amazement as she grabbed my hand. She led me to the door, where I steered her towards the garden. I gave her a bowl for collecting water, and helped her turn the tap on. I walked away to find zuchinnis with the other kids, the ones with smiling faces and eyes that met mine, but also with Downs Syndrome and other physical disabilities. I kept looking back to this first girl, still feeling her hand pressing against mine. At the end of the class, I walked close to her, and she grabbed my hand again, letting me lead her back inside. Today was a very good day.