We stood outdoors politely clapping at the fundraiser, in which a boy with Down’s Syndrome was roller-skating for the first time. He roller-skated like a professional. It was as if he didn’t have Down’s syndrome at all.
As the fundraiser finished, I talked to the boy, who was about 21, in sideburns and baseball cap.
“But ‘Ryan Cooper,’ surely that’s not an Israeli name, is it?” I asked.
He gave me a sort of wink. “Add ‘Ben Hur’ between Ryan and Cooper. That’s my real name.”
“But your parents, they were Israelis? They didn’t come from America or Britain?”
“You mean my astral parents?” He never said ‘birth’ parents. He always said ‘astral.’
“I don’t talk to them.” He turned to his girlfriend, who had emerged. “Katie, how many days of quality time would you say I get with my parents each year?”
She laughed. “Oh, two.”
That night he and I both died in our sleep.