As I was perusing the Los Angeles Times website this morning I came across the L.A. Affairs column which chronicles romance and relationships. Normally, I would just move on but the first paragraph caught my attention:
My daughter Peyton is nonverbal and severely challenged by autism. I once believed she’d never experience a meaningful romantic relationship. Then, at a monthly workshop in Los Angeles for people who communicate via keyboard, she met Gabriel, a young man who traveled from Ventura with his support team. Dressed in preppy khakis and a plaid sport shirt, he seemed to turn a few heads, including Peyton’s.
As I mentioned, that paragraph caught my attention so the first thing I did was look again at the name of the article, A short walk that crossed worlds, and knew that many people might miss this wonderful article solely based on this non-descript title. I proceeded to read the entire article and was mesmerized by the wonderful relationship unfolding before me. Not because it involved two people with Autism falling in love but because it involved two people falling in love. That’s when I realized the article was more aptly named then my first opinion gave it credit for. I was hooked when I got to this paragraph:
During one late summer visit, the couple requested their first moonlit walk by themselves along the small dirt trail that followed the water’s edge near our Point Loma home. This hidden path ran along the bay for about the equivalent of three city blocks, each end opening onto paved streets and, frequently, speeding cars.
The rest of the article describes two separate sets of events, 1) the moonlight walk for the two young adults in love, and 2) her parents making sure they were safe venturing out by themselves.
In the evening, as the sun descended, Pat and I walked with Peyton and Gabriel to the head of the trail. We gently placed their hands together and pointed them in the right direction. “Have a nice walk,” I called out calmly, although my heart was racing. The two young people ventured forward, slowly disappearing around the bend.
At this moment Pat took off, running down the street, hidden from view of the two sweethearts. A little-used path intersects the trail midway through, covered by enough foliage that he could stand behind a bush to make sure they were safe, happy and still going in the right direction. Once they traveled past “check point Patrick,” he quietly retreated and ran through hedges and landscaped yards to reach the end of the trail before the young couple risked walking onto the connecting street and into traffic.
The first walk went off without a hitch and as it turns out that walk was a few years ago and the two are still very much in love and continue to take their walks together. I urge everyone to read the entire article because it not only shows a beautiful budding romance between two young people but it shows her parents ability to help support their daughter while still letting her live her life. Kudos to both Peyton and her parents.