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“Being alone never felt right. Sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.” – Charles Bukowski

This article is written on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Beginning this article with a quote by Charles Bukowski may seem a little risky, but I believe this is a great start to discuss what we see in “Crossing” and I hope I will be able to explain why. Furthermore, it is also important to highlight that we can all see different things and different meanings, since the short movie can be a tool to reach different thoughts, however, I think it is safe to say that the feeling we are all left in the end is really similar. Not a comfortable one.

In the first moments of the film we see a girl, with her headphones on her head, eating an apple. The sounds are quite important here, although we cannot hear anyone speaking through the whole movie. We hear the music that she is listening to and also the sound of her teeth chewing the apple is quite intense. She is alone and the rest of the film shows us how many different shapes can loneliness take and how small and important things can enhance this. After a few seconds, we realize the girl is in a wheelchair.

The action goes on and what we see is the same girl going around in the woods, sitting on her wheelchair, listening to her music still. At a certain point, she finds a turtle and stops. She stares at the small animal, which is walking at an incredibly slow rate, as you would expect from a turtle. The girl smiles. We are now taken away from this safe space as we hear a loud noise that sounds like a car honking. The face of the girl changes, her music stops, and a lot of people are now getting closer to her. They stand on her side and on her back, she takes her headphones off. They are all waiting. I am sure we can all agree that one of the worst ways of feeling lonely is when you are standing in the middle of a crowd. This is a road now, the scenario changes, all of these people are waiting for the light to get green, so they can cross to the other side. Eventually, they do it, but the girl we first saw stays in the same place. We can see this clearly: there is no way this girl can cross the road without hurting herself. The sidewalk is too tall and there is no ramp or any kind of easy access. She keeps still in the same place and in the end puts her headphones back on again.

You know what we could talk about here. You understand what kind of interpretations this movie rises. We could talk about how hard it is to see this girl feeling happier when she is actually alone, in her own world, away from the civilization. We could also talk about how the girl relates to the turtle when she sees that maybe they are not so different, because maybe sometimes it also takes a lot of time for the girl to get to the places she wants to. We could even talk about the incredible power of music and silence and how they can be helpful or just sad. Let us not do that.

Instead of all this, I want to talk about how it is extremely important and urgent to have accessible ramps, roads, sidewalks, etc. Let us make this a practical issue and enhance the urgent part. We can only reach inclusion with these things. Empathy is the first obvious step, but the real practical action is the core of the change that we all want to see.

The girl that is presented to us by Nikos Mathios felt good being alone in the woods, but this kind of loneliness is not acceptable if it comes from a place of discrimination and indifference. It is not okay for her to be “forced” to get out of her physical space in order to feel comfortable and happy. She should be able to choose this. Being alone like this never felt right and I hardly believe that there was ever a time that felt good.

The funny and interesting part is that we can all do something about this. Our behavior, our everyday actions, the words we use are all constant choices and ways of changing things. Let’s do this then.

KINITRO‘s Happy Blue Volunteer, Beatriz Coelho