Paul

If you ask, Paul will tell you that when he was born he didn’t breathe and it took a long time before he did which is why he has a disability. For a time he seemed to want to tell the story with frequency. It was the beginning of everything. It was what made him different. It was a strange and wondrous event. It needed to be told and repeated.

Paul is intellectually disabled. He doesn’t quite know the detail of the bodily responses that were involved, the death of brain cells from oxygen-deprivation during birth and the effect this has had on his thoughts, emotions, and mobility, but he lives with the consequences: his odd walk which emphasises his right side, his strange stiffness, his learning difficulties, his staring facial expressions, his confusions, and his relative lack of emotional control.