Sunday, April 16, 2006

The kid

Yesterday I went to Friendship Park in a hamlet north of Paoli, Pennsylvania, to walk off the air until sundown. Whilst the rest of the family went off for a few rounds of tennis, I resigned to the benches and started playing with my Game Boy Advance. A few minutes in, however, I heard very awkward cries coming down from the swingset and decided to take a look. As I expected, it was a teenager of rather high stature walking along the rim of the mulch and wailing without impetus. With his head down and kicking scraps of mulch back into the hub within, he walked about as other students (presumably) flanked him. Some of the other students would pace back and forth in the area until they gathered to leave.

At first I thought that the kid had been bullying schoolchildren, since the park was small and composed mainly of the tennis court, swingset and a concrete roundabout on a hill. When I finally came closer and was able to study the movement, however, my heart sank. I had been known to pace back and forth in places like this — and I was pulled over by police officers a few times for this — but had forcibly torn the image of my mental illness out of my head. But upon looking at that teenager, I was faced with a harsh reality. That was me. That was the face and meander of the autistic spectrum.

I have a half-brother living with my mother (I live with my father), and his autism has meant financial hardship across the board. Between lawsuits that failed to sway the public school system to arrange for special services for him as well as the cost of hiring babysitters that charged more than median and often left after two weeks, the rest of the family provides very little for the cause at all. They may provide money, but none of them have ever shown enough compassion or have demonstrated sufficient experience with their own children to look after him. And it will be a heartbreaker to see him evolve into something resembling the kid that I saw at the park, just because the family is in its current disarray.

Thankfully, my condition is not as severe as that of him. By the time he reaches seventeen he most likely will not have the capacity to write on a blog or assimilate with teenagers that comprise today's society. And looking at customers that I have seen carry around grown autistic men, some around the age of fifty, he may not be able to produce anything in life. I feel sorry for the kid, seeing as he's in a constricted family environment and I've been afforded enough time with people that are enough well off.

Whoever it was that was walking in the park like that, thank you. I hope someday you'll bring yourself to see me say so.

1 comment:

Broken Wings said...

Oh my god. Your autistic? I know how your feeling and stuff, seeing as I am aswell,