Well intentioned, wanting to prove how knowledgable she is, that she’s learning, she tells me that a child with a really bad case of autism (her voice is so loud it feels like my inner ears are being pushed and struck with invisible knobs that shove pain inside them like a key in a lock) is nothing like me, because for one thing (I shiver in the freezing cold of no warm clothes because none are bearable to my skin) they have trouble talking.
I can almost hear the words coming out, the hard, ratcheting, uncompromising, cold slam-of-a-kicked-down-door that crushes all assumptions under shock and suprise and disgust that is “Sometimes, I shit my pants”. I don’t know what I’ll dart into the shocked silence after that with, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s held back by her talking long enough for me to reconsider.
There is a pause. (has she stopped talking for me to talk will she be angry if I interrupt the words feel so heavy-) “I, have trouble talking, sometimes”. Gaining momentum; “How about you, recite the rest of the list of things that make a “very bad” case of autism? I’ll rattle off every single one and tell you how I have it. This is how professionals. So called professionals. Think about autism, and it does not work. It simply does not work”.
I feel like I stumbled and fell over while walking, only with my speech. I feel like I was slotting some array of slate-gray/blue blocks together to make my mouth operate and I somehow tangled them. I feel clumsy and that feeling I have no name for where you expect to be looked upon with condescending, pitying and partly deserved low regard.
She starts to talk about how large my vocabulary is. I reply that being wordy and verbose (I have used that phrase every single time I discuss my vocabulary, so that I can learn to say it without stumbling and tangling and pausing) is in fact a symptom of autism. She insists; yes, a symptom of aspergers, the higher functioning kinds of autism! I consider shocking her into silence with what I nearly said earlier, again neglecting to mention that I haven’t done that for 3 years.
Her husband and my mother come back from the garden, and so I don’t. I try to say something else. Stumble and tangle things. Then she goes home because it’s getting dark.