DEALING WITH AUTISTS vs. BEING AUTISTIC
A nonfiction narrative based on real experience by Ronja Mokráňová
March 26th, 1995; Sunday 1:45 PM
She drew the heavy curtains aside and let the early sun rays fill the interior with sunlight.
“Come on, Ray,” she spoke gently to a blonde boy. “Our guests are looking forward to meeting you.”
Boy took her hand and stood up. “Come,” he repeated after her. He didn’t look at his mother; his eyes were tracking his surroundings as if he didn’t want to miss a single movement.
“It’s nice to see you again, Ray. I remember when you were born- can’t believe you grew up so fast!” An older woman shook his hand and smiled. Ray didn’t look in her eyes or return her smile. “How old is he now?”
“Eleven in April.”
“You’re a man already, boy. I haven’t seen such a firm handshake in a while!” Ray stepped away and settled himself onto a massive claret sofa. His dark eyes reflected a childish curiosity, almost innocent- curiosity of a kid discovering an untouched part of the world, a prodigy beforehand unseen. A sparkle of submission could be beheld in his eyes every time he glanced at a different object, every time he started observing something new and compelling to his mind.
“Does he ever stop playing this game?” woman asked after a few seconds of silence.
Her calm voice was filled with serenity. Eyes sparkled with peace and her lips revealed a mild smile. But there was a relentless fight taking place in her head, where whirls of thoughts jostled and abounded while trying to get to the surface of her mind. She got tired of people calling it a game a long time ago and the realization that no one could truly understand was still an immense disappointment. As if they didn’t know. As if they didn’t see. This was a bare reality.
“I heard you’re still trying.”
Trying! There was one more thing she desired besides her son being healthy. She wanted the understanding of the outside world, support from her friends and family. How was she supposed to show Ray this was a better world, a place where he was supposed to be with her, when no one helped her in proving this to him? “How can we not? It is the only thing we can do.”
“You’re living outside of reality. He barely knows he exists and you sacrificed your whole life for him. For an unattainable dream.”
She gazed speechlessly into the window with daylight shining through, lightening up the entire place. “All dreams appear impossible until somebody makes them happen,”1 she whispered into the silence of the vast room. Hearing her voice coming back as an exiguous echo and penetrating her mind without a proper assent made her voice weaker. “At least there’s a chance we cannot cast away.”
March 26th, 1995; Sunday 4:30 PM
Emptiness and silence spread through the house once again. She stepped into the room and saw Ray still sitting in his sofa in front of the window, watching the sun on the horizon. Sun beams were permeating inside and creating various patterns on his face. He watched it motionless, without a single move of his limbs. “Come,” he whispered.
“There’s nowhere to go,” she replied.
Then his mother pulled the curtains over the window and the usual darkness filled the room.
March 26th, 1995; Sunday 1:45 PM
I was sitting on a wooden floor defected by a few stains of milk and coffee, which I accidentally spilled approximately two years ago. It soaked into the parquets before I could wipe it off, so I watched the wood as it imbibed the liquid dropwise. I saw a little spider in the corner of the room observing puny flies which got caught into his net. My admiration towards his legs thin as pins still hadn’t disappeared and I contemplated about the parts where they were bent with astonishment. I heard steps that belonged to my mom getting closer and closer. I felt a slight waft of her perfume as she passed by and then drew the heavy black curtains aside to let the sunlight get in.
Once the sun beams entered this shady place they disclosed all the little dust particles flying around and light hit my eyes. “Come on, Ray,” I heard her saying my name. Come. Yes, they have to come, come with me. Come and live in the real world.
But the simple word “come,” was the only thing my mouth was able to produce although I’d have liked to say much more.
I got greeted by a woman, whom I remembered from my early childhood. I had already noticed she never thought of me as of a real person; as if I couldn’t think for myself. But never mind was my inner reaction- still I tried to hold her hand tight so she knew that I acknowledged her presence, and then comforted myself onto a couch. It is a painful matter of fact that only my family tries to understand, although not in the right and meaningful way- my family are the only ones who perpetually hold me here because I love them too much to let go.
Once again I sank deep into my mind and merged with the ambient world in my thoughts. There was nothing I had to handle, nothing to care about.
But my name was used too frequently in the ongoing conversation so I started listening again.
“I heard you’re still trying.” Trying? I have already sensed their volition for me to join them and their reality but I’m absolutely conscious about one fact which I constantly hold on to: To truly live means to truly see. If they really tried to see the world just for one second, they’d know. Their notion of me is obviously different than mine, but I perceive my existence too well for them to understand. It’s only their sight which is blind.
I stared into the sun on the horizon and watched sun rays as they shone through the window with my fingertips imprinted on the inside. It was the only source of daylight in here. If they only followed me, everything would be different. “Come,” I whispered.
“There’s nowhere to go,” was the answer.
Suddenly darkness spread through the entire room and the eternal transparent but golden light was nothing but my projection again.
The way they had to follow was to creep out of their own shadows and open their eyes. In my world the window was never covered with a curtain.
February 13th, 1997; Thursday 7:09 AM
My projections are too real. Darkness is too dark.
This is the point where everything breaks and turns inside out. Too much time has already passed and I still am goofy over my folks. They’re my family. But my faith grows weaker by every day, every hour. I am standing in the middle of the room where the only light is coming from a window in front of me. I am standing in that light and the light surrounds me, but everything else is swallowed by darkness; I literally can’t see a thing. There is no chance I would not come out alone.
That is why I finally let myself go. They’ll be better off without me. I am leaving to the world with thousands of windows and no curtains obscuring the view outside.
February 13th, 1997; Thursday 9:10 AM
She found him sitting in a gloomy room in front of the window, motionless, as every day. But something was different this time. His eyes exuberated with interest joy and curiosity, were now empty. He was blindly staring into the window covered with heavy curtains, slowly beginning to sway forwards and then backwards. Forwards, backwards…
She fell to her knees and hugged her son around his shoulders. “It’s OK,” she whispered. “I don’t need no sun. You’re the only sun in my life. Ray…” And they kneeled on the wooden floor and swayed in the silence together.
The curtains were never scrubbed away again.
1“All dreams appear impossible until somebody makes them happen.” – A quote by Barry Neil Kaufman, a father of an autistic child and author of Happiness Is a Choice.
By: Ronja Mokráňová
Picture by: http://brandimillerart.deviantart.com/