Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Boy

There has been a hole in my life, during my time away.

The boys were here in New York, and I was miles and miles away from them... wondering how they were. I had the occasional thought, "Do they think of me, too?" After all, I am not family, I am not long in their lives... we spend a few hours together and then, I'm off to my little flat downstairs.

Today, I had a chance to see them for the first time since I returned home... I knocked, and my questions were answered. C called out, "Miss Quin! Dad! She's home, she's home!" and a small bundle of jeans and tshirt and deep, dark, red hair crawled up my legs, pulling himself into my arms, wrapping his own around my shoulders as he buried his face in my neck, saying my name over and over. He took my face in his hands, actually looking me in the eye, a difficult thing for him to do....."Oh, never leave me again, never, never, never!"

I rocked him, both of us in our different versions of separation from life, him with his touches of autism, me with my Asperger's, both of us afraid in so many ways of touch and fear of affection and not knowing how to interact and the ineptness that can overwhelm us.... we rocked there, as he wrapped himself around me much like the moonflower vines I love wrap around a post, and we crooned to each other. He whispered in my ear all the things he'd done while I was gone, along with the nocturnal habits of the aardvark, and how he'd seen one at the zoo--did I know they would pee to mark their territory?

We walked outside to look at how his new plastic alligator I brought him fit into the sandbox. R came home, sunny and open and gave hugs and thanks for his gift, dashing back inside to do what he does so well... be sunny and open and joyful.

C and I stayed outside a bit longer, discussing the lilac bushes and bumblebees vs wasps, why the flowers he had picked died, how he needed to put them in water...I told him where I had been... I told him I'd seen armadillos, and he asked if they were dead. "Yes, they were." He thought about that, and asked if the cars on the road had killed them. "Yes, they are too slow, C... it's a shame."

The subject was done then, asked and answered and done.... it was time for him to go spend the night with his aunt. I had to promise I'd be here when he returns tomorrow.

This makes things harder.... I'm told he had bad days in school when I was gone. He cried one night. I find in him the same connection on certain levels I have with The Investment, an instinctive understanding that is between us, based on our quirks. The idea of leaving him saddens me.

Who else will save their lost tooth in a ziplock bag for a week before putting it under their pillow, just so I can see it? Who will curl up with me, looking for films on youtube of dinosaurs and lions and will insist we watch the attack of the Indian Rhino 47 times a day? Who will dance with me when we watch "Move It" from Madagascar, and not think I dance funny? R sits and laughs at us, before he, too, joins in.

I speak softly around him. He finds ease around me.

We fit.


Peter Varvel said...

Wishing you a very happy, if bittersweet, Mother's Day, as well as to your mum.
<3 I you, too.

austere said...

me too.

Anonymous said...

And me three.

This is a beautiful and precious post, Quin.

There are a number of autistic individuals living at the institution across the road where I work weekdays. Working there has been a real eye-opening and amazing experience for me while I am down here. 'Your boys' are so fortunate to have you there for them, especially C. My oldest grandson also loves dinosaurs, much like his father did when he was his age. We read to our kids a lot when they were little, and oldest son loved for us to read the books about dinosaurs. One day when I was reading to him from his favorite dinosaur book, I stopped, and asked him to come with me downstairs to the storage shelves. From one of the upper shelves I pulled down an old shoe box and we sat down on the floor to open it. Inside, carefully wrapped individually in newspaper, were about two dozen copper dinosaur miniatures, which I had bought probably 15 years earlier when I was a sophomore in college from when we took a field trip in my one of my geology classes, to visit the Chicago Museum of Natural History. When oldest son saw the first copper miniature, and I put it into his hand, he actually squealed he was so excited. I let him unwrap all of the rest of them, one at a time, and as he unwrapped each one, he would look at me and tell all he knew about each one and set them down on the floor, and then reach for the next one. I told him that I was giving them to him now, to enjoy as I had so many years ago. You would have thought I was giving him a whole toy store, he was so happy! And now his son, loves them as much as he did, and I, before him.
Thoughts and prayers to you and your Mama...

Constant Drama said...

This, as everything else that you write is simply beautiful Quin. Beautiful. And heart-warming, it kinda makes me wanna like children. A little.

I cant stand children.

But this piece, yeah makes me want to like them........

Happy Mother's Day Quin =)

Bill From Gainesville said...

Quin, I find myself moved. you move me.

Anonymous said...

happy mother's day.
love you and thank you.

hope to see you tomorrow - and where's Our Boy?

Quin Browne said...

he's surfing...

as always, to all who read...and to those who comment.

thank you.

muchly. i blush every time and remain surprised anyone reads my words.

and am always so happy someone does

Bud said...

That's so beautiful. I missed reading you while I had my head up my ass.

Anonymous said...

The "Move It" song was meant to dance like no one is watching you!

Belated HMD to you from a friend from another board universe :)