Fictional Interlude

Through Asperger Eyes

I’m punching him in the face
I’m tearing it to shreds
I’m hiding under the desk

I’m running away. I don’t even know where to, I just want to be away from there. I want to go home, but I don’t know where home is. Because I don’t belong here, I’ve never belonged, I’m not like them. My feet pound the frosty tarmac, the roar of the traffic crashing over me, trying to crush me. I can’t see properly, because of the tears falling from my eyes, but I can’t stop. I have to get as far away from that place as I can. I’m never going back. Ever. I want to go home. My breath is coming in short sharp gasps, I’ve got a stitch but I can’t stop, the traffic lights are just ahead of me.

A complicated network of corridors, thousands of chattering, rumbling, deafening humans stampeding their way through them immune to the sound they create and the sheer crushing force they carry as a group. And me. Not immune, always walking in the opposite direction to the flow down these too narrow passages. I am squeezed, bumped and buffeted out of the way. I can’t control my speeding heart beat or how much I’m shaking, but I have to walk, head down, pretend that the noise isn’t drowning out my thoughts and damaging my sensitive ears. Because I can’t be late. If I’m late I won’t go in because if I do I’ll have to face the way people’s eyes swivel in an accusatory manner towards the door to stare at me, through me, as I take my seat. If I’m late I’ll go to hide. Then I’ll be in trouble for missing lessons, they’ll tell me off, they’ll send messages to my parents who will tell me off then ask me why. If I could make them all understand maybe it would be different. But I can’t, because I don’t have the words, not when I open my mouth, the words are all in my head but when I speak they don’t come out properly, because I’m an alien really. I’m not one of them.

I’m different.
I don’t belong here.
I’m not one of them.

I stand at the traffic lights and glance over my shoulder, then I press the button and watch, my arms crossing over my stomach. Taking deep breaths I count. Ten, twenty, thirty, fifty. The lights change, but I count another seven to fifty-seven, because I always do, before I cross the road, I have to. I look both ways even though the traffic is still and then I walk quickly between the cars. I hate feeling that exposed and open. Anything could happen when I’m out on my own like that. I wish everyone else would just disappear. I want the world, just for five minutes to be inhabited by people like me. People who don’t belong and who don’t know the difference between excitement and nervousness and nervous excitement.

She’s looking at me and she wants an answer. I know the answer, but my lips won’t move. My heart is racing again and people are looking. Why can’t they look away? Why do they all move together? My lips are pressed together and I look down at the table, pulling at blutac with my fingers. She, the teacher, repeats the question. I don’t look up, just shake my head. So she asks someone else. I wander if they think I can’t hear their whispers. ‘Why does she do that?’ or ‘she’s weird’ or ‘she’s such a retard’. Maybe they think I have bad hearing instead of super sensitive hearing. But more likely they think I am retarded, which I’m not, I’m top set for everything, I just don’t like answering their questions because I freeze up. I’m not like them because I like the things I like, orang-utans and chemistry and genetics, not the things I’m supposed to like, popular music and fashion for example. But it annoys me, being patronised and teased. The work I’m supposed to be doing finds its way between my hands.

On the other side of the road I start running, even though it’s downhill, the stitch is back. I don’t care. I don’t care that my legs are tired. I’m not going to stop, even if it’s hard to see because the tears have made my eyes go blurry I’ll carry on. I’ve had enough of them not listening. I’ve had enough of the laughing and bullying. I’ve had enough of the noisy, crowded corridors and the complicated social rules that everyone but me seems to be born knowing. I. Don’t. Care.

They think it’s funny I’m in the library all day. They tell me it’s ‘sad’. Well actually, I’m quite happy being there, so I’m not sure what they’re talking about. Maybe all I want to do is read about, write about and draw orang-utans, they’re special, they’re intelligent and they’re being threatened. I raised money for them once doing a sponsored silence. It wasn’t hard. But nobody else even cares, they’re too busy talking about some singers latest stupid song, or outfit, or hairstyle or whether or not they have anorexia. If they do then I don’t think everyone talking about it will help. If they don’t then all the rumours might well make them depressed. Either way I don’t see how it’s anyone else’s business. A squealing high pitch sound rings in my ears and reverberates around my brain sending piercing pains down the back of my spine which settle in my middle back, it’s the fire alarm. It rings and rings and I’m expected to leave the building and line up with everyone else. I nearly lose track of which person is me in the stampede to get out. Even when we do I have no idea which line I’m supposed to be in because we don’t have a strict order. Anywhere on the playground should do but whichever bit I pick will be wrong. I hover by the grass wishing everyone would stand still and be quiet and the alarm would stop. I wish it was a real fire. Sometimes I feel like starting one to shut the school and to give the stupid bell a reason to ring. But I won’t, because it’s wrong. I join the end of my classes’ line. Not in register order because I hate feeling trapped between people. The teacher’s not happy about that though, he comes and tells me to get in my proper place, so I do. I’m trapped and crying and I hate it. But all anyone who sees can say is ‘what a retard’. Sometimes I think I am one. I’m definitely not normal.

I’m definitely not normal.
I’m definitely not normal.

I’m nearly at my house now. I know my mum won’t be happy but I don’t think she’ll make me go back. She said she’d take me out of school at Christmas anyway. It’s November now but I can’t stand it any longer. Leaning forward and panting I drag my feet towards the front door, I can feel pangs going through my chest and I’m shaking.

The lesson after the fire drill is English. I try telling the office I have a headache, which I do, but they don’t believe me. They think I’m trying to skive. So I go to English. We’re doing poems and I hate it. I don’t know what all the silly metaphors mean, I don’t care either. I don’t see why a lawn would be bewildered or what the point in transferred epithet is. I don’t really see the point in this at all, I can read, but I don’t need to be able to do this. So I don’t. I sit and draw spirals and calm down and try to ignore the clamouring, pounding headache behind my eyeballs. I don’t know why they can’t just believe I’m ill and let me go home. We’re supposed to be working in a group. They put me in one and people turn round to talk to me. I don’t look up. “You can’t just do nothing” they tell me. ‘Watch me’, I think. So they tell the teacher. She comes and bends down in front of me “what’s the matter?” She’s talking in that soft voice and her bottom lip is poking out. She probably thinks I’m a retard too. “Come on, you can do this verse.” She points to a number of lines all talking about something stupid and not saying what they mean. I shake my head but she just says “have a go” and leaves me to it. The rest of the group I’m supposed to be in are muttering. I’ve had enough. The tension threatening to break loose does, I feel like my head might explode. I want to hit them. I want to hurt them. Between my fingers the work is torn in half with a loud rrrrrrrriiiiip. Then again and again into smaller and smaller pieces. Then I stand up and leave. I’m going home.

I hover on the doorstep, but there’s no point in just standing here. I open it, the door’s on the latch. Shouting ensues, mainly mum at me about the dangers of crossing a busy road in temper. Then a little of me at her. But mainly I just cry. Then she and I sit and talk, she makes me hot chocolate and we dip in biscuits. Then, finally, she tells me I don’t have to go back. But that doesn’t stop me being an alien, it just makes me wonder if I’ve won or lost.

One thought on “Fictional Interlude

  1. Robin, this needs to be widely read. How, I wonder, can we achieve that? Informative, insightful, eloquent, poignant and, most important of all, true. Teachers, students, health professionals, psychologists – particularly educational ones, parents, and most important of all, other school kids with or without Aspergers.
    I am overwhelmed by your talent, you can make a difference, you can help – all those poor kids who struggle without any understanding or help from school or home…
    That “story” is amazing and so powerful. I am awestruck. Xxx


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