It seems like forever since I last posted a brief. My computer got kidnapped, in that it went to the doctor for a new keyboard and general clean up but the shop was closed for a over a week due to illness and it was trapped in there, with me out here pressing my nose against the window :) Metaphorically speaking, of course. Now wasn't that interesting. It's past 1am and I should be in bed. I initially typed metaphorically sleeping and I think my inner mind is sending me a pretty clear message here, so once this is up I'm off to the land of nod - well I hope I am. My son has a bad cough and we've been three nights with pretty much no sleep - which is probably why I'm rambling.
Anyway. I'm back and here is this week's instalment of Cyan when we learn a little more about what's going on inside his head - but not from him.
I apologise that I haven't included a prompt, on the basis I lost them and Julie has been way too busy getting this whole thing up and running that I haven't got them re sent in time. On this occasion, at least, the fact I write before the prompt comes in handy.
When Cyan had gone, Robin drifted back to class, feeling far more upset than the situation warranted. The headmaster had been less than forthcoming with what the hell was going on, and Cyan wasn’t up to talking about it either. Whatever happened had clearly happened before, because Cyan’s mother obviously had the feathers and material ready. What the hell was with that?
Robin found Aivah in the common room and plonked down on the seat next to her, with his feet up on the edge of the table.
“What’s up? Where’s Cyan?”
robin tried to explain as best he could what happened. Aivah smiled and nodded. “Ah,” she said.
“What do you mean ‘ah’? Do you have an idea of what happened, because I’m sure as hell I don’t.”
“Sounds like he had an anxiety attack. Autistic people like bright colours and different textures. I guess that’s what the feathers and fabrics are for – to calm him down.”
“How do you know?”
“I looked it up.”
“Well, when I told my mother about Cyan, she said she thought he was probably autistic, so I googled it and read loads of stuff. Did you know Tim Burton’s autistic. He’s one of my heroes. Andy Warhol was too, and Lewis Carroll who wrote Alice in Wonderland. Loads of famous people are. It’s so sad though. Because they’re kind of wired different to us they’re given all kind of unkind labels when they’re really quite fascinating and brilliant. Do you think Cyan will mind if I ask him questions about it?”
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask Cyan.”
“Of course. I will. You should read about it, Robin, especially if you’re going to be Cyan’s friend.”
That night, Robin did what Aivah suggested, and looked up autism. There’s a lot of information out there. Aivah was right, there are a lot of well-known people who’re on the spectrum. That was one of the first things he learned – that autism isn’t just one condition but a whole spectrum of different conditions that range from severe, where there is no speech or interaction, to high functioning autism, or Asperger Syndrome, which seems to be a different name for the same thing.
There are lots of common traits, like facial tics, linear and logical thought, inability to read body language, and awkwardness in social situations. There are also sensual differences, like very sensitive hearing, or touch. That was probably why Cyan didn’t like to be touched – and why he liked to stroke the little scraps of velvet.
It was a fascinating couple of hours, after which Robin concluded that Cyan simply didn’t see and experience the world the same way he did. There was no point trying to understand Cyan or expect Cyan to understand him, because they were working from different frames of reference they’d just have to find a middle ground and do the best they could.
Another thing Robin discovered about autism was that it went hand in hand with anxiety, probably because people had to work so hard to try to fit into a world they didn’t understand and that didn’t want to understand them. Just like school, really. No one wanted to help people fit in. Either you did or you didn’t, and if you didn’t you weren’t their problem.
Right then Robin made a promise to himself. He was going to make damn sure Cyan fit in, or at least felt as if he did. Yes, he was weird, and intense, and even a little scary sometimes, but God he was beautiful and that had very little to do with how he looked. There was something about him, something pure and simple that made Robin feel good to be around him. He was…clean. Maybe that was a weird way to put it, but it was what popped into Robin’s head.
Robin wasn’t expecting Cyan to be in school the next day, but he was waiting for him at the gate. There was no sign of his mother.
“Are you feeling better?” Robin asked.
“Yes. I have…um…episodes. That’s what the doctor calls them. My mother used to call them tantrums but she knows better now. I can’t help it.”
“Is it like an anxiety attack?”
Cyan looked at Robin thoughtfully. He didn’t know what he was thinking about – whether he was wondering how Robin knew about anxiety attacks, or whether he was pondering if it was one.
“Yes,” he said at last, “sort of. It was only a little one yesterday because I knew what to do and my mum brought my stuff. Sometimes I freak out a bit—“ He paused. “A lot.”
“I’ll help you, if it does.”
They were walking down the hill from the car park into the school, surrounded by other children, coming from the buses. Cyan stopped in the middle of it all, and turned to stare at Robin. “Do you mean that?” he asked after a long, tense moment. “Will you really help me? You won’t freak out and run away?”
He said it as if it had happened before and Robin felt bad for him, to have put his trust in someone who let him down when he needed them so much. “I can’t promise I won’t freak out, but I can promise I won’t run away.”
Cyan gave Robin a sudden bright grin. “That’s okay then.” He started walking again, as if he was totally unaware of the stares and comments of the people who hadn’t appreciated the sudden stop. “We should work on the history project today. I found some notebooks last night. I knew I had them somewhere. There are lots of details, dates and stuff.”
“You were looking up homework last night? After what happened?”
“It doesn’t last long, Robin. I have medicine to take that calms me down. I sleep for a couple of hours and then I’m fine. It probably won’t happen again for ages.”
“That’s a relief.”
Okay, now go check out the rest of the flashers. I may not have been active for the last couple of weeks but I have been actively reading and these stories are seriously good. You won't get quality free fiction like this anywhere else.