The first in a series of fictionalized stories.
The Audis and The Lost Boys – Boy#1 Part #1
“Ezra, you don’t remember any more what it was like when you were really autistic. You used to be afraid of so many things. You used to have frequent meltdowns when we went to a store. You would lie on the floor and kick and scream. You were inconsolable. If we were lucky, you would just quietly lie on the floor in the middle of the mall and just look up at the lights. You would wiggle your fingers in front of your eyes like this.” I showed him how he used to do it when he was 3.
“No, no I don’t remember any of that.” Ezra replied.
“Thankfully”, we said in unison.
“You should be nicer to smaller kids with autism. You were not easy to look after when you were their age. If you saw big murals of clowns on the wall or Chinese dragon statutes, you would be petrified”
“What does petrified mean?”
“Frozen with fear. You would scream at the top of your lungs. Your body would shake. You would thrash around on the floor. I would have to pick you up, squeeze you tight, cover your eyes and run by these things. If a little Audi has a meltdown because you disturbed his toys or you touch a little Aspi on the head and make her cry her head off, you should show some compassion. You used to be just like them. Don’t bother them.”
Ezra just sat in his seat in the car, with a cold stone stare.
“Little buddy, can you do that for me?”
“Dad, I’m almost as tall as you.”
“But I weigh twice as much as you.”
“And you should exercise more. Just saying.”
“Ok. Tall-Drink-Of-Water, please be kind to little kids.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. What does tall, water, kids have to do with one another?”
“It’s an old expression for somebody tall like you. You’re distracted from my question. Are you going to treat younger kids better; stop annoying them?”
“Okay let’s go in and get you some new snow boots.”
We got out of the car and headed into WalMart. Walking through the parking lot, I carried on in my reminiscing.
“You used to get lost in this store. You would run up and down the aisles. The only reason I would find you and catch you is because you would be laughing so hard, you couldn’t breathe so you would have to stop running.”
“Nice story, Dad.” Ezra said sarcastically.
“You used to be a happy, jolly kid before you decided to become a teenager.”
“I’m only 12.”
“But you act like a teenager. That’s not a compliment by the way.”
“That’s like racist against teenagers.”
“It’s actually ageist. I am proudly prejudiced against teenagers. An adult mentor once said to me I was 15 going on 30. Most 19 year olds in North America are no more mature than they were when they were 13. I’m still shocked some of my high school friends were allowed to become teachers in the very school they terrorized. In this country, most teenagers are lazy, irresponsible idiots. Of course, they weren’t born that way. They were raised that way. So it’s not really their fault.”
Ezra had just about tuned out yet another one of my rants. I had given him an opening.
“It’s your fault. You raised me this way.”
Once inside the store, I noticed a visibly upset woman talking to a store manager. Ezra, of course, was bouncing along, smiling, looking at the floor and repeating the words “It’s your fault. You raised me this way.”
“Hey, Ezra! Come here.”
I silently eaves-dropped on the conversation between the woman and the manager. I had heard it quite a few times before. When I was teenager, I used to work in a small grocery store. I remember a little kid walking up to me and crying, “I lost my Mommy!” I took him to the front of the store where the manager’s office was. I got one of the check-out clerks to page “If anyone is missing a small child, please come to check out number 4.” A tearful reunion soon followed. I had no idea how much of my life would be taken up with trying to find my own son and prevent him getting lost again and again. Once upon a time, I knew absolutely nothing about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Now that seems like a whole other life ago.
Lots of kids go years before they get diagnosed with ASD. Most times their parents have no clue. If the child is their first, like Ezra was, they may not even know that anything is “wrong”. (Hello my old friend in the mirror.)
“Ezra, I know what we’re going to do today! We’re going to find a lost boy.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. Yes I am. Agent E you need to go to electronics and begin surveillance.”
“Nice Phineas and Ferb reference. I’m on it.”
“If you see any suspiciously lost children, take a photo with your phone and text it to me. I will send it to her. Now go before this kid climbs to the top of the paper towel display.”
Ezra asked, “Dad, why are we doing this?”
“If you are an Audi, then at some time you’ve been a Lost Boy. Which means somebody had to find you at least once in your life; probably more than once, maybe even many times. I don’t like placing burdens on ya Kid, but you owe the world that. You need to find at least one of The Lost Boys in this world. Do it as payback. Since, I’m the guy who found you the most often, do this for me.
Ezra ran off in his zig-zaggy, skippy way. He was smiling and talking to himself. “I’m going to find this kid.”
The first in a series of fictionalized stories.