I got the diagnosis on the phone earlier that day, high functoning autism, and I had been on the computer ever since.
Autism, therapy, spectrum, reversable, irreversable, life long, curable, no cure, caused by shots, nothing to do with shots…it was dizzying. I read about how a stomach is a second brain and eating the right foods and cutting out the wrong foods can make amazing changes.
I sat there and looked at the screen. Gluten free, casein free diet…wasn’t Miley Cirus gluten free? Wasn’t that because she had celiac disease? Why do this diet if Zoe didn’t have anything wrong with her stomach? Then I read that gluten can be an “intolerance” and wouldn’t be detected as an allergy when tested. It all seemed like grasping at straws. It was so much to sift through. I wondered where the truth was. I wished I could just press a button to highlight all the parts that were right so I could delete the wrong information and know what to do.
Jake was a health and nutrition major. Perhaps he knew what I should do. I suddenly really wanted to talk to him really badly. It was late, 11pm. Zoe was asleep and Chris was asleep on the couch. He had fallen asleep there watching TV while I was on the computer in our bedroom.
I had never wanted to se Jake so badly. I stood up and looked at Chris on the couch. I looked at the front door. Chris let out a loud snore. I quietly took a front door key from a hook next to the door and opened the door. I shut it very gently and locked it quietly. I stood outside and listened. The crickets were chirping. I could hear Chris still snoring inside. I looked up and the sky was almost purple with clouds floating by all lit up by the moonlight. What was I going to do now, just walk down the street to Jake’s house and knock on the door? Hadn’t he had enough of my baggage today with me telling him about my sister dying? Now I was going to go and tell him my daughter had autism? I was going to completely scare him off. But he was a health and nutrition major, which meant he was learning all the new cutting edge information about what Zoe should and shouldn’t be eating. If the stomach really was like a second brain, he would probably be studying that too.
I walked down the three steps and the pathway to my front gate at the sidewalk and looked at where Jake and I had sat that morning. He had walked away when things got too heavy. Why was I going to lay more on him now? Was this some kind of a test? Was I trying to get rid of him? I walked down the street. The college students were in their houses, lights on with music coming from them. I got closer to Jake’s house. His living room light was on behind the partially closed curtains but his yard was dark. There was his hammock. I smiled. Then I walked up to the front door and stood there. I could hear the TV and guys voices. His roommates were in there. I got nervous. What would they think if I was at the door? What if Jake wasn’t there and I just knocked on the door of the house of some college students that I didn’t know?
I took a breath and knocked. I heard someone say, “Is that the door?”A second later someone opened the door. He had red hair and bright blue eyes. He looked at me in utter amazement. I flushed. But I didn’t have to say anything.
“Jake!” He yelled through the house. “Hot mom is here!”
I looked out at the yard. An escape route. I could just walk away right now. When I looked back at the door Jake was walking up and there was a girl behind him. Of course he was with a girl. I was so stupid. I started to stammer that I could go but the girl turned and hugged Jake, “bye!” she said, giving him some weird knowing smile.
Then she brushed past me, but not too quickly to give me a wink and off she went to her car parked in the yard. I looked at Chris.
“This is a nice surprise” he said, grabbing my elbow and leading me off to his room.
“I’m just here to talk” I said.
He shut the door and we sat on his bed.
“I have a question”
“Well, you are a health and nutrition major right?”
He held up a text book that a picture of two pears on the front and it said, ‘Nutirition, Concepts and Controversies’.
“Perfect” I smiled.
“What do you need to know?”
“Well, my little one has autism and I have been reading how food affects kids with autism and I was wondering if you know anything about that because I don’t know anything about it.”
He smiled. “I can help you with that. Listen, tomorrow morning, why don’t I come over and look in your fridge. I can tell you what she should eat and what she shouldn’t eat and why.”
“Ok. That sounds good. I’m gonna go now.”
“Now? Don’t you want to stay for a little while?”
I jumped up to go but before I could grab the door handle he wrapped his arms around me.
I shook my head. “I can’t do this.”
“Not one kiss?”
“Um,” before I could say yes or no he kissed me and I let him. Then I slipped out of his grasp and grabbed the door handle. He grinned at me and my heart started to thump so I turned the handle quickly and hurried out of his room. He walked after me to the door and I opened it and looked around his living room. There were two guys on the couch playing video games but they were not looking at the screen. They were both staring at me.
“Um, bye” I said. “Thanks Chris for that information.”
“Anytime” he smiled.
I slipped out of the door and shut it behind me. The crickets chirped and my heart pounded just as loud. I hurried through his yard then started to jog down the street to my house and stopped at my front door. I listened. I didn’t hear snoring. I stood outside for a few minutes until I started to get a chill from the breeze blowing on my sweat. Then I reached to get my key out of my pocket. It wasn’t there. I checked my other pocket. Not there either. I turned and looked back down the street. Perhaps it fell out of my pocket when I was jogging. Suddenly the door opened and Chris was standing there.
“What are you dong out here?” he said. “I heard someone out here. I thought you were in bed.” He had a baseball bat in his hand.
“I went for a walk.”
“Why are you just standing out here?”
“Look at the sky” I said. “It is beautiful.” We looked up and the clouds had a silver lining from the moon behind them. The trees were black silhouettes against the glowing clouds.”
“Are you coming in now?” he said.
“OK.” I walked inside and wondered if I smelled like Jake’s cologne. “I am going to take a shower” I said and hurried off to the bathroom. Why did I let him kiss me again? OK, that was the last time. Never again. And when I saw him tomorrow, it was going to be strictly plutonic.