You can’t just separate the good from the bad in a person. That’s what makes things so confusing. But I like to remember the good because it lets me know what I do want. I’m pretty certain I know what I don’t.
- He was funny. He had jokes. And he wanted me to know them. They were always corny, but they conveyed that he wanted to make me feel good and at ease.
- He had thousands books that he loved for the ideas inside them. Sometimes the colors. He gave me a pair of red/blue lenses glasses that feel trippy to see through.
- He had music that moved him. Like, really moved him.
- In those early morning hours that only intimate lovers know as exhaustion and joy, his voice became smooth and assured and his warmth filled the room like aerosolized dopamine. He felt like the personification of safety.
- When I laid in the crook of his arm, and he had to cough (lingering coughs being winter’s biggest accessory), he’d place his hand on my head and squeeze it just enough so I didn’t bounce off his frame.
- He had this eye for beauty that I have rarely, if ever, seen. Every thing he did was deliberate and with intention of functionality and beauty down to the tiniest details.
- He’d stare at me when I talked…about anything, really…and I’d catch on that he was besotted with me.
- When we were in public, he wasn’t overwhelming with PDA (I’m not a fan) but he would very lightly touch me…on my head, my shoulder, my arm, my leg…as a cariño…a discreet show of affection.
- He learned what snacks I preferred and got them for me. It showed he paid attention.
- He listened to my stories. He liked them.
- When he said “thank you,” you felt his actual gratitude.
- He knew, completely intuitively, how I needed to be touched. From the very first night. You don’t know how rare that is to meet a stranger who feels like home to you in the best way. And you sink deeper and deeper like meditating under a heated blanket. Like drinking a thick broth that fills your belly and allows you to radiate warmth.
- He was eager to learn. And though it always took him longer to catch on with the emotional things, his mind was on fire. We could riff because our brains worked so similarly. We just understood each other. We were two halves of the same intellect.
And for all this, I could not stay. I had to get out because his damage had turned him into something combustible and bitter.
He was built for giant, beautiful creativity. But no one figured him out early enough to channel him and teach him how to deal with this neurotypical world. It wasn’t that he was broken. It was the world that was broken and he could not transcend its brokenness.
I’m glad to have known him. He was a lesson I needed to learn. He was the part of the ever-mounting evidence that I need to push harder to get results with autism awareness. If someone had gotten to him early enough…he could have been a wonder of the world.
I miss him profoundly. But I do not want to see him. It doesn’t matter how good it could be. I know what I am not willing to compromise. That is another gift of the experience. I said “enough” before I knew I was capable of meaning it, and then I stuck to my resolution. I am stronger than I knew before I met him.