In a few days will it will be exactly one year since the end of my last romantic attachment, brought to an abrupt and bewildering end in a Welsh field.
Since then, I have learned to accept that I am simply best suited to a life of solitude. I would not wish living with me on anyone. It has been a bitter pill to swallow, overturning a lifetime of beliefs, hopes and expectations. Exorcising your self-delusions can be a painful process. It’s not ideal, or comfortable, but reality rarely is.
I do a decent job of blending in most of the time. I can pass for normal quite well, but it takes a lot of effort. The mental commentary I run during conversations… smile here…OK, nod now…keep your legs still…uncross arms, lean forward, tilt head….ask a question…make eye contact but not too long Ok grin and look away…palms open…tell a joke…don’t launch into how we are just monkeys in shoes that want to eat sleep fuck pick each others nits…talk about weather, the TV, the news…these are the protocols, the veneer of civility that must be observed.
Exhausting. People don’t care what you think, only about what they see. And I need my time when I don’t have to observe the rituals that come so easily to others. It is easier to write, to express self and heart in a medium where the physical and verbal do not serve to confuse people.
The next time I meet a highly autistic, “low-functioning” non-verbal person I shall have only one thing to say to them, really. That I understand they are just like everyone else, but just can’t interface the same way as others do. That will comfort them, even if they can’t tell me that it does.
I had also come to the point where I understood that in all likelihood being a parent-at-arm’s-length was likely better for everyone concerned too, that too much “Me” at close quarters was bad for just about anyone.
Just at that point of acceptance… the bombshell dropped. In the shape of the prodigal son. There isn’t anyone, if they were being honest (and people rarely are) who would peg his quirky, awkward, disorganised, anxious, occasionally depressed and mildly poetry-fixated dad as the best option for a place for my son to live. I’m just the last resort and all that’s left between him and much worse options. I wish he had a better option open to him than me.
Not now, but one day, I will offer him an apology for not being the greatest, and hope he gets that I did my best.