At sea with friends (#8)
Autism and Poetry (1): Sappho's new poem and translating Charlie (#10)

Charlie on a hot black car (#9)

A few days ago (in post #7, "Officer, There's Someone on the Roof"), I remarked, why not have street signs proclaiming, for instance, MY SON HAS AUTISM--NO STANDING IF YOU SEE ANYTHING UNUSUAL?. Provided the sign was glow-in-the-dark, it would have been useful tonight. Night had just fallen after a typical summer day: Adjusting to summer school (it's only the 2nd day); swim at the pool and some dancing on the diving board; trip to Shop Rite, during which we loaded the cart with the literal fruits of summer, berries and cherries, and a variety pack of sushi; sudden moaning in my bedroom; "Daddy here," "Daddy black car," "KISS," as the evening wore on. I assured Charlie his dad was on his way on the train.

Charlie decided to take matters into his own hands and ran out into the front yard to the driveway, where he climbed on the hood and roof of the "green car" (an older station wagon) and then onto the "black car" (a newer station wagon). I sat down on our porch.

"Back car," said Charlie. A teenage boy, checking his cell phone, and a dog walked by. Charlie lay down on the hood of the car, first on his back, then rolling over to his stomach. Moths and small insects flew at me and Charlie, who rubbed his arms.

After five minutes of car-sitting, I proposed we go inside. "It's hot and the bugs are biting."

"No inside," said Charlie, big eyes on me. "Daddy home." Cars rumbled by, 40 mph. (Another sign: SLOW DOWN ALREADY! AUTISTIC CHILD CANNOT TRACK MOVING OBJECTS.)

I swatted my shoulders and forehead. Charlie stretched his grasshopper limbs across the hood of the car. I contemplated driving to the train station and waiting for Jim, but his train was not due for an hour. I rubbed the new bumps on my right temple, went inside and got a little purple plastic chair and sat down on it.

Charlie hopped up and off the car hood. "Mommy sit." He meant that I should stand, as he reached for the chair and carried it back into the house and set it in a neat line parallel with the other little plastic purple chair in the living room. The chairs have been in their same positions since last week, with the soft "Charlie" chair with an old car seat perched atop it behind: The three chairs represent the car with Daddy, Mommy, Charlie seat assignments.

(As you may have gathered, the three of us spend a lot of time in our car. Sometimes it's five-borough junkets across the Hudson, sometimes it's down the shore via the Parkway, sometimes to Pennsylvania to see Charlie's neurologist, sometimes utterly random roadtrips to see, do, or get X, Y, or Z somewhere in New Jersey. It helps that my husband was once a New York City cab driver.)

Charlie had a little something else in mind tonight. "Daddy home, back car. Burger fries!" He said, very serious, and then with a crackerjack smile.

"You had sushi for dinner. Who needs a burger and fries?" I responded.

"Daddy back car, Daddy here, Daddy cummin home, Daddy, Daddy, great job Howie, great job yea!" Pause, then "Wowos photos! Arielah! Stella. Stella!"



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