Since Jim and Charlie started doing their long (11 1/2 mile) local bike rides (Jim remeasured the distance), they have been in the vicinity of a hamburger stand we used to frequent when Charlie was little. We had stopped going there years ago (not soon after Charlie threw a plate of fries) and he had adamantly said 'no!' about returning. But they first went the Monday of Spring Break and then last Sunday (after Saturday's storm) he had asked and enjoyed his burger on the metal counter outside after dousing a plate of fries with ketchup and not eating them.
Friday he and Jim stopped there on their bike ride. Charlie had thrown his water bottle at school and broken it though had an otherwise good day. He smiled on the bike ride and went up to his room afterwards.
When he came down about 45 minutes later he had a certain glazed, affect-less look on his face and hovered around me as I cut up a watermelon and cleaned up a little in the kitchen.
Then he threw a box of books, cleared off a row of photos from a shelf, dumped the bag of empty aluminum cans. He banged his head and screamed and grabbed and tried to bite. While Jim stayed with him, I grabbed a red mat we had bought after consulting with Charlie's school and he went right to it and knelt, still screaming and crying and banging. But seeing the mat gave him a focal point and he calmed far faster than on Saturday. He sat for a long time in the brown chair, asking for a walk (we counseled 'later' but actually never went) and yelled 'Rocco Portia!'. The latter is a reference to Jim's brother-in-law and his dog, who used to (the dog, that is) terrify Charlie when she ran into his grandparents' house. Charlie cried. After almost an hour of sitting together, Charlie seemed ok and went upstairs.
He came down for a snack in between turning on the shower twice. At midnight, he turned on the shower again and the sound of the toilet flushing meant, he must be feeling better, finally. After using his iPad to watch some videos and 'type B' for a few rounds, he fell asleep.
And we were left thinking, best to skip the hamburger stand awhile. It was always a place fraught with memories: We went there at a time Charlie was having lots of difficulties in the public school special ed programs in our town. Or maybe the food always has given him stomach trouble (why he once threw the fries). Maybe that's another reaons why he's been unable to sleep for the past couple of weeks?