- Vol. 10
- Chapter 10
“Vroom! Vroom!” Rocking in his wheelchair, Jake makes a grabbing motion with his hands.
I smile and pass him two little diecast models.
“Bang! Bang!” he shouts, crushing them heads on.
The motion is on repeat, over and over again, until both vehicles are just a mash of metal and paint. He then drops them onto the floor, into a slowly growing pile of scrap metal cars and looks up at me.
On autopilot, I unbox a new pair and hand it over to him. His high-pitch scream pierces my ears, as I note that one of the cars is an ambulance.
“I’m sorry buddy! I am so sorry.” I reach for a new box.
“Autistic. Non-verbal,” said the doctors.
“It will be alright,” you assured me. “After all, we’re a team.”
And for some time, we were just that – a team. Until one day you’ve decided you’ve had enough, and started taking longer hours at work, just to be out of the house for as long as you could.
“Vroom. Vroom,” Jake would repeat, sitting up late by the bay window, waiting for your car’s headlights to flood the driveway.
“Vroom! Vroom!” he’d scream if I tried to put him to bed before you were back home.
Long hours at work progressed into weekends away, social things, networking or hanging out with your mates, until one day you’ve just packed your things, shoved the suitcase in the boot of your car and slammed the door.
“Vroom! Vroom!” Jake ran after you into the dark street, as you revved the engine and reversed to come out of the driveway.
You didn’t see him. You were too angry to see anything. But that’s not what you said to the police; you blamed the council and the broken streetlights. You didn’t blame me, which was new.
Ambulance arrived within ten minutes and took Jake away. Total strangers showed your son more love and compassion than you ever did.
What followed after, were the long hours of surgery and recovery, witness statements and court hearings and you making empty promises and begging me to lie for you. After all, we were a team.
I scoop Jake up from his wheelchair. His hands lock strong around my neck, but his legs hang limp as if he’s a rag doll. We go through the evening routine and settle for the night. I crawl into his small bed, cradling him in my arms.
“Vroom. Vroom,” he mumbles, slowly drifting off to sleep, a small ambulance pressed tight against his chest.
“Yes, my darling,” I whisper into his hair. “Vroom, vroom.”