Thought of being touched, physical invasion by another’s
intention, repels me. Touch implies terrible associations,
magnified over time.
Mostly I avoid detection by others’ senses.
Mostly I strike, take initiative, control the scene.
I have no issue with Autumn’s spontaneous affections.
Her presence offers calming elation both fantastic and real.
“After publicly praising my skills, my dad liked to privately
remind me: Talent isn’t a gift, Princess. It’s a privilege.
Privileges are only as good as others can be persuaded
to honor them.”
She, as I do, tries to make a coherent story. Her reason
carefully considers salient memory, sage-like advice;
synthesizes her range of influences into precarious guide.
“There’s no honor, no market here for my precious talents.
I’m just weirdo tightass loner without a cause. My mom’s
too out of it to notice what I do. If I didn’t have you to be me
with, I’d probably just devolve into schizo-nutzo mumbling
about aliens and end-times.
Oh, yeah, without you I’d probably be dead – torn apart by
packs of angry thugs out for some wilding.”
She attempts to soften harsh truth with sarcastic laughter.
But then, as if in sudden awareness of contrition, she turns,
hugs me full body fierce, eyes up close shining with love.
“You do know, I’m not just using you because I have no one
else. You know how important, what you mean to me.”
She relaxes, smiles genuinely.
I gladly take her hands, lock eyes, assure her of mutuality.
“Autumn, your talents aren’t for them. They are not your
audience. Your wonderful imagination, your courage and strength,
your aesthetic precision, your passion, are yours. They are
gifts you give yourself. They are gifts you can choose to share,
but only by your free choice.”
I believe what I tell her with a passion of my own.
It occurs to me as acute pain that our arrangement is not assured
to either of us forever. I have found prospects for day rooms, an
imminent change to be accommodated. I have noticed Autumn’s
mood move downward, despite our daily mutual admiration.
Maybe it’s the heat, the light, this pesky summer irritation.
All I have known is to be alone, unseen, self-reliant, dependent
on my own abilities. My talents seem to be more about what I lack
in social context. Who am I to be mentor or friend or confidante?
I have no role to model. I have no confidence to convey. Where are
the real people to guide her, offer hope and direction? What are these
mortals thinking that they ignore their children to take on whatever
fancy appeals, to have no clear identity, to waste in aimless confusion
years of their limited time?
Not my problem, I suppose. Only mine in that I care in this instance.
And what does it matter what I care?