Monday, April 6, 2015

It’s Not Funny!

The Asperger's traits addressed in this post include:
*Difficulty expressing emotions appropriately
*Much time spent on introspection
*Intense loyalty to friends
Off ran Mary past the sandbox.  Off ran Amy beyond the slide.  And there I was, straddling a bar, deserted by my playmates, and struggling to get down.  Other kids were always faster.  It wasn’t fair.  I had been trying to learn to somersault over the playground bars, but, unlike my nimble friends, I didn’t quite have the “hang” of it yet.

Mary was a ten-year-old tomboy with an older brother and sister to pick on her.  Amy, while she liked to read and sing, was friendly and athletic.  I, on the other hand, was an only child who would rather stay indoors and cross-stitch than climb a tree or run a race.  I was the oldest, having turned eleven in August, and my legs were long.  But sitting still was my habit, and I disliked playing tag.

When I finally swung off the bar to the ground, I hurried after Amy and Mary, crying, “Hey!  Don’t run so fast!”  Panting, I caught up with them at a blue but rusty double swing.  They were sitting together on one side, giggling their heads off.  I wondered why.  I gripped the cold metal swing and leaned forward.  Then I saw the opposite seat.  It was covered with water!  Very funny. 

“I’m not going to sit in a puddle,” I huffed.  I tried to squeeze in between my two chums.  Why wouldn’t they stop laughing?  Amy’s high-pitched giggle rang in my ear.

“It’s not funny!” I yelled suddenly, and I saw my palm come down hard on Amy’s head.

“Sharon Rose, that was rude,” Amy said, all the laughter gone from her voice.  And she stepped out of the swing and walked straight ahead.  Amy’s brown bobbed hair was straggling.  Strange . . . her hair almost always flounced.

I stared after Amy in shock.  The enormity of what I had done came with a sickening lurch.  I heard Mary say, half-jokingly, “I was laughing too.  Why didn’t you hit me?”

I didn’t answer.  I couldn’t realize that I had hit Amy, and I couldn’t understand why.  Sharon Rose, the missionary kid, had never struck anyone before.  Why would I do it now?  And if I were going to hit someone, why not a bully, instead of Amy, the preacher’s kid, who didn’t mean any harm.

The two girls got off the swing and strayed apart.  Neither one of us comprehended the quarrel, which had seemed to come out of thin air.  There was no fun in swinging now.

I tried hard to think of a reason or an explanation for my misbehavior.  I supposed the. . . the exclusion had angered me.  Amy had been MY friend first.  Mary also had been MY buddy, before I introduced the two of them.  I wanted them to be friends with each other, of course, but not without including me.  It wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t nice.

Amy trudged across the sand and into the library.  I felt that a wilderness had come between me and my special friend.  I didn’t know how to make things right.  I was used to doing what was right and good, and so being mean bewildered me.  I wanted to keep Amy’s friendship, but I had never had this problem before, and didn’t know how to solve it.   

Mary and I followed Amy slowly.   Peering into the library, we found Amy looking down at the floor.  Mary pulled me in by the arm and said, with the air of a peacemaker, “Sharon Rose has something to say to you.”  Then she disappeared out the door.

But I couldn’t think of anything to blurt out.  I knew the proper phrase would be “I’m sorry,” but I hated saying I was sorry even more than I hated being wrong.  Oh, I felt awkward.  Why didn’t Amy speak?  She was so cheery most of the time, but even hearing something unkind would be better than silence. 

Of course, I was very sorry, but my mouth wouldn’t say it.  I thought of asking, “Does your head hurt?” but that would be dumb, and I was never dumb if I could help it.

Giving up, I shrugged, left Amy in the doorway, and wandered over to a wooden bench.  I put my head in my hands, leaning my elbows on my knees.  I couldn’t tell how long I sat there, so perplexed and ashamed. 

Then I felt Amy coming towards me, and I looked up timidly.  Amy smiled!  She held out her hand and said with energy, “Let’s make up.”

“Yes, let’s!”  Delighted by such an easy ending to the quarrel we'd been in, I shook my friend’s hand vigorously.  It was my same hand that had struck out, before I'd thought what I was doing.  But that was all forgiven now.  I was forgiven! 

Mary had been watching the reconciliation from a distance.  Now she skipped up, grinning at her pals.         

I jumped up immediately, and we all ran off together.  Amy, Mary, Sharon Rose - all three were laughing.

How this topic applies to Christian living:

Matthew 18:15
Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.