Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back to school for my autists

At last. Today is the day. This morning the morning.

I load a guitar, a harmonium, a small stool and a clanking bag full of obscure percussion instruments from the four corners of the earth - dried gourds fight it out with metallic resonating tubes with unlikely holes - into the back of the car.

They are waiting for me outside the pick up room. The boy with the red hair jumps up and down with excitement. He shakes my hand and says "Bonjour" and briefly looks me in the eyes, something that all of them find difficult to do. He takes part in the second session and is steered off to do something else in the meantime. He shouts "RAP" at me eagerly as he leaves.

The girl who is obsessed with keys takes my car keys and struggles with the magic word as she points them at my car and says "abracadabra"... sort of.

It opens and we unload. I coax my keys back from her and we dig the boy who says "frites" out of a deep bath of plastic balls in the corner of the recreation room, and persaude him to release the bright orange one that he has in his mouth. He sits on his seat and jams his fingers in his ears to be sure that the music is at exactly the right volume. He gets up briefly to touch very gently with his fingertips the face of the third musician, the boy who says "oui".

The boy who says "oui" is large and gentle and never says anything other than "oui". We start the familiar chords of the Bonjour song. His face breaks in half with a huge grin.

Another school year has started.


Anonymous said...

This is such a beautifully written post. In the hubbub that has been my morning, when I read this it just gave me such a sense of peace. And an appreciation of the beauty in small moments.

Zhoen said...


Anonymous said...

Harmonium? Have you ever heard Ivor Cutler?

Anonymous said...

Superb and touching. They are lucky to have you in their lives. And how wonderful that you want to see them as much as they do you.

Anonymous said...

A touching post, Rosie. Our little autist started back the other day and is a bit wobbly after six weeks away from the routines of school. Maybe an hour or so with the harmonium and a tube with unlikely holes might have eased his troubled soul a little!

meggie said...

Gillian, you are obviously the perfect joyous person for these people. A gift!