I think I’ll kill myself, he says, and start over.
He looks at me with world-weary eyes.
I despise the people who have made him feel so wrong.
He watches with interest as friends throng around his younger brother.
They hang out. have fun. He’s not sure just how that’s done.
Cameron doesn’t do his work, his teacher tells his mom.
He does the minimum, and when we ask for more, he refuses.
The fact is, in the classroom? Your son does as he chooses.
His teachers want to increase his medication.
His Mom just wants him to get an education.
Did the teachers speak to Mrs. Einstein?
Madam, your son spends too much time gazing at outer space.
And when it comes to Mathematics, his work is a disgrace!
Or Leonardo’s Mom?
Mrs. da Vinci? You’re Leo’s mom, right? Well, he doodles all day. Can’t keep his mind
On his work. Draws ‘flying’ machines. And (ahem) did you know he sketches nude men?
Or the mother of Microsoft:
Mrs. Gates, you’ll have to get a tutor to help Billy with his writing.
He’s fighting it. Says he’s going to build some computer: He will speak
and it will type. You must get his mind off this tripe, Mrs. G. Bring him
back to earth or he’ll never be worth anything.
I wonder what Mrs. G. might have had to say, how she and the other mothers
might have responded. Cameron’s mom feels inadequate. Anxious for her son.
He can’t pretend. And anyway, it’s no use now.
Everyone knows he’s different somehow.
His mother tries to ease his pain. His father’s gone.
Last week he promised to come round. And didn’t.
Cameron has Asperger’s or PDD. It’s a condition he lives with.
But Cameron has voiced what he perceives to be another choice:
I think I’ll kill myself, he said, and start this thing all over again.
He looks at me with world-weary eyes and I despise
the people who have made him feel this way
Because Cameron is my grandson and he’s
eight years old today.
M. J. Adam.