79: Sound of a Sunset

79: Sound of a Sunset

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum

Sound of a Sunset

A sunrise or sunset can be ablaze with brilliance and arouse all the passion, all the yearning, in the soul of the beholder.

~Mary Balough

Griffin, my fourteen-year-old autistic son, makes a lot of noise. A LOT of noise. If he is not sleeping there are always loud sounds emanating from him. We have the maniacal laugh and other verbal stims. There is the sound of him slapping his torso for hours on end. Most of all there are the questions. If he weren’t so cute I would swear the relentless questioning is some sort of KGB plot to drive me insane.

Sometimes, I want a tattoo that says “Yes, I like elevators and Wilford is awesome” on my forehead to at least cut out fifteen percent of the questions I get every hour. “No. We are not moving,” and “To the bathroom. I am going to the bathroom,” would eliminate about another nine percent.

Considering the relentless noise, when Griffin is quiet we get nervous. It sneaks up on you. Like the other evening when Mrs. Big Daddy and Lil Sis were out and the boys were left at home. I was doing a crossword and heard Griffin go to the kitchen with the stated purpose of getting a drink of water. I heard him fill his cup and then . . . nothing. For about forty-five seconds I heard nothing. He had not left the kitchen. He wasn’t giggling. I got no questions. Silence.

I went to the kitchen to investigate and there stood Griffin, staring out the window at a magnificent sunset. He turned to me, as lucid and “in our world” as I’ve ever seen him, and said, “Daddy. That is a beautiful sunset.”

It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen. Before I could answer him, Griffin was off to his room to start giggling and, I’m sure, to think of new ways to ask me the same questions I’ve already answered thousands of times. In the meantime, I stood in the kitchen, crying, for what seemed to be an hour.

~F. Lewis “Big Daddy” Stark

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