Scholastic Art&Writing Awards Silver Key : Autistic

I jerk my head up.  The engines are still droning quietly and I can feel that reassuring vibration beneath me. The soft leather seat I am sitting on is still liquor black, and the rectangle still is that pleasant, warm blur of lime green, cantaloupe orange, ash gray, navy blue, and heather purple. I take a deep breath count slowly.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

“Charly!” “…Done everything!” words shout, without the voice.

8, 9, 10.

Sometimes I wish I could hear all the words. I wish everything would stop swishing at me. I wish the tornado of dashing colors and loud words stopped charging at me.

“But I…” “Can’t accept… is auti….” a voice calmly replied.

I hear that word—that last one—a lot like a part of my name, although I don’t know what it exactly is. The word is too fast. It zigzags at the end, leaving a trace of metal black. A color that is a slight tone lighter than black. A color so cold it freezes the heart.

“Jack. Do you…” the calm voice asks.

I know Jack is me. I want to reply, but everything is moving too fast. The vibration that once felt soft underneath me is buzzing in frustration. I glance at the rectangles, but I can’t see anything except a blur of green and gray. The blurs are indistinct. I cannot tell what shades of green or gray they are.

I think I might throw up.

“Jack. Look. Look at me.”

I search for the voice, but I can only see hazy blobs of colors—scarlet, beige, denim. I try hard. But it’s not my fault I can’t get understand. If only the voice was firmer and more distinct. If only I could see them like colors.

“Charly, leave…alone. He’s screaming again…”

The voices stop, and I can take deep breaths again.

I stare outside the rectangle at the left side of me. There is a nice mix of pine green, light sky blue, fossil gray, silver, and crimson. I feel safer now, being able to recognize the colors clearly. I want to shout at the voices, goddammit, why can’t I see you? You’re just shapes of sounds, why can’t I assemble you? Why can’t I see you? Why can’t I communicate with you?

“Charly… bring out. . . let him hold. . .” A voice whispers loudly again.

He gently takes out daffodil yellow from the massive pile of colored papers he hoards in his small caramel brown leather suitcase, then squeezes the color into my hands.

I can suddenly see Charly’s eyes clearly. I look directly at the two blue circles, and think, indigo.

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