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Fallen Star

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His hands cover his face as he struggles to keep the tears in. I repeat myself with growing impatience. "Kristian, it's not that hard. What is 8 times 4?" He just stares at his homework. "I don't know."
"C'mon Kristian, try harder. What's 8 times 2?" Nothing. Many failed attempts at making math easier later, I give up on him and resume my Glee marathon. An hour later, I go back into the kitchen, and my brother is still working on his homework. His eyelids are slowly creeping, getting lower and lower. His head jerks as he tries to stay awake. At that moment, I am only annoyed by his lack of intelligence. Now, I think back to that moment and realize how difficult the simplest things are for Kristian.
As I drive him to school the next day, I don't say anything beacause the morning is not kind to my energy level, but Kristian is having a difficult time just sitting still. His doll-sized hands are wide enough to be stars. They sparkle all over my stereo system. Disney radio? No, KISS FM. Wait! Power FM. He goes on and on about how today is going to be a great day at school. At last, we have arrived. "Get out of my car, Kristian," I mumble. Kristian clicks the door open, steps out and tells me that he loves me. His love caught me off gaurd, and I manage to give him a half smile. He pushes the car door away. What happens next jolts my senses awake. Before the door closes completely, I hear someone call Kristian, a husly boy who was still in his preteens and loves with the heart of a man in his deathbed, something I wasn't prepared to hear. Retard. What an ugly and disrespectful word that is. Retard. What should I do? Do I get out of the car to defend my baby brother? Would that only embarrass him and make things worse? I keep my eyes on him as he is followed by the ridicule. He doesn't turn and yell at the culprit nor does he break down and cry. His mission was to have a good day at school today no matter what.
All of a sudden, my heart hurt for Kristian, and I felt so ashamed of myself for giving up on him. I cried on my way to school because there had to have been hundreds of insults thrown at him every day for being autistic, and he would never retaliate with hatred. I hurt him by showing my impatience when he couldn't answer a simple math question, and he still said, "I love you" the next morning. What kind of a role model have I been for my brother? I get through the day by focusing on my school work. My friends get fake smiles and minimal conversations from me. Sometimes, the most important things don't matter when there's something else occupying your thoughts. My drive home was overwhelmingly silent. The ringing of no sound grew into a deafening bass. How can such silence be so loud? Thud. My heart drops down near my belly like the Superman at Six Flags, and my chest becomes heavy. I pray for forgiveness. I pray for my brother and thank the Lord for being with him. The sun peeks out of the darkness and I feel a warm kiss from God. Like a father kisses the tips of your fingers after a nasty paper cut. "Don't pity him, just love," He says. This simple revealing of grace was sufficient enough to settle my thoughts. It was time to replenish myself.
When I finally get to plop down on my couch, my hand extends towards teh burnt orange pillow and bring it to my head. The soft suede surface conforms to my heavy skull and jawbone. With one exhaling of stress, I drift to sleep. "Darlene! Get off the remote!" Kristian had been trying to roll me off the couch by pushing his feet against my side adn bracing himself with his back on the wall. His tiny body just couldn't do it. The frantic and annoyingly high-pitched pleas managed to wake me up. Despite my after-nap grump, I pull his shoulders towards em and lock him in an embrace. "Let me go! I want to watch Bakugan," he exclaims over and over. As I finally release him from my death hug, he says, "I love you too. Always."





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