Grade 7, Elementary school.
You wake up, eat your breakfast, and wait, wait for that school bus to pick you up, waiting, telling yourself every day is a new, but you just don’t see it, the odds are never in your favor. You wait, trying to stay hopeful, maybe something will change, today, or tomorrow, next month, or next year. This is the thought you have to stay positive; this is your Achilles’ tendon to your sanity.
The sound of wheels, crushing the pavement, this is what you hear as the school bus appeared in your vision. You watch it as it comes closer, and stops, at your house. You know what to do, a normal person would get in without any drama, that’s what you want to be, so you get in, no tantrums, no crying, no bullshit.
The people in your bus are the usual, you know, your classmates, well, not the “normal” classmates, as what you call. Your classmates, the ones deemed and labeled “special need.” That’s your classmates. You know you don’t belong with them; you deserve to be with the normal classmates, no special class, none of that bullshit. However, parts of you know that you do indeed, belong with them. You are born like them, hell, you act the same way as them in the past. They don’t care about you now, all they see is a special need kid that needs help.
Crying, hand flapping, and other noises or gestures, you know, the kind you expect to see in disabled or autistic people. You know, what people think you do. The normal people are used to your classmate’s behavior, and ignores it, sometimes, even trying to be nice about it, like a young maid babysitting a child. This is how your special need classmates are treated, and this is how you’re treated too, despite you’re personally and true self. Unwritten school rule: Special need classmates must be treated with caution, and with (fake) kindness and acceptance. This is so damn obvious that they might as well put it in the actual rules.
As the bus wheel starts rolling, the wheel on your train of thoughts starts rolling too. Stopping you from processing what your other more classmates deemed on the “worse end of the spectrum” does. Parts of you feel bad about them; the dark parts of your finds them cringy, you want to make fun of them behind their backs, like what the normal people do, just to feel “normal”. However, most parts of you don’t want to care about them, or have anything to do with them. After all, all humans are harsh towards each other, as you experienced firsthand in your childhood.
You thought about yourself, autistic, spending most of your time in special class, playing board games with others, and rarely, learn with the normal class. That’s one of your favorite, and most painful moments, being with the normal class.
The school bus stops as your classmates’ walks out of the bus. You walk out of the bus with them, trying to look cool, or something, looking at the normal people, walking to school, together or by themselves, biking to school; parents drop them off, whatever. None of them however, comes by bus. In your school only the kindergartens and special need class gets dropped off by bus. Looking at them in envy and hatred, a desire to be like them, live out a normal life. You’re sure some of them saw you, but they ignored you, and hanged out with other normal friends. You could sell your soul to the devil to live again, just like them. However, the devil never offer that deal.
You sighed as you walked into your classroom, the classroom for the special need ones. The teachers looked at you, showing off their fake smile and happy tone. “Hey! How’s your day?” “Welcome back! I hope you had a nice week; we miss you already and all that bullshit. The unwritten school rule where special needs get differently treated applies especially to the teachers. It was disgusting.
Most of the time, you just try to focus on your work, the overly simple work, trying to forget about life, and that urge to cry, maybe in another normal classmate’s arm. All you can do was, smile, like how smiling and being happy was encouraged in your classroom. What they don’t know is all the things, the story, the darkness under your smile, under that mask you wear; it’s amazing what a smile can hide.
You heard the recess bell, a thing in elementary school. You know what to do, lineup like a good kid and get your ass outside, and then what…. You think. There are tones of stuff to do outside together; it’s amazing how creative people can be about being together in a field. However, if you’re by yourself, then you’re out of luck.
You watch them in envy, those lucky pricks, hanging out and playing soccer together, you wish you can join them, except that your shy, and that even if they let you in, they’ll go easy on you, let you score, not even trying to stop you, like how they are when they were told to play soccer with other autistic classmates. That humiliation isn’t worth it. That’s when it comes, the tear in your eyes, as you ran into the bathroom, and sob, no one can hear you, the normal people are too busy having fun. The only arm you can cry into is your own, an unwritten rule in your life, keep your sanity strong by yourself, no one else will help you, at least, effectively help without treating you like a child.
The recess ends, and you wipe your tears off with the toilet paper, running back outside to line up as if you’ve been outside all the time, doing….what special class needs does outside at recess, I guess.
You line up and waited, as you go back to your special need classroom. Knowing what’s happening, some classmates on the lower ends of the spectrum, including you, get to go to the normal class, hang out and learn with those normal classmates. Just hope that maybe, today, they will see you as a actual person, instead of someone with autism, just maybe, or maybe not, not today at least, as you eventually discovered.
As you walk up the stairs, you looked around, lockers lining up the side of the hallways, like a mouth lined with flesh. You looked at those people, the normal people, looking back at you, the kid being escorted by your teacher into the classroom. You see their friendly and deceptive smile, addressing you as another autistic classmate deep in their mind, deep inside their repressed thoughts.
You walked into the classroom, looking at everyone, with a friendly look in your eyes. However, deep down in your mind, is all the repressed hatred for them, the repressed lust for some of the more…. Sexy looking girls in the class, you know they’ll never be into you, but you don’t worry about those, all you worry about is being friends with the classmates, or at least, be accepted as a actual person, and not a autistic child.
You did the work, listening to them talk about the work, helping each other, and talking about the more interesting stories in their lives, together. You can’t help but think about what your missing out in life because of your autism. Then, the teacher’s word got your attention.
“We’re splitting into groups of four for this project.” This is the keyword; this is the sentence you care about the most. And yes, the teacher said more than that, but this is the sentence that got the most attention, the rest of what she says is dead in your mind. You look around, trying to find a group to join, and then it was deicide, and most of the normal group was paired up with the normal group, with the exception of two. I could see the “I hate my life” look on their face as they had no option but to partner with the special need class.
You worked together with them on the project, sometimes talking to each other. However, you can feel the tone in the voice, the tone of someone forced to babysit a young child. It’s funny how the teachers told us “See, they’re pretty welcome to you guys.” How much of a straight up lie that is. It’s pretty ironic.
The bell rings as everyone rushes outside to go home, or hang out with their friends after school. For you however, the only option is to go home. Even if you get invited to hang out with them after school, the bus driver will get impatient and tell you to get on the bus, making you stand out. That is, if people cared about hanging out with you, so you got on the bus, and drove away, wondering why you have to put up with this s*** in life every day, every week, every month…..
Every day is a new day, right?
Grade 7, Elementary school.