I Can't Speak | Teen Ink

I Can't Speak

June 21, 2015
By WriterForLife SILVER, Baltimore, Maryland
WriterForLife SILVER, Baltimore, Maryland
6 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have

Head slightly drooped, I walk into the room. Same table, same ten grey chairs, same chalkboard. It smells good, as usual, and no one is here yet. I sit down on the side of table closest to the door and sit near the end of the table. I spin around in my chair and plug my phone charger into the outlet behind me. The bright red charger reminds me of the Arrowhead crowd: strong and powerful. I spin back around and pull out my notebook, filled with quickly-written notes and football plays.


Football plays. Like spread concepts and zone-blocking schemes. Those are my favorite to draw. My favorite team, the Chiefs, use them too.

I sit back and look around the room. It is small, but comfortable and well lit. It's my second home. It's where me and my other family meets to talk about favorite subject, in relative peace and quiet. Other family? Absolutely. I'm not part of any other groups or clubs, so this one is very close to my heart.

Its almost time to start, maybe ten minutes till. I turn my alerts on my phone to "silent". I don't want to interrupt.

Five minutes till, and still no....

A guy walks in. He's usually the first one there after me. Today, he wears jeans and a woolly sweater. He's got his work with him in his brown bag, which he places on the floor next to him.

"How's it going?" I ask, pretty sheepishly, not even looking at him.


"Good" the guy replies, walking over to the trash can to toss something into it.

Someone else comes in. A tall girl. She's got odd hair. No, its not dirty or anything of the sort, but its everywhere. All over her head. Maybe frizzy is a better description. She's got a laptop with her, black I think. It's under her arm, and I'm not really looking to see the color. She plops down in one of the chairs towards the end of the table and starts talking about a TV show she had recently watched.


And no, I wasn't listening. Up to this point I was absorbed in my own thoughts. What I was reading, how I was going to read it, any changes I needed to make, and how I felt about my work. The girl kept talking about the show, and since I was completely uninterested, I kept thinking. It's one of my habits to get really focused on something, internally just as much so as externally. It's what I do.

Another girl walks in. Shorter, but with dark brown hair. She sits down across from the guy and pulls out her phone. Black. Purple. Blue. Ah, I'm not sure. Again, I'm not all too interested. Many people have phones, so it's not a big deal.

The teacher walks in. Finally, we can get started. Everyone else says "hello" or "hi" to him, but all I can do is put out the same whole hearted, but half-hearted sounding "h..e..ll..o". Unlike most, he actually hears my monotonous whisper and replies back. Gratefully, he doesn't ask any more questions.

I never look people in the eye. They could be standing right in front me, and I'll still get distracted by something that's behind them. A car, another person. Not that I'm trying to be disrespectful, its just that eye contact, wait for it, hurts. I don't know why it hurts, but every time I try, I get a headache and I have physical pain, maybe tension in my back or arms. Not only do I feel pain, but I also feel uncomfortable. Shaking and twitching is the first sign I'm having trouble, but I really try to hide it because I don't want to look like an idiot.


Too late.

Because I get so little satisfaction from eye contact or anything of the like, I rarely invite it or seek it. I guess that's why nobody takes me seriously.

I really don't like answering questions, either. I don't like talking period, particularly to other people. Not that I don't have anything to talk about, I do. My writing, football, history, current events. It's just that I can't speak. No, I'm not mute. I can speak, form, and interpret words just fine. It's a different kind of muteness. There are people who are mute, but they can speak in other ways. With expressions, gestures, warm feelings. I can talk just fine, but I feel like I'm talking to bricks. I really do. Why? Because I can't pick up gestures, warm feelings, and expressions. It's like a the way a baby acts. Hungry? Cry. Thirst? Cry. Need to sleep? You bet, more crying. It's the nonverbal communication that makes me so useless.

You could have the warmest smile, nicest face, and gentle touch, and it would all fall at my feet. Like bullets coming at Neo. You could be absolutely evil, with cruelty and hatred dripping off of you, and you'd get the same response. You could love me, and I'd give you the same response as I would if you said you hated me. No, really, try. This blankness (Okay, Swift fans, blank space) is what makes it so hard to share, and the reason why I have no friends. You wouldn't befriend someone whom you did something really good for, and all they gave you back was a monotonous whisper of a "you're welcome", would you? So that's how I've lived. It's kept me out of trouble a lot of times, because people just avoid me. That's great if you're a good-for-nothing troublemaker, but what if you're a potential friend, a pretty girl, or someone who honestly needs some directions? That's where things get hard. Again, I don't like talking to other people because it registers pain, almost immediately. Of course, your body does whatever it can to avoid pain, and it directs your brain to do the same. So what happens? I wind up not talking to anyone.

You know what's funny? I still feel pain. I have no one to talk to, to consult with, or to share with. I am emotionally empty. "Yeah right. who cares. I'll blow them off anyway" is my usual thought process, but other times, I feel differently. "What if there's someone out there that really likes me, wants me, needs me? What then?" I don't have an answer to that question. Never have, maybe never will.

Finally, the last girl walks in and closes the door behind her. Beautiful, with long, jet-black hair and brown eyes. I also notice her soft hands. She sits down next to me and quietly wrote some notes in her notebook. She hummed a familiar tune, but I couldn't place the words, or the artist. I liked her immediately, a lot too, but I didn't know what to say.


"Talk to her" says the voice in my head.
I say nothing.
"Say something" the voice continues.
"Shut up" says another voice.
"Come on" the voice huffs, impatiently.
I close my eyes.

I wake up, and class is over. Everyone is packing their things and leaving.
"That's it?" I think, saddened by the end.

I yank the charger out the outlet in the wall and toss it into my bag. I quietly get up from my chair and head to the bathroom, towards the back of the building. I splash some water in my face, my head a cyclone of bitter rage and torment.

"What were you doing?"
"Are you crazy?"
"You suck, man. She was right there."
"You don't have it bro"

The faces look at me, full of disappointment, confusion, and mockery.

I look back at them, grieving bitterly. I had failed once more. They look at me, like they're waiting for an answer, but I'll never answer their questions. I can't give them an answer.


Because I can't speak.

The author's comments:

Chronicling my life....with Aspergers 

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This article has 1 comment.

NAMgirl13 said...
on Jul. 4 2015 at 9:48 am
NAMgirl13, Baltimore, Maryland
0 articles 4 photos 3 comments
This is phenomenal. Made me cry! :')