Apple Orchard
Jeff Kubina

I showed up at Tyoma’s school my obligatory 15 minutes early and waited for other mom’s to assemble. Fortunately, Roumanian Grandma was there to keep me company. I think that we an unspoken camaraderie since in a way we are outsiders. I am a total spazz, and she is a Roumanian National, far from home. i did mention to her that T has ASD, and she looked so sorry for me. I think she was surprised to hear how well he speaks and how fantastic his memeory was. We all loaded up on a big yellow school bus and sat at the back, the noisyest part.

I was surprised to find that we were going to another school to pick up other kids. As we drove to Mastricola, Tyoma shouted “All aboard!” just like on the Dinosaur Train. The school bus was like a huge lurching boat. it seemed to float rather than drive and it even had the slight sway of a ship on the ocean. Freaky.  If this troubled T, he did not say. He was thrilled about the bus ride and began singing his Dinosaur ABC’s

Other folks were listening in on our patter, which was actually quite lighthearted. I noticed Miss Ann with her inscrutable smirk and wondered if Tyoma has been reciting his dinosaur ABCs all week. Nahh, most likely she was thinking “Like Mother, like child.”

Our ride was smoggy, boyant and a bit frightening. Our driver would swing a turn on a dime and I felt certain that the whole bus would tip over or at least teeter on two wheels. i literally had to remind myself that she knows what she is doing, but when turned up the rutted and uneven road to the orchard, I felt the jostling shudder to an end as our balance seemed precarious.

We arrived safely and I seemed like the only one felt that the ride was as thrilling as tyoma who was jazzed beyond belief. next stop was a tractor drawn “hay ride.” Rickety was not the word for the cart we rode on, over small for the children parents and teachers that crowded onto it acutely aware of the mothers and children hunched up next to me. tyoma felt the same discofort and i tried to block him off some personal space teacher from another school prompted me to move. i was about to speak up and say, no, we need space when i looked to miss jerry who was just as scrunched up with one of tyoma’s autistic peers, who was enduring equally cramped conditions without complain. so, i moved. the side rail to my right came disconnceted an a techer held ity on as we took our ride

amazingly able to relax and enjoy the ride poking closeness was distracting. tyoma immediately and loudly complained about the heat, about his jacket and about wanting out. i was mortified. he was the only kid complaining and all i could say was we’ll be there in a second honey. “I’m Hooo-ot. I want out! When will we get there? I want ooooo-ut!” I was clueless. I could not think of what to say, really, and the more i thought about not knowing what to say, the less focused i was and able to intereact with tyoma.

Finally we arrived and diembarked from the hayride. Tyoma ran off, which seemed like an excellent idea. I follwed him to a quiet spot while everyone else gathered around the farmer to hear his little spiel. we were the only ones off on our own. i steered t back to overhear the plans, find an apple, pick it and eat it. These trees are okay, these are not. So we found a mishapen fruit dangling from a stunted tree

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