We adore my stylist Sharika. She is one of those conscientious, sensitive, and trustworthy people that you can tell any secret. She is also one of those artistic perfectionists who will give you perfect highlights and precise cut. Plus, she has mad skillz with autistic kids.
My fidgety, everything-needs-to-be-just right son loves her. She sprays the comb, not his hair. She and warns him of new sounds and funny sensations. And best of all, she lets him play with her timer. Shakira’s brother has Asperger’s. I don’t need to explain much of anything to her, she knows.
I drive Tyoma almost 40 minutes to see her. We make a day of it. Picnic in the car. Haircut. Trip to Chuck E. Cheese. Even the long ride is celebratory. I tell animated stories and jazz the two of us up. Tyoma is a bit overexcited when we arrive. No worries. Ms. Shakira’s got it under control.
Afterward, Tyoma sucks on a ring pop, looking older as we walk back to the car. Chattering, we ride the elevator in the parking garage for twenty minutes. As we leave, we discover that you can see the first floor pavement through a chink in the elevator floor. This merits another ten minutes of rides and squeals.
When we arrive at Chuck E. Cheese’s, I am glad it is deserted. Nevertheless, everything dings, boops or wails. We buy an obsecene number of tokens and burn through them in an hour. Both of us leave vibrating in synchrony with the arcade. Tyoma walks to the car in his socks, complaining about his shoes being too tight.
As long as we are walking away from the noise, I am okay with that.