A face that’s always sad. I saw it smile. I am not the reason. I always wanted her to smile. It isn’t that she was never happy or laughing or smiling, she did it all. Often. But rarely was she “in her senses” while laughing uncontrollably.
Two years since we discovered that Zuni was autistic. I don’t remember when she stopped being “normal” and turned into this strange kid. My mother still thinks it’s a jinn possessing her.
She’s not the same person she was for the first 18 months of her life. She used to play with me, we used to sing rhymes and hymns together, we went to this park in our neighborhood and on the slides she used to slide in my arms.
She stopped being that person and I didn’t understand.
We’ve been trying. But finances, personal fights and personal incapabilities do not allow us to “cure” her through therapy.
Today I brought her to the same old neighborhood park. A woman was playing with her kid making detergent bubbles. Zuni was trying to dismantle the swing handles when a bubble started dancing in front of her. She must have been so extremely fascinated by it that she stopped playing and ran towards the bubbles.
I was sitting and as she ran suddenly I got up to catch her but stopped as she stopped. She tried to catch the bubbles. But each one burst before it even landed on her palms. She tried to catch them as if they were balls. When she couldn’t she became angry and started trampling them under her feet, jumping over and over again.
She stopped and looked at her sweater sleeve. She took her fingers slowly to her sleeve. Again the anger set in and she started jumping on the spot angrily.
Then she did the unexpected. She stood still. And very gently spread her palm. And she had a bubble on her palm. And I could see her smile, which widened. She turned and looked at me. And smiled.