Trevor Didn’t Have Autism

I’ve taken classes on this. In fact, I have a Master’s Degree in Special Education, so I know what I’m about to say isn’t exactly appropriate. But I’ll say it anyway. I used to work with a weird kid. Frighteningly weird. Trevor’s parents and teacher were convinced he was on the autism spectrum, possibly an Asperger’s kid. I’ve worked with autists, though. I’ve been around savants and Asperger’s kids and kids so far gone that all they can do is sit on their haunches and flap their hands. I know autism. Trevor didn’t have autism. I don’t know what he had, but he acted different. Somehow, he even felt different. I don’t mean like the feeling you got talking to him or playing with him, I mean being around him felt…off somehow. It’s hard to explain. My boyfriend doesn’t get it. He thinks I’m nuts about this whole thing. I guess that’s why I’m posting here.

Anyway, I worked in a special ed class with ten kids, but most of our time was spent broken into even smaller groups. I had Trevor and two other kids, the other aide had three, and the teacher had four. I honestly think they gave me Trevor when I started because I was new and they didn’t want anything to do with him. He creeped them out. He creeped me out, at first, but so did the kid who threw up all the time. Eventually, Trevor became my buddy. We had actual conversations even though the aide and the teacher hadn’t heard him say a single word before I was hired on. Trevor also used to have obedience problems but, once we developed a rapport, it seemed like I could get him to behave with the quickest of glances. He was a good little guy, even if he was really weird.

A few months into working with him, Trevor decided he wanted to know all about me. Every day at recess I would walk with him to a small oak tree he liked, and every day it was a new set of questions: where was I born, how old was I, what did I want to be when I was a kid, Avengers or X-Men? He remembered each answer and built off of them the next day, asking in his innocent, inquisitive, almost feline way. And then the questions got downright bizarre. One day Trevor asked if my arm still hurt from my car wreck. I’ve only ever been in one car wreck, a t-bone in high school. I dislocated my shoulder and totaled my car in that accident and, sometimes, my shoulder still bothered me. I was pretty sure I hadn’t mentioned it in class, but not 100% so I let it slide.

The next day, again at his oak tree, Tevor asked me a question I knew for a fact I had’t talked about in class. In fact, I had tried to not even think about the event for years.

“Why did Chris want to hurt you?”

Chris was a boyfriend from college. A boyfriend, a stupid mistake, a violent criminal, and a potential rapist. We met in a Psych survey course. He was a year older than me and he looked really good in a tank top, one of those smaller arm hole kind that shows off the muscles but keeps the hair under control. Ladies know what I’m talking about. Anyway, we went on a few dates before Chris suggested we watch Archer at his dorm room. I agreed, but Chris wanted to do more than watch TV. We made out a little but then I stopped it. Chris got really angry. I left. The next date went the same way. I figured it was typical horny guy hormones and he would calm down eventually. When he didn’t, I broke up with him. That was when the trouble started. He started following me. One night I actually called campus police to request an escort back to my dorm. Chris picked the lock one night and left flowers and a long poem on my couch. When I didn’t call him, he broke in again and confronted me. I ended up with a broken rib, a cracked cheek bone, and a missing tooth. My roommate came home when Chris was unbuckling his belt and I was trying to stay conscious on my kitchen floor. I can never thank her enough for her perfect timing.

When Trevor asked me about Chris, it brought up a lot of things I didn’t want to think about. Dark things. About what he did to me. About what I wanted to do to him.

“I don’t know,” I told Trevor.

He held my hand and looked at me. Almost through me. Then he said, “Sometimes there are bad people. I’m happy you’re ok,” and ran off to play with Duplos.

Like I said, he was a weird kid. And he didn’t have autism. I don’t know why, but that tiny, almost insignificant talk with Trevor took a weight off my shoulder that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. But how had he known?

I pondered that for weeks until yesterday. Trevor was unusually quiet most of the day until we were walking to his oak tree at recess when he started crying. I asked what made him so sad. For a while he couldn’t talk, but once he got his sobbing under control he said, “I won’t see you again after today.”

I freaked. This kid knew things about me that my boyfriend doesn’t know, that my parents don’t know. What did he know about the next day? Another car wreck? Was Chris out of prison and looking for me? I stayed home today with my doors locked and didn’t do any driving at all.

At 2 PM I got a call from my school. There had been an accident. An old man had fallen asleep while driving and plowed through the field at recess time. Trevor was pulling leaves from his oak tree at the time. The car pinned him between the oak’s trunk and the car’s hood. He was dead before the paramedics arrived.

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