Monday, September 28, 2020

The Autist: Jenna

The Autists: JennaThe burning chapel had six of us in it.

Right now, the flames were simply a fiery wall that engulfed the front doors and kept the mob at bay.

I stomped out the single torch they had thrown in. There was plenty of light to see by. Nothing else was burning except the candles in their stands.

Then my guide told me we all needed to join hands in order to escape.

As we did, the rest of the interior suddenly burst into a roaring conflagration.

To the rest of that village outside, we all died that day.

Which was the point, I imagine.

But that’s not how we really ended up…


The kitchen inside the house was simple, small, and efficient. One person could prepare and cook a meal, as well as set the table, all without moving from a couple square feet between the stove, refrigerator, and table. You’d just have to get used to thinking tiny and simple. And plan things out in advance, developing and sticking to successful patterns.

We were sitting at the sturdy, solid wood kitchen table. A large plate of brownies and a dew-covered stainless carafe were both between us. Small plates had individual helpings of brownies, while tumblers filled with iced tea within reach for each of us.

I was reminded of the phrase heaven on earth. As long as it could fit into the two rooms of this small house.

Joe finished his current brownie first, but waited for me.

I used a cloth napkin to wipe the crumbs off my smiling, satisfied face. “OK, Joe, here’s the deal. I’m a teacher at heart, even though I love being a research student. And you’re a mentor.”

Joe frowned a bit.

“Joe, don’t get your knickers in a twist. Gaia gave me the blow-by-blow of how you and your buddies worked together on that last problem. And don’t think I wasn’t around as a virtual fly on the wall. After all, that was my future you were affecting, too.”

He smiled. “Like maybe you two have some other plans for me?”

I returned his smile. “And like we even need to try to keep ahead of that future-guessing math-mind of yours.”

He shrugged.

“But you’re right, though. We did know that you three guys would get that problem solved, that afterwards you personally were going some place where you could wait for people to come to you for help. All this -” I gestured around the tiny kitchen and house, “is just a way we thought would be a short cut to getting things moving more quickly.”

“But – ‘mentor’?” Joe was frowning again.

“Sounds better than ‘helper’. Its root is from ‘mens-‘ which means ‘to think’ – something that you’re pretty good at. So you help people think through their problems.”

Joe relaxed as he thought through this explanation. Taking another brownie helped him accept it.

Gaia and I had another as well. Since there was no rush – and those delicious-smelling fresh brownies were too tempting to let them just sit there while he was munching away. Joining in has never been so tasty.

At last, he broke the silence – once he’d finished off his tumbler of tea as well.

“OK ladies. But you said you had a job for me – or did I assume too much?”

Gaia looked at me, then back at Joe. “I think you’ll like this one. Compared to saving the world, it’s a walk in the park.”

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