Again, 500 words isn’t going to work on this episode. I didn’t want to break up the introductions to Ryan’s team. If you haven’t guessed, these aren’t real names. Thank you for reading and please keep sending it on.
“Um, I guess we should introduce ourselves. My name is Brie,” says the statuesque, blonde, beautiful woman. “Brie Lovegood.” Lovegood? Seriously? Brie has no make-up on, but is stunning; her features are doll-like. Her hair cascades down her shoulders to her back and she looks like she’s just come from the beach. I feel a womanly-jealousy for her beauty, yet her warmth makes her more breathtaking. I have been pre-warned about how beautiful she is, and yes, she was a model. I have also been told that she is the best of Dr. Hunter’s therapists. “Don’t let her laid back way of speaking fool you. She is so intelligent and naturally gifted with autistic children.” So, she gave up modeling to help kids with autism? The reality of that is so amazing it makes me feel so small.
“Hi Brie.” I say quietly and try not to stare at her. She turns to her left to signal the next introduction.
“Oh, um, I’m Adam Berman.” Adam has a hard time looking at me; he seems uncomfortable or maybe very shy. How can he teach my child to maintain eye contact if he can’t handle keeping eye contact with me? Stop. Stop being so negative. I nod at him. Dr. Hunter has told me about Adam too. He is another one of her top therapists. He has just returned from grad school and Dr. Hunter practically exploded with joy (in her reserved, professional manner) that he was able to work on Ryan’ team.
“I will be Ryan’ team supervisor. Did Dr. Hunter explain all that already?” I nod and he shifts nervously as he rubs his hands on his jeans and looks quickly to his left at the next victim.
“Hi…Mrs. Chergey, I’m DJ…” his voice squeaks loudly and he clears his throat. ”DJ Sims.” The room grows quiet and everyone is looking at him.
DJ looks, and sounds like he’s just graduated high school. His skin is shiny and tight like it’s just been washed and it has a hint of dark spots of healing acne. How old is this kid? I can’t think of what Dr. Hunter has told me about him, I know she did, but it’s lost on me at the moment as I bite my tongue at the all too perfect ‘Peter Brady’ “when it’s time to change” moment. If Dan had heard it, he would have immediately pointed it out and everyone would have laughed. That’s what Dan does, he makes even the most brutal, horrific moments in my life funny. He finds humor in everything. He’s rubbed off on me over the years, but lately humor has eluded me—I almost don’t have the energy for it. But it feels good to think of a joke right now, like I’m not the old and tired person I am becoming.
“Hi, DJ.” I say smiling broadly and stifling a laugh. I can’t believe I almost laughed in his face. I sense a pause as they too are trying not to laugh at DJ. He looks down and does not “pass the baton” to the next person.
“Guess that leaves me, I’m Lisa Gunther.” Lisa says as she almost glares at Brie. I can’t blame her. Lisa is very pretty too (are there no ugly women in this business?) but is at least a half foot shorter than Brie. She seems less enthusiastic to be here than the rest, but I know that Dr. Hunter knows what she’s doing.
“Hey, Lisa. It’s nice to meet you all. Dr. Hunter told me she put her best on Ryan’s team…” They smile and nod back at me. “Well, thanks for coming today. This is all…new…to us, so we look forward to…learning how…to…” I think to myself bitterly ‘how to deal with my son’…I need strangers to teach me how to deal with my son. I say instead. “Well…to getting started.”
They all still smile at me and I begin to rub my hands on my legs. What is wrong with me?
Dr. Hunter returns and relieves us all of our uncomfortable moment. Dan comes in carrying Ryan and his frayed blue and yellow quilt. My auntie made it for him when he was born. It goes everywhere with him. I have to literally pry in from his hands at night to wash it. The group on the couch stays seated. He looks at them, turns away and begins to whine.
“Hi.” Dan says a little breathless to the crowd while wrestling with Ryan. “I’ll get all the intro’s later. Where would you like him?”
“Well, after you worked so hard to get him down here, I think he should go back up. Sorry. ” Dr. Hunter answers. “Brie, Adam, you two want to start? And DJ and Lisa can wait outside his room in the hall? I’ll be there in a minute so we can discuss his programming.”
Programming? Is he a computer?
Dr. Hunter turns to me. “Do you have a camera to take our pictures? That is how you will make his schedule in the beginning is with pictures. If you can show him who’s coming he will be more at ease.”
“Sure I said, can we do it after we are done?” I ask. She nods yes.
Dan tries to hand over Ryan, but he squirms out of his arms and runs to me and turns around. I lean down to encircle my arms around him he presses his back to me and give him a quick squeeze as if to tell him It’s okay. I let go and grab his hand as Brie walks to me. She squats down slowly to look at Ryan. She says softly as she looks him in the eye.
“Hey Ryan, let’s go upstairs. Hold my hand. O.k.?”
He looks at her quickly and I feel my mouth fall open and I stare as he puts his tiny hand in hers. I slowly let go of his hand and we all watch them walk away in silence. I don’t know what I feel, but it’s almost like relief with a huge helping of sadness.
It is truly gut wrenching, that I am literally handing my son over.