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Soggy dissipation. It isn’t cold, why are my legs screaming so? A tight, wet, cold cast is set around legs and feet, so tightly bound, frozen pain pounding at the walls, crying to be set free.

It is raining still. Lucy is telling me pointedly she does not want to go outside. Just now, I tried to get her to do her micturitions. She stood at Maria’s gate, resolutely refusing to budge, indicating to me with her body and eyes that she wanted to visit Maria. I tried to dissuade her. I offered treats, but she refused. I walked around, but she stood rooted. No trick in the book would work. In the end, not wanting to use force on her, I acquiesced. I knocked on Maria’s door. Ok, so Miss Lucy got to say hello. Mum was embarrassed, of course. Less than a minute later, we were happily trotting home! But no, she did not do a wee. Disobliging lady with a mind of her own. Still, as her Godma so aptly put it, Miss Lucy is an excellent communicator. I would like to think I am getting better at figuring it out.

It was a buzzing week. Roller Coaster ups and downs. Battling executive dysfunction, and other comorbid monsters associated with autism. Keeping my environment conducive is a monumental struggle… I need a sensoryscape that offers grace, so as to properly focus on my work. My feet shrivel in repulsion from the tiny speckly bits of dust and grit on the floor, but it is a never ending fight. The smell of stagnating water in the bathroom from my shower taken just an hour ago overpowers me as I lie in bed at night, even with both doors closed. What do I do? I scrub and clean and dry as best as I can. But I live alone, and I cannot afford to pay a cleaner, so I am constantly teetering on the edge and trying to hold on to enough operative ability so as to engage in the activity I love best – yes, yes, yes, my ‘work.’ Why is it so strange that anyone would find such energising solace and renewal in ‘work’? To me, it is the best existence. Yet, such a stark contrast to the terrible debilitating necessity of housework.

Then there is Food. Adventures in the kitchen, a juxtaposition of ironic patterns and rhythm. Flow and heave, stops and starts. Function and dysfunction. I love food. Cooking calms me. Eating provides some distraction, the taste buds are greedy for sensation. The aftermath of cooking, however, sends my brain plunging into despair. Dichotomy. Conundrum.

I cooked Japanese style curry on Monday – I didn’t have chicken that day, so I used the small portion of beef I had in the freezer. The potatoes made the gravy thick. Japanese curry was the last dish I cooked for dad. I wasn’t even there when he left. Dad loved spicy food – Southern Indian was his favourite, especially the fish head curry. Too much for me, I am more easily overwhelmed. At the end of his life, he was no longer able to stomach the spices, yet, he yearned for curry. I remember cooking the Japanese curry for him. The mix comes out of a neatly designed packet. We shared the spoils. Not a glamorous meal, but one I will always hold dear in memory. This time around, there was only one person eating it. The fragrance permeated my small studio flat. For once, I was not repulsed. It reminded me of that one event. And dad.

A lovely young friend came by with sweet gifts – chocolate brownie and pumpkin seed and date slice. I was helping her with some writing. Lucy stole half my pumpkin seed and date slice. Thankfully, she bypassed the chocolate brownie! Nothing untoward, apart from some soft poop after that.

Then there was the steak. A plain slice, cut into cubes, for Lucy, and a whole slice for me. Dad loved steak too. I remember the places he used to take us to, and how he taught me to like it medium rare.

Chicken is cheaper. I have a love-hate battle with chicken. I struggle to get it just right. I dislike the stringiness of overcooked chicken, yet I fear salmonella poisoning if undercooked. The smell of baked chicken and tofu lingering in the kitchen isn’t very pleasant. A sourish odour, not quite rancid, but sharp in an intrusive way. I sprayed the kitchen with Bosisto’s eucalyptus spray. Very handy, though not to be overused, else the other powerful olfactory invasion takes over – the under-notes of eucalyptus can be nausea-inducing. For me, anyway.

Lucy and I both love our banana-coconut smoothie ice. Non dairy. Yummy for canine and human. And not much washing up afterwards!

Peckishness is easily addressed with frozen French Fries, oven baked, of course. Quick, neat and easy.

My angel watches over me. The days go by too quickly. Solitude is precious. I am not lonely. I have Lucy. And many friends on Facebook. Yes, don’t scoff the medium – the internet is an especially powerful channel for autistic people to communicate, without the burden of sensorially assaultive and emotionally depleting in-person socialisation. I can choose my environment. I can choose to log on or leave the interaction. All the while, I remain connected nevertheless. And I have my little growing project in the balcony. I am most chuffed with my mini tomatoes. Visually pleasing, almost poetic even, and tasty too!

Viaducts… milieu… channels… paradigms… oft overlooked modalities… if we take time to examine and make effort to understand the different nuances, we may become more and more comfortable with parallel existences.


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