My Angel cannot speak the worded language. Yet, I know she tries to tell me things. There are times I am tuned in and able to sense, just by touching her, watching her eyes, her mouth, her body, but there are times when I am sadly oblivious, lost inside my own domain. Then, there are the moments of sheer terror, when she is unwell, and I am haplessly flailing, desperate to grasp her subtle wordless enunciations.
Tonight was such a night. Searing, seething, heaving, blinding white terror. She lay prone, leaning against me, her eyes wide open and glassy, a look of fear and alarm reflecting back at me. She began to pant heavily, the pulsating rhythm building into a fierce and frenzied stretto, louder and louder in a building crescendo, until it seemed frighteningly deafening to my ears… these human ears that strained so hard to try and absorb every nuance… these human hands that stroked and felt every inch of her lithe body, paltry attempt to comfort and glean valuable information all at the same time… these human eyes focused intently with mounting concern, drinking in every rise and fall of canine ribcage, the lips, the tongue, the teeth, the nose, the eyes, hoping to see something that may bring comprehension…
Meanwhile, even in her obvious discomfort, she was trying to communicate to me… She did not give up on my wretched ignorance, dismal insensitivity.
Distraught, I tried to lift her. How would I carry her 24kg across the street to the emergency vet? My own body has been racked with pain lately. She flopped limp in my arms. I tried valiantly not to panic, I must not transfer my own human fear onto her.
After what seemed like an eternity of hell, stroking and comforting… she had stopped panting but was lying flaccid with a distant look in her eyes… I tried one more time to lift her, thinking I would carry her to the neighbour’s door and seek his help, perhaps we could both manage to take her to the emergency vet? Relief! She awoke from her dreamlike panic, and got up. I offered her a treat, and she brightened. We went downstairs into the cool night air for a little walk, and a little micturition.
We both stood by the edge of the railings, looking out into the bay, listening to the waves and breathing in the night breeze. The moon was a bright yellow crescent, so clearly defined in the dark sky, it looked like it had been painted on.
Back upstairs in bed now, my Angel has fallen asleep.
It can be extremely frightening, not understanding the language of the Other. A parallel embodied creature, yet her worth cannot be calculated in human terms. The universe knows, and its measurement remains a mystery. Benighted human beast, contemptible nescient caretaker of such magnificence… I am ashamed… yet… she never gives up on trying to communicate with me.
Lucy has taught me more about my own autism than any words gathered in careful order on pages ever could. She reveals the Self-Other conundrum in ways so tenderly beautiful, no ponderous philosophical text would measure up to.