Years back when I was living in Fish Hoek, I was sitting having what I have come to think of as my “regmaker”morning beer…. I really did not want to go through full withdrawal symptoms right then. I saw this man and his mother at The Excalibur, he is autistic. His mother seems the only one able to communicate with him on some level. His mother and he come here still. All those years back him and I just seemed to “click”. He remembered me! I know because after smiling at me he asked his mother to buy me a beer……
He gave me another beatific smile, a thumbs up and then disappeared into his own world again. He sits with a Coke can on the table in front of him, then he jerks around to stare at the TV for a few moments, his head then jerks back and he concentrates on the coke can. He touches the can’s rim, brings his fingers to his face, it looks like he smells something. Sometimes he tells his hand something. That is his standard routine. He also has a ball of loose pieces of string. He picks it up every so often. I take a Japanese coin a tourist once gave me, I ask him for a piece of string, he looks at his mother, she nods. I take the coin and thread it on his string, tying a knot. He beams at me, but once he gets the string back he is not so happy. This object does not belong with his string. He laboriously unties it. Then back to his routine.
A little later his mother asks if I would mind watching him while she goes to the shops. Of course. I sit with him while his mother gets groceries, we say nothing, but every now and then he breaks his routine to smile at me.
The trust his mother put in me and the fact of his acknowledging me, they make me a richer man than any I know.
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