Character Vignette: Parker (Age 13)

child, young people, youth, teen, lonely, alone, sad, mobile phone, boy,  man, leisure | Pikist

This is another scene from one of my manuscripts, the project is a epistolary novel made up of emails exchanged between Libby, a college dropout, and a 13-year-old boy with Asperger’s named Parker (for a scene focusing on Libby, click here.) I myself have Asperger’s and I put some of my own experiences into the character.

I wish I could have friends. I had one friend named William in 1st grade but he moved away. I remember he liked to play robots a lot but he broke my favorite Transformer. I hit him and had to apologize but he sure didn’t apologize for breaking my stuff! Mom said it was an accident but how could it be an accident? He sat right on it and he was pretty fat for a 6 year old. People made fun of him b/c he was fat so that’s how he started hanging out with me.

He knew I would play w/ him b/c people made fun of me too. You would think 6 year olds are all cute and innocent and the ones at my school were psycho bullies. Even the girls would laugh at me sometimes if I did something stupid or didn’t understand how I was supposed to act around other people. It was hard to understand me so I went to speech but it didn’t help. I started talking more normally on my own. Dad said FINALLY! He thought I was gonna sound like I had marbles in my mouth forever. At least people could see how smart I was now and not send me to special ed.

My dad said the special kids got made fun of the worst so he was worried about me. He would take me to get ice cream after speech if I did a good job and that’s the only thing I missed about speech. The rest made me feel like my head was going to explode. Everybody treated me like there was something wrong with me and my Dad kept talking about the class for the messed up kids like it was as bad as prison. At first I thought they must have done something bad to get sent there, like a classroom version of jail.

Then I found out it was just b/c they had learning problems and I felt really bad for them that they went to that class so everybody knew. I went to bed w/ my stomach hurting b/c every day it felt like something terrible was going to happen even though I didn’t know what it was. I would wait for dad to pick me up and think maybe dad died in a car wreck on his way to get me. Maybe he or mom would get really sick and I’d have to go live somewhere else. Maybe when my forehead sweated and my heart pounded I was going to be the first kid to die of a heart attack. 

My favorite comfort movie now is ‘Coco.’ It’s also my favorite movie period. Dad told me it’s not a kids movie, Pixar movies are for everyone. Even his tough guy friends cry at them. I didn’t think Dad had tough guy friends. His friends are usually boring guys who talk about politics and football and make a mess on the table near the TV. They talk about their wives and their kids but he doesn’t talk about me. I know b/c I used to listen in when the subject came up. Dad would say, ‘Parker is doing fine.’ Then he’d shrug his shoulders and say, ‘same old, same old’ and the friends would all nod like that made a lot of sense.

The thing that drives me crazy is that the other guys talk about their kids like they’re proud of them, even Mr. Franklin’s son Zach, who goes to my school & is 100% a total TOOL. He’s not even smart but he runs track and he’s fast, so Mr. Franklin just talks about that. I can’t run fast but I’m smart and I know a lot about some things. I get mostly C’s and sometimes B’s at school but I’m pretty sure Einstein was bad at school too. It makes me think that Dad can’t think of a single thing about me that’s worth talking about. He even brags about my sister Savannah sometimes, which is like bragging about your pet goldfish.

Did you ever feel like your parents loved you but were maybe not proud of you the way other parents were of their kids? I think it’s the worst feeling in the world. At least it’s the worst one I’ve ever felt. I’m used to kids at school thinking I’m a dumbass but your parents are SUPPOSED to BELIEVE in you.  Their kids don’t even have to be that smart or talented they’re special to their parents anyway.

I wish I could ask my dad to tell me something good about me, but that just seems forced. And what if he can’t come up w/ anything? That would make me feel even worse. I’m sorry that I just keep on talking about bad stuff all the time. I can never think of anything good that’s happening to me, I forget it or it seems like it just doesn’t matter.

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