The House Guest: Part TWO

This is where we left off last week:

I looked at Kim, who was now cradling Cali in his arms as she licked his face enthusiastically.

“Matthew has some yard work to do,” I said. “Could you do me a big favor and wear this puppy out?”Cali Kim nodded eagerly, and the two fled to a walking path around the corner.

Later that evening, Kim took Cali for another walk, and came home looking exhilarated. Did we have any movies he could watch on his laptop, he asked? As I was reaching for The Sound of Music, my thirteen year old handed him the first season of “24“, a cult show among teenagers about the dangerous adventures of no-nonsense counter-terrorist agent Jack Bauer. The next morning Kim slept in, and admitted sheepishly that he had been up half the night watching the series.

“That’s OK,” said my thirteen-year-old, “We’re addicted, too!”

By the fifth day of his visit, Kim had settled into a happy routine of dog care and other chores, amiable family dinners and evenings with “24”. On day six, a Saturday, Matthew knocked on Kim’s door, and asked him if he wanted to walk downtown and get some pizza.

“I decided that I might like Kim,” said Matthew when they returned, and I heaved a sigh of relief, grateful that the web of reverse psychology that I had woven out of desperation snagged Matthew. I stopped counting the days until Kim’s departure, as the two bonded over daily walks downtown.

The morning of Kim’s departure, Matthew told him not to be sad-he’d see him in September. But Kim had a hard time saying goodbye to Cali, and knelt down to cuddle her one last time. He was still smiling, but I saw a tear cascade onto the puppy’s shiny coat.

“You are going to miss uncle Kim, aren’t you Cali? Let’s take your picture with him.”

As Kim grinned for the camera, I was grateful that the painful scene at the airport three weeks earlier had unfolded so magically. It seemed that by turning our constant focus from our autistic son to the needs of our houseguest, Matthew was free to befriend his friend for hire in his own time and in is own way.

The next morning, an email message from Kim arrived. It remains on our refrigerator along with his picture with Cali.

So much thank you for you, and family,
and my niece Cali.
It was a great 3 weeks for me….my best summer in life.
Thanks a lot for giving me such a nice memory.


Laura Shumaker is the author of A REGULAR GUY: GROWING UP WITH AUTISM


She writes each Friday for 5 MINUTES FOR SPECIAL NEEDS.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.