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Autism: Older Brother

09 Mar

It was my brother who first taught me how to do it. I was afraid of the dark, you see. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts… So many things to come out and get me. It made it very hard to get to sleep.

I was maybe five years old at the time, and my parents were wallpapering my room. Yellow flowers, when I wanted superman – like my brother had – but they wanted something that would last. I guess they were right. By the time I was twelve, I liked that yellow wallpaper, but at five I was a bit disappointed.

90's and earlier 011

In order for them to have time to work on it, I was moved into my older brother’s room. I was lying on the twin bed closest to the door, and I don’t remember saying anything, but I must have. Somehow my brother, who would have been six or seven, knew that I was afraid, and decided it was his job to help – and he really, really did.

“When you see them,” (and I did) “pretend they are coming to take you to an amusement park,” he suggested. Then he waited until I could see them coming. “They are friendly,” he said, “not scary at all. They aren’t going to hurt you.”

So I lay on the bed while all of these creatures came out of the dark towards me, and as they picked up the bed, I was not afraid.

They took me to an amusement park which was crowded with rides, but not with people. The only ones there were the creatures, myself, and my brother. I very much enjoyed my night riding on the roller coasters, and on the carousel. I went on the Ferris wheel, and so many other rides.

Sometimes I fell off the ride, but then I only landed softly on another, and continued on with the fun. Always I was aware of where my brother was, and what he was doing.

For years, this became my answer to my fear of the dark. It isn’t that I wasn’t afraid, or that I didn’t act out of fear (I will write another post on that one) but that when I remembered what my brother had said, and those nights spent in his room, the dream would overcome the fear.

In the mornings, during those days, my brother and I would compare our dreams. Very frequently, they fit together like pieces of a puzzle, and it was like we really did travel away from home and spend those nights at the amusement park.

That was the beginning of my ability to travel to other worlds, and I will be forever grateful to my brother for teaching me this skill that carried me through some of the darkest days of my life.

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