BlogFEST host today is Leigh Young and her entry for the prompt of Shadows....
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Aiden and Uncle Frank part 2.
It's been 4 months since Uncle Frank's ship set sail and he is so far overdue that Aiden has begun to regress. He had made gigantic strides in the last few years and was now attending mainstream school with a counselor to aid and intervene when needed. For the most part he was functioning without too many obstacles. Oh, he still had to close all doors three times, he still had to have everything in his room in the 'right' spot before climbing into bed and there were many other particulars to aid his comfort and his ability to calm himself. He still had days that leaving the house was not possible, but they had become very rare, until lately. The missing uncle was more than just someone he loved, he had become someone Aiden needed to maintain his functionality. Although his autism was not severe, quite mild, in fact, he was one who did not accept change well and the absence of a parent or Uncle Frank was okay, short term. Four months is NOT short term. He was nearly 2 months over due. Eight weeks is an eternity when you are standing on the beach every evening in the cold November wind looking for a ship which failed to materialize. Not going was not an option. Aiden was convinced not going would equal giving up. There would be NO giving up on Uncle Frank.
Breakfast had been chosen carefully from his choices and his mother placed each pancake, not touching each other, exactly as he required. He gently buttered each and poured his favorite cherry syrup on one, trying not to get too much on any other pancake. The plate held 4, must be 4, dollar pancakes all around the edge. Each one would be placed into the center for syrup and eating. The process never varied. It mattered.
Clearing the kitchen of all the breakfast fixings, Aiden and his mom were startled by the dog barking. The cocker was not a barker unless someone was in their yard. They both walked toward the front door and saw nothing out of the ordinary. The barking stopped.
"That's odd. Dani never barks at nothing, Mom." Aiden was not convinced that someone hadn't been out there, but he turned with mom and started down the hall to shower.
"She might have seen a squirrel too close to the door or something. I don't know. Get your shower and I'll get the beds made so we can go run some errands this morning. We are getting pretty low on food around here. I think my men are going to eat me out of house and home if I don't get some real food in here soon." She laughed and kept walking. Aiden was very confused. He knew she referred to him and Dad as her men, and Uncle Frank when he was home, but he had no idea how to eat her out of house and home. What a crazy thing to say!
He shook it off, finally and headed to the shower. Nothing relaxed his head or his shoulders as much as a warm shower. He always felt like the whole noisy world had kind of stopped while showering. He would often walk small circles under the falling water and feel, well, just feel the water on him. It was one of the things he liked to touch him. There weren't many.
Dressed and ready to go he retrieved his soiled things from the bath and put them in the hamper. Wet things on the floor made him twitchy. In the hamper. In the hamper. Done. Good.
He slowly and methodically walked to the kitchen where he heard Mom's voice speaking softly. He thought she must be on the phone. They were alone in the house, unless she was talking to Dani.
Turning the corner to the kitchen Aiden stopped and then ran full steam into the waiting arms of his Uncle Frank nearly knocking both of them to the floor. Uncle Frank had braced himself knowing this was coming and still nearly fell backward. Aiden was growing!
After all the giggling and looking each other over and hugging, Uncle Frank explained.
"I'm sorry I couldn't let you know, Aiden. I knew you would be worried, but there was no communication, I mean phone, to let you know. We lost our engine on the return trip. We tried repairing with what little we had on board and it would only run for a few minutes. We had to send a small boat out to an area where someone could call to get us some help. We were in a 'dead' zone. None of our radios worked. The little boat took the best part of a day to get to the nearest land with phones. Then when the mechanics were notified of where we were and what we needed, they had to order parts because that ship is so old no one had the parts we needed. The guys came back with food and water and a bigger boat to take the men back that were just fishermen. All the rest of us, the crew, had to stay with the ship so we could fix it and then bring it home. All the fish were saved though because they were iced and it was plenty cold out there to keep that ice! (laughed) Anyway, there were no tugs willing to come tug us home, so we just had to wait it out. And now I'm home, here with you, for at least 2 months. No more trips until after all the holidays. What do you think of that? Your mom says I can just stay here with you. Is that okay?" Frank sat down and Aiden fell in beside him about midway through the story.
"Yeah, that'd be okay. I sure as heck did miss you. I went to watch for you every night." He looked a bit sad. "I kept thinking I saw your face in all the shadows. I thought that if you had died you would come to tell me in the shadows. So I stopped looking at shadows."
"I would never come to you in shadows, Aiden. I would come to you in sunshine. I would be the butterflies, the bees, the clouds, the things that make you happy. I would always want to see you smile, never sad like shadows make you. I would always come in good times, Buddy."
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