Tick Tock

A short story revolving around sensory sensitivity for Autism Awareness Month:

The ticking of the clock is too loud. I look around the classroom. Does no one notice it? Their heads are bent, sleeping on the desk. Some pay attention to the teacher that is drawing scribbles on the board. Do they not notice the clock?

The ticking is pounding in my head.

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

I stare at the desk, the lines in the smooth wood glare at me in the light. The lines are drawn on by a child. They are not straight. They run into each other, like the wood they were made of. It makes me want to throw the desk across the room.

I continue to stare at it.

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

There is something thrown at my head. A piece of paper. I resist the urge to straighten out the wrinkles. I want to rip it into pieces that aren’t symmetrical.

I don’t want to look at it anymore. I take it and throw it at the kid who was behind me. I can hear him mutter a remark that I threw too hard. I hear him pick it up from the ground.

And I hear the clock.

Tick

Tock

Tick

Tock

I stare at the sidewalk. I never step on the cracks. I think that maybe one day I will fall in. My sneakers scuff the concrete as I walk. The buses pass by like blurs of yellow.

I hear my footsteps go by.

Scratch

Scratch

Scratch

I walk, two steps in each block. Never three. Never four. My shoelace comes untied. It’s not a perfect bow anymore. I avoid looking at it. I stare at it. I want to pull it out.

I continue walking.

Scratch

Scratch

Scratch

I hear someone walking behind me. They laugh and push my back. I trip on my untied shoelace but I don’t fall. I stop myself before I step on a crack. I accidentally step on it. I stare down at my shoe. At the small gap in the sidewalk. I take off my shoe and throw it at the kid behind me. He lets out a growl. My shoes are now unsymmetrical. I take the other one off and throw it at him.

And now I hear no sounds because I’m only in my socks.

I open the door and carefully place my backpack on the floor. I walk further inside and see that the floor is dirty. I avoid looking at the floor as my socks slide across it silently. I step on a floorboard and it creaks. I want to step over it. I want to break it.

I hear the sink leak in the kitchen.

Drip

Drop

Drip

Drop  

I sit down on a chair. Dust brushes onto my fingers where I touch the arms. I wipe it off quickly, before I feel it on my skin. The chair’s design makes my head spin. I want to turn away. I want to rip it off.

I continue to look at it.

Drip

Drop

Drip

Drop

My eyes slowly close. My back is straight. My head leans against the back of the chair. And slowly I feel myself falling, falling. I want to move my arms, my legs, but I’m paralyzed. I fall into the darkness.

And I fall asleep to the rhythm.

Drip

Drop

Drip

Drop

___

Everything is dark.

There is only blackness.

Finally

There are no imperfections. Nothing asymmetric. Nothing out of order, out of place.

Nothing.

Then I open my eyes and see the familiar sight of the dirty wood floors and dizzying chairs.

And I’ve woken up to this nightmare that is reality.