Autism had always been a part of her life, and she couldn’t remember a time with out the disability. Rachel was a normal girl in every way, and when she was two her little brother was born. She saw him as the most amazing thing in the world and, as most young siblings are, they were best friends. Rachel and her brother were inseparable and they communicated like no one else did. She was the leader and the communicator and he was the follower. Rachel did nothing with out her bother Seth, and he couldn’t do anything without her.

When they were little every day they went to daycare and even as Rachel was playing with her friends she went out of her way to include him. While others took to ignoring him, Rachel tried hard to include him and if he could not play she would often stop playing with other children. What ever happened to Seth, Rachel was there guiding him along the way.

As the two of them grew older, and Rachel started school she realised that Seth was different. He spoke differently; few people could understand him. Still every day she walked with him to the bus stop and sat with him on the bus. She communicated for him and they were best friends.

Rachel made friends, but even her best friends could be enemies in an instant. While they would choose to ignore Seth, she wouldn’t let them. One day, after their mother had picked them up from school, Seth was trying to tell them something. Rachel was quick to communicate to her mother the garbled message that was being transmitted. Her mother stopped her though, saying Seth had a mouth, he could say it.

Rachel said nothing sinking back into her seat wondering what she had done wrong. Something clicked in her mind and as she listed to her brother speak, it sounded plain as day. Though she could hear the roundness of his 'R's and sharpness of his 'L's, for the first time she was hearing him speak to a stranger.

Rachel was silent for the rest of the way home, and when she snuck into bed that night she felt like crying. Rachel all the sudden realised that it was her fault, and she was the one that made it impossible to talk to strangers - the reason he was so different. Rachel was only six and she was met with the burden of the world. 

The next day Rachel tried to let her brother speak, but she was too quick to jump in and others couldn’t understand. Every day though she realised what was going on with her brother and most days she felt terrible about what she had done.

Many years passed, and Rachel started to forgive her self and realise that it wasn’t her fault. Rachel and Seth both grew up, along with their young brother Kevin. They grew and moved into a new house, bigger than the other. Rachel started third grade and Seth went into second. Rachel was separated for most of the day and in that time Rachel started to realise how different he really was.

Seth still was Rachel’s best friend but as they made friends in their neighborhood their relationship was different. Rachel tried hard, but they were falling out as they grew up and she had to ignore him in school.

Rachel loved her brother but as she started middle school her life changed. The world took over, and she was stuck.

Kevin can’t say my name, or say his own.
Kevin doesn’t know his birthday, or how old he is.
Kevin doesn’t know his numbers, or letters.
Kevin is 7.
I can deal with that.

Seth can’t read, or speak correctly.
Seth can’t remember his homework.
Seth can’t do his homework on his own.
Seth can’t be in normal classes.
Seth is 12.
I can deal with that.

My family can’t go out to eat.
My family can’t go on vacation.
My family doesn’t act normal.
My family gets weird stares.
My family stays at home.
I can deal with that.

Seth gets made fun of.
Seth can’t speak to normal people.
Kevin can’t sit still.
Kevin yells and screams.
They can’t do normal things.
I can deal with that.

They are both in special classes.
They both have one-on-one help.
They both hate loud noise.
They both don’t get it.
They are not going to get far.
I can deal with that.

My house is loud.
My family yells.
My life is hard.
I have to succeed.
I can’t fail.
I can deal with that.

I am stuck.
I am their sister.
They can’t do things.
One day they will be under my care.
One day my children will be like this.
I can’t deal with that.

 
By Rachel

ralj1640@yahoo.com