In the second installment of “Writers World”, which features the creative writing of members of the Two Wells Young Writers Club, 15-year-old Amber Ryan, tells of the frustration of living in a world where people are constantly being judged. Amber dedicates her true story to her little sister. Judged – By Amber Ryan
I held my mum’s hand as we entered the cold, strange building. The cool air prickling painfully on my skin, raising goose bumps. Everything in the building was overloading my senses. The buzzing lights and strangers chattering noisily were so loud to my ears that I tried blocking the noise with my fingers, the strong smell of hamburgers burning through my nose, forcing me to breathe through my mouth. Even the tag on my underwear was itching uncomfortably against my skin. A stranger walking past brushed my shoulder and I let out a worried “Oh no!” Only the touch of my mum’s warm hand kept me from going into meltdown.
We were walking down a stark white hallway, which was much quieter, allowing me time to calm down. But as we pushed open the toilet door, my fear levels spiked higher than before. I could see one of the terrible machines that I was scared beyond words of; a hand dryer.
Immediately, I stuck my fingers into my ears and started humming loudly, desperate to block out all sound in case it started. The other people in the cramped bathroom were frightening me too. What if someone started the hand dryer? I was dimly aware of mum crouching down to my height and wrapping her arms around me to quell the shudders ripping through my body. Some of the nicer women asked if I was okay, and after my mum’s reply, would smile and dry their hands on a towel. One woman however, upon hearing my mother asking to not use the appliance, smiled cruelly, and pressed the button that started the machine.
The next thing I was aware of was my mum’s voice talking to a male. Slowly, my senses came back to me. Somehow, I was outside of the service station. I had no memory of what happened after the machine started, but my body did. My accelerated heart slowed as the tension left my body, and suddenly, I was exhausted. My eyelids were fluttering shut by the time my mum had finished explaining what autism was to the man, and why I reacted like I did.
Mum half-carried me to where the car was waiting with my older sister, and I vaguely heard her repeating some of the mean and hurtful comments she heard other customers saying while walking out of the building. Only one caught in my mind, which was ‘bad parenting’. I know this is wrong. With everything my mother does for us, I know that she is, and will forever be, the best mum in the world.
This is how I imagine my sister’s life to be. This is a true story, and I have had to listen to people judging my amazing mum as a bad parent. I hope one day that people won’t judge, and that autism will be accepted by everyone.
This story is dedicated to my awesome little sister – who just happens to have autism.