{Summer}

A Sample of my published novella:






Below, you will find the other side of me--the non-fiction side.


When One Window Opens ...
(First Chapter in a book I am writing about my son)


I thought we had done everything to keep Zachary from escaping. Double deadbolts graced exterior doors, hook and eye locks on the interior ones and child-gates blocked every open doorway. I even placed childproof deterrents on the fridge, oven, cabinets, and drawers. This may sound like a prison, but it was our home. This is a story of why it became a fortress.
A knock at the door started the insanity. I pushed the curtain aside to peer out the door window No one was there, and for a moment, I thought I had imagined the knock. Another tap and I figured a wintery gust knocked something against the door. I grabbed the keys, unlocked the door and opened it.
The next events took a couple of seconds, but I swear a million things flew through my mind—none of them arriving at any semblance of reality.
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Something between a squeak and a shout escaped my throat. I nearly wrenched my neck whipping my gaze to the direction of where I had left my toddler, Zachary, playing in the next room. I turned back to see him clad in pajamas, and his bare feet making tiny imprints in the snow.
I snatched him, ignoring his shriek of protest. Running to the couch, I grabbed a blanket and wrapped him. My mind could not catch up enough to make sense of anything. Five minutes prior, he was lining up building blocks while I made dinner.
A gust of wind blew the curtains, dotting them with snow. I plopped Zachary on the couch and ran to shut it. My hands trembled at the latch that I had checked before leaving him to himself.
A howl from Zachary made me jump. He clawed me, adding to the other deep grooves on my arms, while I replaced the blocks I kicked out of place in my haste to close the window. In content silence, he laid on the floor, seeming to assure himself the blocks were in exact alignment.
I sat him up, cupped his chin and waited for eye contact.
"No." I swallowed hard. "No window. Danger."
My son did not say a word. Autism stole his response. He head-butted me instead.  
A month before I found Zachary outside in the dead of winter, we installed childproof locks on the windows. My son showed me they were not "Zach-proof." Thankfully, the window he leapt out of that night was on the first floor. 
My heart skittered at the possibility of how he could have wandered away and frozen to death. I am not sure what made him jump out the window, but the fact he could terrified me.
That is why our house was a fortress. The specialist labeled our child a "bolter."  Zachary would run--fast, totally oblivious to danger.  It did not seem like he was running away, but seemed to run to ... something I couldn't see. It was heartbreaking. 
Like anything removed suddenly from one's life. I grieved for what was. I missed my child's eye contact, babyish words, and the way he lit up when I came into the room. I missed his interaction in a game peek-a-boo and his squeals of joy upon being chased. Autism kidnapped that part of him. Zachary staggered from crying incessantly to gazing at the ceiling, laughing uncontrollably. He rarely slept, which meant no one else did. My once happy toddler became unreachable-- in a world I could not enter.
 His tastes changed as well. Milk became his closest friend. He would pull the gallon jug out of the fridge and drop it to the ground, then drag it to me. He refused to eat anything but macaroni and cheese, pizza and the collars of his shirts. (I'm not kidding; he ate holes into his shirts.)Think of anything bizarre, and I guarantee he attempted to put it in his mouth.
Bright colors, neon lights and certain sounds seemed to send him over the precarious edge of the world he tried to deal with. Eventually, more signs of Autism screamed with Zachary's cries. He no longer responded to his name … or anything else. Most alarming, he didn't speak. It seemed he forgot everything--including us.

Through all this, I held onto hope and my husband's hand. That tiny glimmer of  hope illuminated the dark road I had to travel to enter Zachary's autistic world. I invite you to read on and see where that journey took us ….


3 comments:

Joanie said...

Summer, while I'm absolutely horrified by the thought of a toddler leaping out a window into the freezing cold, I'm incredibly intrigued by this excerpt. I look forward to reading more.

Wench Writers said...

Joanie, I am still working on the book, but believe me, this is a tiny peek into the world we lived in for awhile. :) I hope to have the book finished soon.

I thrive on feedback and appreciate yours!
~*Summer Wench

Anonymous said...

I am glad to see you are continuing with the saga of your son. I have always admire your courage. Writing in Arizona

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