Bird of Paradise
Updated: Apr 6, 2019
She walks past our house but doesn’t look over. He is pleased to see her and follows at a short distance, not wanting to interrupt her conversation with two friends. She heads to the park to kill some time on the swings. He pauses, in plain view, carefully placing his PE bag on the grass and pretending to search his pockets for something. Nothing happens. A minute passes. He picks up his bag and shuffles on, breaking his routine once again to enter the enclosed area nearby. He wanders around, feigning interest in his surroundings, placing his bag carefully on top of the equipment and picking it up again, pretending to look for something, wanting to look as if he has a purpose while casting furtive glances in her direction. Surely it must be that she simply hasn’t noticed him. She is his friend. She stuck up for him when he made a mistake. She just needs to notice.
Over to the trim trail, balancing on the slippery logs, a job well done. Back to the bag which warrants further inspection. She still hasn’t spotted him. Must try harder. He climbs to the top of a log building and turns his body, but not his eyes, towards her, displaying his fabulousness like a beautiful bird, impossible to ignore.
She is stuck. Time is ticking on and she is going to be late. She sends out a friend to walk past and see if that lures him away. It doesn’t work. Eyeballs glued to their phones, the three friends strike out together, moving slowly, deliberately. He sees them coming and, with panicked haste, clambers back down to the ground. He grabs his bag and runs all the way to school.
I wish he would talk to me about it. I wish I could reassure him that she is still his friend but that this morning simply wanted different company. I wish that our daily chats about friendships made things easier for him. I wish I had not spied on him.
Martha Smith Parent Advocate is a supportive blog focusing on the challenges and wins of parenting children with additional needs. Based in Hampshire Martha runs workshops for schools and other education providers in Surrey, London & Hampshire on how to encourage children with additional needs to thrive in education.