Over the weekend, I met a woman with autism at a party. She pushed my head into my friend’s head. She wanted us to kiss. It was initially jarring.
She asked what my sign was. I told her and then asked what she liked about astrology. Her mother interrupted us– she just likes asking the question, she doesn’t really care about signs or astrology itself.
Although I knew she was talking about certain aspects of autism, I found that interesting. In my own life, I feel shy about answering questions, and also prefer to ask them. So, in a different way, I understood or related.
Later in the night, I saw her again. When the party was winding down, I opened a door and she was talking to herself in the mirror. Alone. It felt like a movie from the 1970s– not a horror movie, just a pretty movie, soft, well, the light was soft and the room felt alive, a beautiful quiet vibrancy.
I felt immediately horrible about entering the room, disrupting the space.
She turned to me, asked what my shoe size was.
I said it was a 5, then inquired about her shoe size.
She said hers was a 5 1/2.
We were standing face to face. The same height. To make conversation, I noted this fact– we are almost the same.
She wanted to know if we were more different or more the same.
I told her that I guessed we were a little bit of both.
Then, she backed away from me, visibly shaken by what I had said.
My heart sank. I excused myself and found a family friend of hers. I was worried I had upset her.
The family friend assured me that I had not.
Right now, she is mostly fascinated by relationships. How people are with one another. She has a photographic memory and can memorize scenes from movies and then replay them throughout the day, like reenact them, or perform them for herself. Likely, I was just a minor player in one of her movies, and she was just acting.
I realized that in the news, I hear so much about children with autism, but not as much about adults with autism.
It is such a delicate, artistic, bravely autonomous, and intricate state of being.
I took this photo above through the glass of the Gold Line that goes out to Pasadena. The light reminds me of the woman I met.