‘Cha Cha Cha Cha’ (ctd)
So… in part 1 I left my tiny l’il audience hanging on the prospect of me attending Boy’s school play for the first time. In reality, it would also be the first time I’ve actually been to his school full stop. Oh, what guilt trips I have been made to suffer as a result of this fact over the years.
It was all touch and go due to the short notice to get out of work for the morning. Several emails to the Guv saw no reply. My online Leave of Absence form hung in it’s pending status like a flaccid willy recovering from a severe weekend of Viagra abuse. All the poking n’ prodding in the world wouldn’t make it twitch. By 3pm Thursday evening my patience gland had withered to a similar state, so an email was quickly dispatched (to the entire admin department) gently coercing (manically demanding) a satisfactory result. This was finally achieved at somewhere near 4.15pm. With approval gained for the whole morning (woohoo! Lie-in!) off, I went to bed happy, but nervous.
To cut a long pre-amble short, I DID manage to get up and get there on time, and proceeded to hang round outside the gates in full biker gear, chain-smoking, and doing a mighty fine impersonation of a Securicor guard who had just lost his truck and was contemplating how to phrase ‘I’m afraid you’re £500,000 may have been misplaced’ to Lord Shit-it Sugar. In a sleet/hail storm. This gained some interesting looks from some of the… er… more-well-to-do parents arriving in Bentleys, Astons and Range Rovers.
On entry my first obstacle was the receptionist. Sliding back her little glass safety screen i got the distinct impression that she wasn’t quite expecting the damp, dripping rendition of Stig Rev1 in front of her, muttering and swearing under his helmet, trying to get his glove off to grasp the world’s smallest pen with the world’s numbest fingers. A click-n-flip produced my best smiley, charming, warm face (which seemed to scare her more) and a mumble consisting of the words parent, Boy, play thingy, here, and for spilled clumsily from my face-flap in some random order. Then I had to remember my reg plate. Bugger. In a comedy moment I slipped in the small puddle that had formed around me, made a frantic grasp for the door handle, and swung head first out of it whilst making it all look perfectly intentional in EVERY way. By some small miracle I was eventually buzzed in, made myself look vaguely human (and patchworky), and followed the nearest set of adults as they appeared to be well-rehearsed in the finer aspects of looking lost in a world of little people. After several wrong turns, wrong doors and embarrassed apologies, I finally took my seat in the hall. At the back. In the darkest corner I could find. Nearest the exit.
The lights dimmed, and the show began.
At this point, I shall point out to those not already aware that Boy is autistic, doesn’t talk (at all), and no-one’s too sure whether he actually understands spoken words at all. He therefore attends a special school.
Watching a Christmas play at a special school is akin to watching a plethora of varied size and shape children be paraded / dragged / lured around by grownups, in some cases limbs being operated like a puppet from the less-than-invisible hand protruding thru a cloth. If Stephen Hawking was Santa Claus, Boy’s school contains many dwarves in training ready to join him on his travels. Whilst watching on feeling slightly like the NSPCC SWAT team are about to burst thru the doors and arrest everyone present for excessive humiliation of children under the veiled banner of religion, I clapped in all the right bits, laughed when everyone else laughed, and tried not to cough a lung across the hall floor. All whilst keeping an ear open for the distinct shriek of theBoy being as evasive and destructive back stage as possible.
After many awwwws and the occasional sniffle from a teary eyed parent across the room, finally, his time came… Boy was escorted by a hand on each shoulder, steering him into the room… and I couldn’t help but let out a slight snigger. His head lowered. Hands grasping, and eyes locked onto his most prized school possession – his iPad. For his grand centre-stage performance MY Boy would be marching up the aisle playing his iPad drum. The time came, his personal carer led him from his seat… and was immediately halted by a very determined faced Boy, who had decided that no, he wasn’t parading anywhere, and could quite happily drum from where he was sat… IF he felt like it. As it goes he didn’t, and thus simply pushed the home button and fired up colour-match, and proceeded to sit there whilst the dulcet childlike tones of the iPad declared “blue”, “blue”, “It’s a Match!”, all the while staring quizzically at me in the corner, iPhone in hand, camera clicking away, with a huge daft grin on my face and a tear rolling gently down one cheek, throat well and truly lumped. On collecting him from his mother’s at tea time that day, it turned out he’d been given the Star of the Week certificate for his ‘excellent performance’ that morning.
THAT’S MY BOY. #prouddad