There have been many items of clothing since (at the moment they’re grey soft tracksuit bottoms) but it all started with the my red wellington boots. Shiny bright red rubber wellington boots. Ketchup red, ankle high. I would wear anything soft above my feet but only ever wellingtons on my feet. At nursery, the doctors, grandparents, christmas and birthdays always the same red wellington boots. I loved those boots, they were my totem of control. No matter what else was happening, they were keeping me safe, the one dependable thing. My family had learned the hard way that this was not a battle worth fighting. It was better for all concerned to just accept that I came with red wellington boots. I would fall asleep in them, run around the house naked apart from them.
Then one day, the spell was broken and they would never be worn again.
I was sat on my mothers hip as she carried me into the bakers. My head buried deep in her shoulder while I decided whether I was able to lift my head up and have a good look around. I was particularly keen to see what cakes and biscuits were on display behind the big glass counter. I was now level with it as my mother had stepped forward to take her place at the front of the queue.
“Can I help you?” The assistant asked.
With this question I pointed vigorously at the jam filled donuts. I held my breath, waiting to see what my mum would say.
“Could I have a sliced white and……oh go on then…..two jam donuts.”
I buried my head again in her shoulder, too overwhelmed with joy to engage with the world.
It was just as we left the shop it happened. A wasp, attracted by the sugar and jam had started to express an interest in the paper bag containing the doughnuts. Mum quickly swiped it away with her hand. Then all of a sudden, I became aware of a strange sensation in my right boot. I could hear and feel a strange buzzing, vibrating feeling, then suddenly, pain. A searing hot, screaming pain. I started howling and quickly my mother removed the boot. An unthinkable act up to this point but now a necessity. I remember watching the wasp crawl slowly out of my wellington, which was now on the floor. My mother quickly pinched the sting from my foot as I continued to scream.
With a jam doughnut, a wasp and a wellington; the spell of my first fixation was broken. Later that afternoon my mum seized the chance that she knew would one day come. ‘It was time,’ she thought; time at last for some new shoes.
Paul C Siebenthal is a 38 year-old Aspie who was diagnosed at 25. Started blogging and tweeting last year as Aspienaut, working for NASA (New Autism Spectrum Awareness). He is passionate about creativity and helping young people on the spectrum to see just how amazing they are and how great it can be to be Wired Differently.