Symmetrically perfect. A sight to behold. A true vision of wonder. Just looking at the trifle my mum had brought to the table made me happy. Through the glass bowl I could see its layers clearly defined. The sponge fingers soaked in a little brandy, the jelly and fruit, the custard, then the cream. To top it off, evenly distributed almonds, glacé cherries and piped peaks of cream. Symmetrically perfect.
I held my breath and waited. We had guests and so I was expected to sit quietly. Not something I was particularly good at, especially when my mother started destroying the trifle with the serving spoon. By unknowingly starting in the wrong place she’d ruined everything that had made the trifle so pleasing to look at. Soon I received my bowl. I sat for a moment assessing. I had been given a serving that had 2 cherries, 2 almonds and 1 piped peak of cream. It was going to be alright after all.
I started eating. Exactly as I still do to this day. I assess, make sense of how best to proceed and then dismantle. Once that process is over I eat everything in order of preference. Leaving the best until last.
Each part of the trifle was separated from the others. The almonds, cherries and cream peak were put to one side. First, I ate the sponge fingers; they were soft, cold but had a little heat from the brandy. Next, the layer of cream from the top; this coated my tongue making it feel like it might stick to the roof of my mouth. The jelly, quickly followed by the fruit it contained, was sharp, sweet and cold. It made my mouth feel like it had been cleaned ready for the cherries, almonds, and cream peak. Finally, the custard. Its texture and taste was somewhere between the jelly and cream. It was by far my favorite part.
I spoke not a word as I worked. Coming out of my trance I could hear my parents, my sister and our guests chatting whilst eating their trifle. I watched appalled as they ran their spoons through every layer and with no thought put the trifle mixture in their mouths.
I sat there shocked at what I was witnessing. What planet were these people from? What were they thinking mixing all those layers, tastes and textures together? I knew deep down I would have to make allowances for their strange behavior. It wasn’t their fault. They just didn’t understand.
© Paul C Siebenthal April 2013
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.