There I stood, a boy alone on the edge of everything, watching it all happen. One girl jumps a rope swung by two girls counting each leap safely taken. The next girl impatiently speeding up to hasten her turn. Other girls play patter-cake, shouting out rhymes like a call to arms, for others to join them. I stand on the white line marking the edge of the netball court and my own self-imposed boundary.
I stop watching the girls and walk carefully along the line to the centre, the centre where lines converge and the court is halved. The boys seem to play on one side, the girls the other, neither having been told it has to be this way but never deviating. I watch the boys play football, push, shove and hit each other. They shout, play army and tag with seriousness at odds with the term, play. The girls play, the boys war.
They engage with each other and I watch them do it. I see them, measure them, compare them; like I do the distance between the lines, like I do the plaits in the girls hair and the bounces of the ball. Sound into rhythm, movement into shapes, everywhere patterns. I turn away before the excitement becomes too much, before I need to run inside for fear of bursting.
Playtime is always close to being too much, too loud, too everything. I’d learned to turn away, close my eyes, hands over ears. To regroup until it’s safe again, safe enough to start, watching it all happen.
© Paul C Siebenthal 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.