An Equal Love

Some years ago, there was a single mother with an autistic son and their names were Laura and Thomas Paxton.

They used to live across the road, and I would let Thomas come over and play with my daughter Paige. It was a weekend in summer when the children were kicking a ball in my front yard. I was watching from the kitchen when I saw Paige kiss Thomas on the nose. He responded by biting her on the neck. The bite didn’t break the skin, but the teeth marks bruised and could be seen for a week. Afterwards, Paige would cry every time she saw Thomas out the front window.

One month later, Laura and Thomas moved across the country to Boston.

If you want to know why they moved, it was because my husband Alan wanted to sue. He ranted about taking Laura for every cent that she owned, even though she had apologized to me profusely in person. Even Thomas had found words to express an indignity he surely didn’t understand completely. This seemed insignificant to Alan. He only cared about getting us money, insisting it was for emotional and physical trauma to Paige.

Alan gave Laura an ultimatum; move house or get a lawyer. Laura never stopped apologizing until she was gone.

Not long later when I was in bed with Alan, he said something I would never forget. He told me that Laura should have had her retard son on a collar and leash. And then he scolded me for ever letting a normal girl like Paige play with a mental defect.

Alan had no idea how much of what he said that night scarred me as a parent forever.

My husband died of a gunshot wound to the sternum when I was pregnant with my second child. He was a senior detective for the LAPD. Alan and I both understood the risk his job entailed.

I had enough money from Alan’s life insurance and my own earnings to keep the house. Half a year after his death, I gave birth to a boy named Peter.

Three years later I found out my son had autism.

God was listening to Alan’s foul tongue the night he besmirched Thomas Paxton. I know He was. I wish Alan was alive so that I could blame my husband’s impetuous words for delivering cosmic karma on my doorstep. But it’s petty for me to blame Peter’s condition on that.

Still, every time I look at my son, I never forget Alan’s words and the way it taints what should be, an equal love for Peter.

Paige covers her neck every time she kisses her baby brother. I’ve never failed to cry when I see her do that. She does this with her memory still echoing of Thomas Paxton. If I ever saw Laura and her son again I would like to introduce Peter to them.

And then I would like to apologize.

An Equal Love

Robert J.K Lee

Donvale, Australia

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