Okay this is the last chapter for this story. I had fun writing it but had to end it somehow. This was actually meant to be a very short story but it turned into a long one so I made it into chapters.
Benny drove to American Classic Video the next day. He could have walked since he lived so close to downtown but it was wet outside and drizzling so he drove. He parked his car on the side and put some coins in the meter and went to the video store. Sam was there putting movie cases back on the shelf. He had some balanced on his head and he was carrying a tray in his hand and had movie cases stacked on it.
Benny watched him put the movies cases back. He take one movie case off the tray and put it back on the shelf.
Then Sam saw him. "Hey Benny," he said. "What can I do for you?"
"Do you have a few minutes?" Benny asked.
"I'm working right now," he said. "My lunch break is about to start soon so can you wait?"
"Okay, how long?"
"I don't know, when both hands are on the twelve and six."
Benny looked at the clock. It was only a few minutes till eleven. It wouldn't be for another hour and a half. "I guess I will see you at twelve thirty then," said Benny.
"Okay. Meet me here."
"How was Joon last night and this morning?"
"She had a few outbursts last night when I tried to get her to tell me what you wanted to talk to me about and she was fine this morning."
"What did she do?"
"Just threw stuff and locked herself in the bedroom so I left her alone."
"I hope it wasn't too bad," said Benny.
"She only kicked over a few chairs and threw her shoes at me before she locked herself in our room. She said it was for my own good."
"I guess she didn't want to hurt you."
Benny left and went back home. He didn't care about wasting a few coins. Eric was holding down the fort. Benny had decided he would come into work later after talking to Sam. He only worked weekdays as did Benny.
When the time came, Benny went back to American Classic Video and paid to park again. He went in the store. Sam was waiting in the front with his sacked lunch.
"Okay," he said.
"I needed to talk to you about something."
"That Joon wouldn't tell me about?" Sam asked.
"Yeah," Benny unfolded the paper. "Shall I read this to you?"
"To my car where we can have some privacy."
They went to Benny's car and he unlocked it and they both got in.
Benny started to read.
It was that same article again Joon tried to read to him.
"That's the same article Joon tried to read to me," Sam said.
"Yeah but this is important and I want you to tell me if you can relate to any of what's going on in the article, this might explain everything," said Benny.
Benny started reading. Sam listened intently without trying to be bored as he ate his sandwich.
After Benny was done reading a paragraph, he read each symptom to Sam and explained some of the meanings because Sam couldn't understand what those words meant like "literal in speech" so Benny had to use an example about the time Joon told him "You're out of your tree" and him saying "It's not my tree."
"It's also taking phrases literal and not knowing when someone is being sarcastic, problems understanding it, and jokes."
"Yeah," Sam said.
After he was done going through the list of symptoms and having Sam answering "yes or no" to each and one of them, Benny read the rest of the article
After he was done he asked him what did he think.
"It's interesting. Thanks Benny."
"But do you think you have it?"
Sam shrugged. "Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. I wonder what my own mother would say if I called her and told her? "Oh another made up condition to be lazy, stupid and weird," Sam said imitating his mother's voice.
"Your cousin Mike said the same too," said Benny. "Those two are lot alike."
"Maybe we both got switched at birth," Sam joked even though Mike was a lot older than him.
"Now why do you suppose Joon was bothered by the article and didn't want to tell you?"
"I guess I'll ask but I'm afraid she'll flip again."
"Most likely be mad at me," said Benny.
In truth, Sam didn't understand all the words in the article like motor mannerisms, ritualistic behavior, repetitive behavior, stereotypy, nonverbal communication. Maybe Joon would know.
"But did it sound a lot like you."
"Yes and no," said Sam.
"So why did you say "maybe, maybe not?" Benny asked.
"Because I'm no doctor."
"Would you like to see one then about it?"
"I don't know and I really don't care."
"I remember the label that got placed on me in school and it made me feel like I was stupid because I couldn't read or write and my mother got mad at me about it all the time and she hated my behavior and always said "Why can't you be like the other kids?" "Why can't you be normal?" "I wish my son wasn't broken."
"You're not broken," said Benny. "Your mother was wrong how she treated you."
"I still love her," he says. "I sometimes send her letters but she never writes back despite my good handwriting and use of words Joon does."
"How could you love a witch like her? She abused you," Benny said. "She made you feel bad and hate yourself, and she kicked you out."
"She's my mother," Sam said.
"Well if my own mother abused me, I would never be talking to her again or have any contact with her."
Sam finished his sandwich. "We'll I better get back to work."
"Wait," said Benny. "If you had this label placed on you, do you think your mother is going to know anything about it?"
"No. I just don't want another label and then learn there is something else wrong with me."
"So you don't want to know if you have it or not?"
Sam closed the car door and went back to work.
A whole week had gone by and Benny had still been thinking rather Sam had Aspergers or not. His girlfriend pretty much told him the same thing Joon, Eric, and Ruthie had told him. He still had the paper but he kept it in his room. His house was a little bigger because all of Joon's stuff was gone. All her toys, books, clothes, art supplies, her paintings and drawings and her furniture. They were all in her apartment.
Joon hadn't spoken to him in a week. Benny never called her to see how she was doing and he had never heard from Sam either.
Every time Joon ran low on her paint supplies, she would sometimes call him but she usually had Sam do it. If he couldn't because he didn't have the time, she called him.
Had Sam confronted her about the article?
No she was probably alright or else he would have gotten phone call saying Joon is having an episode.
Benny would never know if Sam has Aspergers or not. No one cared if he did or not, even Sam wasn't even interested in finding out if he had it or not. Who wouldn't want to know if they have a condition or not?
Now he was going to have to try and get over it. Maybe he needed to get some counseling so he can get it out of his head since he couldn't do it on his own.
Benny saw someone the following week. That doctor knew nothing much about autism but he needed someone who worked with people to get over things like failed relationships, divorce, or death of a parent or friend. He was that kind of doctor.
Dr. Marshell thought it was something that a patient was obsessing over an article, it was so unusual and uncommon. He needed his question answered before he could move on and now that Sam wasn't interested in getting assessed in it, he was screwed.
They talked about the article and the label. The doctor told him it was just a label and it doesn't define Sam. He used cancer as an example.
"Let say someone can lungue cancer, they are them, not cancer. It doesn't define them. Someone has diabetes, that disease doesn't define them. They are them, not diabetes. You are you. What do you like to do?"
"I like to play poker with my friends and we all bet on items we don't want," he said.
"Oh that's a neat idea. You guys don't play for money, you play for keeps," Dr. Marshell said.
"Just something we have been doing for the past few years when my friend started working for me. That's how we met. Then one day he invited me over to his house for a game of poker and that was how I met my other two friends. but one of them I don't know if I shall consider my friend. I hate him. He isn't very nice and he puts Sam down, and thinks labels are made up."
"Well they are," Dr. Marshell said. "Conditions need to have names."
"No I mean he thinks they are made up for an excuse to be lazy and stupid. He doesn't think the problems are real. He even thinks autism is made up too."
They both talked more until the session ended. Benny felt a little better but he still needed to keep seeing him.
He saw him four more times before he was completely over it.
It was just a label and it didn't define anyone. Did autism define Rain Man? Did Joon's mental illness define her? Did Sam's reading disability define him?
Who was Sam? Sam was someone who loves Joon very much and works at the American Classic Video. He loves old movies and knows every year to them they were released and every star in them and co star. He memorizes lines and silent acts. He loves Buster Keaton and Charles Chaplin and he cleans and cooks the unique way. He didn't care about fashion, he wore what he liked and what felt comfortable on him. So does he have Asperger's syndrome or just have traits of it but not enough to be on the spectrum? Or could his traits be part of dyslexia? Or was he just eccentric?
Left you guys hanging huh? Honestly I am not sure myself if he has it or not. I know he was meant to be eccentric in the movie but he seemed aspielike, sometimes people happen to give characters aspie traits rather it's their intention or not. Some people say he does and some say he is was nuts, eccentric, weird.