AN: An explanation- Basically, right now I don't like anything I write, and I haven't for the last few things I've put up here. I don't feel right adding them if I don't like them, even if I know other people do. It's putting me off writing all together. I may come back to this, or I may end up not writing at all. Thank you for reading, it means a lot to me.
John opens a letter from Hamish's bag, stood in the middle of the living room. He'd got back from picking Hamish up a few minutes ago and Hai had gone down to see Mrs Hudson. He opens the envelope (letters don't usually come like that, it's either a receipt for some school trip, a medical document-those that test a child's height and weight, done in all schools- or a report). "The school wants to get Hamish tested."
"For?" I'm reading, but still paying attention to him.
"Autism. Extreme intelligence, doesn't know how to react much socially, bored easily and throws tantrums."
"But Hamish has a lot of friends, of course he knows how to interact with other kids. Tell them to-" Hamish comes into the room, "to get lost." I put my book down and turn,"You okay?"
"I'm going to put old clothes on and we're going to do gardening."
"Alright. I'll get you something." John goes upstairs to look for clothes.
"Hai, how many friends do you have?"
"Hundreds." He laughs."I like all my class and I talk to some of the big kids because they know I'm smart." Of course, Hamish was almost something to marvel atthe children weren't cruel, just interested. Since he'd gone into the upper classes because he was bored, the kids had wanted to ask him more questions and sometimes he'd even ask them to get him work.
"I thought so. And you haven't been in trouble lately?"
"Today, the teacher was mad."
"Jess was crying and I asked why, then she said her friend had left her and I said to stop crying and that she was silly-I was being nice, because I meant it like (period/full stop) I was her friend- and she cried more. I didn't like it so I shouted at her to stop."
"Oh." I say it softly and Hamish looks upset."No, you didn't know what to do. It's okay."
"Miss Ruthurd said I was bad and made Jess sad and cry but she was already crying."
"Did that make you upset?" Hamish looks down, stamping his foot so the back of his traqiner lights up. "Hai?"
"A bit. I didn't make her cry."
"No. Just don't shout at her, that might hurt her feelings." I think that's rightly worded. I just know the little girl would have been scared, possibly angry. I guess it's behaviours like that that have lead the school to this letter, but insensitivity is normal for Hamish's age, children are self-centred naturally.
John brings the clothes to Hamish and he changes, running off back downstairs. "He's nowhere near autism. Yeah he's smart, but that's because you've always taught him. But he knows how to make friends. Any other behaviour he's expressed are pretty common for his age. He may exhibit more because he misbehaves when he's bored, but it isn't-" John sits down heavily. "I wouldn't miss this. I'm right. Should we let them test him anyway?"
I move to sit next to him on the sofa. "Yes, just so they'd realise. Otherwise he's going to get this a lot."
"You're right," John sighs. "But what do we tell Hai?"
"We don't. Just tell him it's a normal test." John looks uncomfortable, not wanting to 'lie' to Hamish but eventually nods. "The letter says it will be in a fortnight. And we have to go talk to the consultant, wait while the tests are done and then we'll be given the results."
The tests were during school time, so we go to pick Hamish up, take him to lunch and take him to the psychologists' office. The psychologist is female, a smoker, spent last night on someone's sofa-a friend's and is currently craving a cup of coffee. John introduces us and we sit down." Are you fit to be a psychologist with these addictions?"
"Sherlock," John says quietly, Hamish is behind us on the floor, playing with some Lego set up there.
"Well?" I ask, she hasn't answered.
"It's just smoking; it doesn't affect my work."
"And caffeine, your mug is empty," I run my finger around the edge of the cup on the desk "You haven't had a cup in 4 hours and your hand is already shaking. That doesn't seem like a healthy mind state to be helping people in."
"You for one say smoking helps you think. Shut up and let her work," John whispers.The psychologist has gone quiet and is moving to look at Hai. He'd began to build a house with the blocks, not as meticulous about colour as he is at home since the assortment of bricks here isn't as varied as his own set. "The school has given me some information on Hamish's behaviour, but I'd like to ask you some questions after this session. This'll take 40 minutes, you can go for a coffee or something while you wait."
"I'll get your secretary to bring you some, I say, it'll mean that her mind isn't focused on getting a drink. There'[s a look of relief in her eyes but she only nods in thanks. John tells her we'll be back early and bends down to Hai.
"Okay, so we're going to go shopping while you play some games with Linda." In order for Hamish not to suspect anything, the psychologist had told him on the phone earlier to address her by her first name. "See you in 40 minutes." Hamish turns around, looking for a clock.
"When the big hand is on the 10?"
"Yes," John says, and hugs him and stands up.
"I don't want to stay here with her," Hamish mumbles. "She looks nice but I don't know her."
"It's okay. She's lovely. And who knows, while we're out, we might find a present for you."
"I want to come." Hamish gets up, hanging on to John's hand.
"Then it wouldn't be a surprise present would it? Only a short while, you won't even notice we aren't here." Hamish throws himself down, sulking. "Do you want me to get him to be cooperative or is he okay?" John asks this to Linda, who just tells us to go.
"Bye Hai." I ruffle his hair as I pass, but he doesn't pay much attention, too busy in his sulk. Not that this kind will last for more than 3 minutes.
As we exit the building, I turn to John. "Shopping? Really?"
"Nah, that was just an excuse for the present really. It'll only be a few minutes then we'll go to a café."
"You can hardly find a crime to solve in 40 minutes-no, forget that you'll take it as a challenge. We'll go the Science Museum and you can see if they fixed what you told them to." We'd taken Hamish there a few months ago and I'd found 6 errors in their displays, recored them and sent them to the manager. John had bought a pass in January that enabled us to go around the museums and galleries of London whenever we wanted, and with the price he'd isnsited we go to one every week. Sometimes he'd take Hai to oneshe'd liked twice, but I missed those trips.
We take a cab to the high street, taking us 15 minutes to get Hamish's toy and go to the museum. I ask about the corrections at the desk and the woman has no idea so John and I run to each part-John apologising to anyone I pushed past- they'd made all the corrections, thank god. We get back to the psychologist's office early as John had promised and wait with the secretary.
We're called in a 3 minutes late and Hamish is reading, the doctor sat next to him on the floor. She gets up and comes to her desk "I think you should send Hamish to wait outside. He can take the book."
"No, he can hear anything here. Now it's over, he may as well know what the test was for, I explain, and she nods. John and I had discussed this earlier and both thought that Hamish needed to know everything. Although Hai is reading, he may not pay any attention. "Sure," Linda says and flips her notebook. She smiles when she looks up, John and I are both reading the notes upside down.
"Okay, so Hamish is not charted on the autism spectrum, neither does he show that he could have something which wouldn't show up, or tendencies towards other similar disorders. "
"I know,John says and she clears her throat to speak again, obviously she hadn't expected an answer.
"The questions I would usually ask seem void.Hamish told me a lot. He seems truthful."
"Well…" John starts, but she stops him.
"But I have to anyway. When Hamish is in trouble, is he regretful?"
"After sulking, yes. He tends to get really upset when he's told off by either of us." John says. I'm watching Hamish. He isn't reading, only pretending to, listening to everything we say.
"Hai, come here if you want to know what we're talking about," Hamish frowns, trying to act confused but gets up and sits on my knee.
"About twice a month. Can range from a minute to half an hour." She notes this down, and John, reading it ,adds," His sulks are worse. Can last for hours. Though I think that's more copying my husband."
"And Hamish tells you if he's upset? It's easy to spot?"
"Yes, pretty much. But Sherlock is rather talented that way."
"I can tell." She smiles. "If either of you, or anyone else is ill, sad, angry does Hamish know? Does he react appropriately?"
"Dad is angry lots. Mostly at Father," Hamish says and Linda raises her eyebrows.
"Do you two have a healthy relationship? John, how angry do you get?" I have no idea what this has to do with Hamish's test, but I tell her anyway. Hai had just demonstrated what she wanted so that was void.
"Most people describe my behaviour as infuriating. John has to put up with that every day. It's expected. By anger Hamish means a small level of irritation, usually grumblings and some shouts. Nothing violent."
"I didn't know you noticed things like that, Hamish." I stare at him. Does he not listen to anything I've tried to teach Hai?
"Usually I'd do something more extensive, but I have enough here and another client is due soon, I need to tidy up." Hamish had left books and bricks everywhere, the psychiatrist had to follow him from one activity to another as he played to complete the examination.
"So you'll send the report to the school? And we'll have a copy?"
"Yes. This'll all be on his medical records." Linda stands, shakes John's hand and leads us to the door.
"I could get Hai to clean if you'd like," John offers, to which Hamish promptly runs for the lift.
"It's fine." She laughs, then shouts, "Bye Hamish!" down the corridor.
"And now they can all shut up, John says with a sigh.
"Good." We're at the liftand Hamish turns to John, pulling at the carrier over his arm.