This is my response to the Love is Blind challenge. I didn't want to go with the typical impairment, so I chose something a little different.
The title of this story was influenced by that Cure song. Disintegration is still one of my favorite CDs of all time. So you know you may want to listen while you read and then again you may not. Robert Smith is a poet even if he does have strange taste in make up. Okay, on with the drabble. I hope you guys enjoy.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
He was harmless.
Call him an admirer not a stalker.
She had captivated him since childhood. Enthralled him throughout adolescence and now in adulthood; he was unequivocally in love. Yet he lacked the deftness needed to express those feelings to her.
Autism was his diagnosis at the age of five. The intense stares he directed towards adults and kids his age had not seemed out of the ordinary. His family had considered him shy and uncertain when introduced to new situations, not stricken with an illness, many practitioners still considered a fabricated ailment. In twenty years things had grown no better. He was a shell of a man. A mute repressed by the repetitive words spoken by the mother and father who claimed their protection of him was their only mission in life. They had threatened to pull him out of the progressive elementary school who promised to deliver well rounded, artistic, and above average students, but his violent, unapologetic tantrums changed their minds. They smothered and shielded him from the life that would have forced him to grow. They indulged his interests, buying canvases and an array of paints to fill his time, but there was only one desire that arrested his soul. Her face was the subject of every portrait he painted.
They were born in the same hospital...seconds apart...sentenced to pre school programs that encouraged them to indulge their palettes with mud and paste. She was his friend; the warm smile and soft voice that greeted him at the start of every day. His eyes burned with unshed tears on Saturday and Sunday mornings because there was no school and no warm brown orbs to soothe the surge of internalized emotions threatening to tumble over and explode. Then came Monday and all was right with his world again.
Until the teachers mentioned the strangeness of his behavior to his parents...
Where unfamiliar, fear - stricken adults shunned him and trained their children to do the same. She had been the one to offer him a grape from the bag her mother had packed in her lunch. One grape turned into two and soon, the silent boy, with the messy brown hair, was a common fixture in the Begna home. Her support never faltered. Her family did not scrutinize his every move and they welcomed his quiet nature.
Anika Begna saw him as her special listener. His ears were always open and at attention as she rattled on about her dolls, her mother's ox tails, and the dreams she had for her future, "I like that you listen when I talk."
At eleven her words settled around his heart and declared ownership of the feelings frozen by his doctor's expert medical verdict. But he was trapped, where other boys his age were willingly groping their first breast and stroking their adolescent wood, Clasby Shaw was sentenced to a silent prison unable to capitalize on his growing emotions for Anika Begna.
She fell in love at fifteen and his heart broke.
Her affections were not shared with another boy, because even he could see, she reciprocated the sentiment he was unable to express, but her affair began with the flashing lights of a photogs camera. Her talk of home was replaced by mindless regurgitations centered on high fashion and elite designers. She had always been beautiful to him; long limbs, smooth skin, and oddly shaped eyes. He should have known it would be a matter of time before the world noticed and demanded that he share.
She left him for days on end and all he had for comfort were the images of her airbrushed face staring back at him from his mother's magazines.
Clasby's behavior grew increasingly erratic. Home schooling became the only option for the continuance of his education. Without Anika he was a threat to students, teachers, and casual observers around him; attacking mercilessly on a whim, destroying classrooms when teacher's dared to sit another student in her seat or pummeling unsuspecting jocks when they chanced a comment about her curvaceous frame.
Didn't they know Anika belonged only to him?
Then she would return from abroad and the storm would end.
Despite the flatness of Clasby's tone when he said, "Hello", Anika would pick apart his sparse words and decipher the secret meaning. Her arms would circle his neck and for a moment; everything in his world was right again.
Years passed and their time apart grew. Anika spent weeks if not months on foreign continents far and wide, while Clasby remained locked in his room, knuckles deep in oil and acrylic. The subject on his canvas remained the same. Sometimes she was a life like rendering and others an exaggerated distortion of the eyes and lips he sorely missed. His works were stacked high in the otherwise immaculate room. Every stage of her life represented but his eyes always lingered on one of the first images he painted.
The day Anika returned home for good found Clasby trying his hand at charcoal etching of the woman who consumed all his moments at wake and at rest. She snuck a peak from over his shoulder and the strokes of his hand did not falter when she inquired, "Is that me?"
He did not respond verbally, but chose only to define the sweep of her lids and to reshape the bow of her top lip. She settled at his feet and watched him work. She did not disturb his process, she admired every line he added, and each shadow he employed. When the masterpiece was completed, he ripped it from his pad, and handed it over without one word.
Clasby slipped from his stool and left Anika to her thoughts. His head pounded with the words his tongue refused to form. He pressed the button on his iPod and soon a familiar voice filled the speakers.
I've been looking so long at these pictures of you...
He arranged his most recent artistic endeavors featuring Anika along his walls. Each and every canvas more beautiful then the one he uncovered before.
That I almost believe that they're real...
She gasped when he snatched the sheet from his re-creation of his five year old friend holding a bag of red globe grapes.
I've been living so long with my pictures of you...
Clasby shoved his charcoal stained hands in his pockets as Robert Smith did what he never could.
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel...
His eyes slid closed and he waited for her to exit his room and life forever. His heart didn't skip a beat when he felt her hands on his face. His lips did not turn upwards when her breath kissed his skin. His arms did not settle around her waist when her words trailed along the bend of his ear, "Feel me...I'm here...I'm real..."
Nothing else mattered because all was right with the world again.