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Cover
Table of Contents
Editor's Notes
Donations
Submission Guidelines
Website

Stories & Essays
Balance
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By Alison Baumy
Contemporary Cultural Differences...
_ By Ninni Siurua
Eclipsed Yesterdays
_ By Clyde Windjammer
Healthy Guy
_ By David J. LeMaster
Immortalis Letum
_ By Sophie Davis
Last Call For Salvation
_ By Angela P. Markham
My Fault
_ By Ro Thorton
Pacific Northwest
_ By Aaron Hellem
Q-Q Ca Choo
_ By Billy Pilgrim
The Best Laid Plans
_ By John A. Ward
The Ecstasy of Cooking
_ By Sam Nolting
The Girl With the Green Umbrella
_ By J.R. Earlebeck
The Gods of Houston
_ By Rebekah Frumkin

Poetry
Athena's Owl
_ By Amberly Mason
But I Have Never Known This
_ By Kaleen Love
Clouds On Your Floor
_ By Savannah Bobo
Crowded Lobby
_ By M. Blair Spiva
Ever After
_ By Bennie Johnson
Important Questions
_ By P.T. Bell
Migration
_ By Sarah Wassberg
Moon Goddess
_ By Kristina Diane Smith
Oldest Profession
_ By Ashley Polker
On Visiting Hay-on-Wye
_ By M. Blair Spiva
Sodom and Gomorrah
_ By Jessica Fannin
Wal-Mart
_ By P.T. Bell

Art & Photography
Jeremy Harker
_ Paintings
Douglas C. Knight
_ Photography
Jed Knox
_ Paintings and Drawings
May Ann Licudine
_ Paintings
Danny Malboeuf
_ Paintings
Alex Stanbury
_ Photography

My Fault
By Ro Thorton


Each of the possible indicators drives through my heart as if I’m being shot by a nail gun: language regression, not speaking by age two, repetitive motions, picky with food, avoiding eye contact, in his own little world most of the time. How could I have missed these glaring signs that my son could be autistic?

But clearly I did. When my wife Sarah became concerned earlier this year about John not speaking, I waved it off. “You know when he starts to speak it’ll be non-stop,” or, “John’s probably still figuring out whether to speak English, Mandarin, or Taiwanese. Give him some time.”

Same with his pickiness with food, eating fruits and vegetables only—now what parent wouldn’t want that for his child? The joke in the family was that John is probably Buddha reincarnated. And toys—what kid doesn’t have his or her favorite that’s all-consuming?

I was wrong. I was so wrong.

My wife and I have been good parents, I would say; we’re certainly not parents who expect their child to be the president or anything like that. I just want John to grow up happy, have a normal life, have a normal social life, get a girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever. Heck, he doesn’t even have to be bilingual like I am. But this is no longer possible.

All my previous planning is no longer applicable. You see, you just don’t think of such events happening in your life, and your life completely changing in a snap. A week ago I was ecstatic when my Ibanez EP7 Steve Vai Euphoria guitar arrived. Today that instrument is worthless to me. What you want out of life, your standards, your values, your expectations of your children—all different.

Funny, I was just recalling my conversation with my buddy Maggie the other day about my plans to send John to the leading International School in Shanghai (we currently live in China) and she remarked, “Oh so you’re sending John to school with these uber-rich children of foreign executives and government diplomats, versus that other American school in Taiwan for rich kids and children of diplomats. Sure that’s not spoiling the kid. Uh huh, yeah, okay.”

I blushed a little bit, but I was also very proud. I was able to send him there. But this is no longer possible.

Sarah had just given birth to our second child Carla four months ago. Her career is as steady as a job can be, being the executive assistant to the CEO of a large financial conglomerate. Mine seems to be getting on the right track; sure it can be better, but I have been working on this lead that might just have me set for a long while.

Sarah has already resigned to take care of John full-time, and it seems like I’ll have to as well—we are going from dual income to single, with the expectation that the medical expenses are going to skyrocket.

We will be uprooting ourselves once again to the States after leaving there four years ago. There’s no choice; the States are much more advanced in the field of pediatrics. Besides, being “different” is still looked upon with a discriminating eye in Asia. The States are much more tolerant, accepting, and helpful towards autistic children.

Unlike diseases, autism is a disorder. There is no cure. Standard length of treatment is two years, minimum.

Is this my fault? Is it my genes? Karma? How do you digest and adjust to an event that changes your life forever?

I don’t know if this sounds pathetic, but to me John is still the most adorable kid. He has character. He is my son.


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RO THORTON currently resides in Los Angeles after having lived in three different cities around Asia and the U.S. throughout her life. She enjoys writing, but has only recently written on a more frequent basis since, like everyone else, she began blogging. She classifies herself as a “media junkie.” Friends would describe Ro as random, weird (not weird funny, weird weird), loopy, crazy, a good friend to be a chauffeur when one’s totally wasted after a visit to Hooter’s, stubborn, down to earth, high maintenance, completely spaced out at times, intellectually curious, sardonic, and skeptical. But really, she’s quite optimistic.

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