The Prompt Was A Song

I wanted to try my hand
At a new flash fiction challenge.
So last night,
I visited the site
Of the challenge.
I reviewed the rules,
To make sure I knew
What I was doing.
And then I read the prompt.

The prompt was a song.
One I’d never heard before.
The kind of music
I don’t listen to.
But, change is good.
Different is good too.
So I listened to the song.
To see what I could come up with
In 500 words or less,
When using the song
As a source of inspiration.

And over and over again
That song said just one thing.
“C’mon. Talk.”

That’s when I became
Overwhelmed.
Overloaded.

Memories flooded me.
Of countless times
I couldn’t talk.
I couldn’t say a word.
Times my voice,
My body,
My emotions,
All ran wild.
And I couldn’t talk at all.

Times when I was a church.
In high school.
35 years ago.
“Talk to me!”
She begged.
She pleaded.
And I couldn’t say a word.

I wanted to!
Oh, God, how I wanted to!
No one will ever know
How much I wished
I could have found a way
To talk.

But that part of me
Just didn’t work.
No matter what I did.
No matter how I tried.

The times the church group
Had an event,
Where everyone attended.
And I wound up
Left out
Yet again.

Because I couldn’t talk.
I couldn’t ask
To be let in.
I couldn’t say,
“Don’t leave me as
The odd one out
Again.”

The times my friends
All said to me,
“You can’t be that way.
It’s wrong.
You have to change.”

And I wanted to ask why.
What was I doing wrong.
How could they be
The way they were.
I didn’t understand.

But no words ever came.
No words ever came.

My days in college
Were the same.
There were times
I couldn’t talk.

I remember the computer lab
On one Friday morning
Around 0500 hours.
When the pretty girl and I
Sat in the lab.
Waiting for the computers
To come back on-line
From maintenance,
As we ate junk food
From 7-11.

I remember how
I never really said a word.
Hell,
It never even occurred to me
To ask her out
To a movie.

I let her talk,
When she wanted to.
But like always
I couldn’t find a thing
To say.

Not one damn thing.

The list of memories
Goes on and on and on.
The stories are so plentiful
They all blur together.

Like one from July,
Just 2 years ago.
When a friend of mine
Saw me walking in the hall
At work.

She took me by the hand
And said so many times,
“Talk to me, Mark.
Talk to me, please!”

It was the first time
I found any words at all.
And she will never know
How hard it was to talk.
How much it hurt my
Physically.
To say just two words.
“Don’t leave.”

I’ve learned,
After all these years,
What was going on.
That my inability to talk
Was just another symptom
Of my ASD.
That sometimes things just happen
That overwhelm me.

I can’t figure those things out.
And I feel completely lost.
Not knowing what to do.
Not knowing what to say.
With a million thoughts
Racing through my mind
All at the same time.

Everything locks up.
And I just can’t talk.

If you ever talk with me.
And you find a time
When I can’t say a word.
Please know
It’s not that I don’t want
To talk with you.

It’s that I’m overwhelmed.
That I need time to clear my head.
I need time to think.
And that I don’t understand at all
What’s happening
Right then.

It’s that I just don’t understand
At all.

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