A Clip From #NaNoWriMo2022, Day 8 (November 8, 2022)

There was a trigger for all of the chaos, you know. Her name was Gina. I didn’t have an affair. I’m not that kind of guy. But she talked with me. And one day, she told me she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

That was the trigger. That was what showed me how that place was. How the defense industry was. How it treated people. How people were expendable, replaceable, worthless components in a machine. How the only thing that mattered was meeting deadlines. Even if those deadlines couldn’t be met.

She went out for weeks. Everyone in that place behaved as if everything was normal. As if nothing was happening. Except me. I knew what was happening. And I spent a lot of time trying to come to terms with how everyone else was behaving.

Turned out, I couldn’t. I couldn’t be like they were. I couldn’t behave like they did. My boss at Northrop Grumman said, “You can’t afford to care.”

Boss. That was so wrong to say. You’ll never understand. But, the reality was, I couldn’t afford to not care. If I cared, it meant my soul was still alive. If I cared, it meant my heart still beat within my chest.

If I didn’t care. If I couldn’t afford to care. I was already a dead man, going through the motions of being alive every day.

Why are people so afraid of being human?

Like I said. Autism. I am clearly Autistic. I clearly live on the spectrum. I don’t care how much you scream that it’s all lies, and none of it’s true. I know. I know who I am. And what I am. And how I am.

I know my heart still beats. And my soul has not turned to cold ashes on the ground, being blown around in the wind.

I may not be an emotionally mature grown up. But at times, I look at the emotionally mature grownups I encounter, and I thank God that I’m not like them. That I’m not already dead inside.


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