Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: Blueberries for Ty
By Donnah Cole
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"Yuck...Out of all the institutions in town, it's got the worst reputation..."
Lauren shook her head. "Whew...There's gotta be a loophole. Even though he's high functioning, the anxiety component of his autism is out of control. Any ideas as to why he's so restless?"
Ben stroked his beard. "Well-l-l, besides the fact his only living relative is
dead...nothing. He just keeps slapping that ol' aluminum pie pan against his head and saying 'Boo-bear Gamma' and 'Jesus' over and over."
"Ohhh-kay...I know who 'Jesus' is, but...Boo-bear Gamma?" Lauren's voice hinted
"Yeah...makes no sense. We're all guessed out. What's your guess, boss?" Ben
"I tell you what, Ben...right now, my job is to convince the lawyers that Tyson's safety is in jeopardy. It's imperative they file a motion to have this ridiculous will overridden. Your job - quit <I>guessing</I>! Get me some facts as to what Tyson's lingo is all about and why in the world he has a pie pan instead of a security blanket!"
Ben pushed his chair away from the gray metal desk and nodded at the insurmountable pile of paperwork. "Okie-dokie...have fun! I know I will...Decoding a 4-year-old's language beats the heck out of doing paperwork!"
"Go!" Lauren ushered him out the door and locked it. She lifted her hand to close the office blinds but stopped when she saw the fretful child. Tyson, a toe-head with huge brown eyes and freckles dotting his nose, rocked back and forth on a plastic chair. Between his small hands, he gripped a bent pan, and she knew it would be useless to attempt prying it away. It was his only connection to peace.
<I>I've got to get him into Wellington. He needs solitude...</I>
"Ben! Come here!" Lauren grabbed his arm, pulling him into her office. "They did it! The lawyers convinced Judge Matheson to approve placement at Wellington...until Ty's stable anyway."
"That's great, Lauren - just wish it was permanent."
"Yeah...Has Ty calmed down any?"
"No...but, I did get a'hold of the deceased grandma's neighbor, a...Ms. Sellinger. She's in the waiting area...Says she can answer all our questions. I don't know though - she's loopy, if you ask me..."
"Why do you say that?"
"Ohhhh...you'll figure it out. Just remember...it's sunny outside!" Ben winked.
A tiny woman wearing a yellow raincoat, galoshes, and carrying a golf-size umbrella strolled into Lauren's office.
"Hello, Ms. Sel-"
"Hello deary. Let's not waste time-I must get home. Can't stand the rain...Can't stand it..."
"Okay...well...Can you tell us what Boo-bear Gamma means?" Lauren cut to the chase.
"Oh, goodness..." she paced by the windows, peering at the sky as she spoke. "You never picked blueberries with your grandma? Tyson did. <I>Every</I> day, his Gamma would lead him into the backyard to the blueberry bushes, and they'd pick and eat for hours. I got such joy outta watchin' them from my bedroom window."
Lauren's eyes widened as the woman opened the umbrella and began to take tiny jumps beside the wall of windows. "The only thing I like about rain is the puddles...I love puddles!"
"Ms. Sellinger! Could you tell me more about Ty?"
"Ohhh! Well...they'd stop pickin' and then Ty would flick the pie pans which Gamma had hung in the bushes...you know, to scare away the birds. He'd flick 'em until they twirled. The sun would bounce off 'em and hit him in the eyes. He'd laugh. Ohhh, how he'd laugh!"
She stopped the pleasantries and jammed the umbrella hard against the floor. "He won't be happy at Wellington...he won't be!"
Lauren's heart sank as doubt surfaced. Sighing, she picked up the phone and dialed the lawyer's number.
"Shoooo!" Lauren smacked the pie pans.
"Shoooo!" Ty's arms flapped at the birds. "Boo-bear Ty...Boo-bear Ty." His fingers plucked the blueberries and popped them into his mouth.
As she watched her child enjoy the delicious fruit, Lauren reminisced over the previous 3 years. <I>Her</I> plans to be a career social worker were exchanged for <I>God's</I>plans...better plans - a marriage to Ben, Ty's adoption, Ben's promotion into her job since she was now a stay-at-home mom, and a backyard full of blueberry bushes decorated with aluminum.
Lauren pulled Ty close. "I love you, Ty. Did you know that? Who loves you more than me though?"
"Jesus." He popped a blueberry into her mouth.
"Boo-bear Ty." He pushed her away and smacked a pan.
Laughter erupted from his heart.
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