When I began high school, I developed a passion for science and research, which led me to learn more about ASD and the science behind it. Growing up with a younger brother with autism, there would always be screaming and arguments. My parents and my brother would scream back and forth like a tennis match. Wherever we went as a family, whether it was a vacation or just a dinner out, the fighting would always follow us. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just calm down and control his frustration. As I’ve learned more, I now know that this is my brother on the spectrum, but the spectrum does not define him. Autism is just a piece of who he is in totality. I think as I’ve grown up I’ve learned to stop hating autism for making our lives so hard and rather learned to find strategies to cope with it. If he didn’t have autism, he wouldn’t be the crazy, amazing person he is today.
On September 11, my brother left for yet another boarding school. My friends and family would ask me, “Are you sad that your brother is leaving?” My response was always the same. “I mean he has been away multiple times before. I’m sure I’ll be fine.” I think this time was different than all the other times. This summer, my brother and I got a lot closer. There was not as much arguing in the house as there used to be and we spent more time together. We watched episodes after episodes of Rick and Morty together. He would yell at me if I watched an episode without him. When he left, I hugged him and told him to Facetime me everyday. I thought I would be okay with him leaving.
I was wrong. It has been approximately 9 days since he left. I really miss him. On the weekends, we would wake up and get breakfast together whether it be at IHOP or Dunkin’. At Dunkin, he would get a whole feast: three strawberry frosted donuts and five chocolate glazed munchkins (disclaimer: he is a really skinny boy). I miss those trips a lot even if on the way home I had to listen to his awful rapping to his girl Nicki. I spent last Saturday night crying about how much I missed him, my best friend. The next morning, I was ready to ask if he wanted to do another Dunkin run but he wasn’t home. He was at school and I would have to wait weeks just to laugh with him again.