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Brought to you by the students of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

By Benjamin Cox


I am Caleb.  I am 17.  I ride the little yellow bus.  I am daddy’s son – biggest, first one.  He has big eyes for me; not like his eyes for michael and patrick. His eyes say love, but say it different, say: I’m sorry.  mom has big eyes, too. hers say fear and love; love for Caleb, fear for michael, patrick, mommy: fear big Caleb might hurt.  michael and patrick have no eyes – none for Caleb.  


dad is a good builder, he builds a biglocked box for knives and forks and can openers – Caleb can’t open.  he builds a home for us with two bigfront doors, two bigfront locks so Caleb doesn’t run (Caleb doesn’t run).  he builds a bigshoe closet and hides Caleb’s sneakers so Caleb doesn’t run (Caleb doesn’t run).


“Caleb”: I know my name. hear it calling:


Caleb don’t run Caleb be nice Caleb play gentle Caleb don’t make noise Caleb don’t touch Caleb don’t look Caleb sit down Caleb stand up Caleb wear your tie Caleb don’t sing in church Caleb hold mom’s hand Caleb stay in the car Caleb shoe’s off Caleb


sunday. church.  mommy brings me to pew. mommy says sit down     [NO]     now     [NO!] – I sat mom down, greendress and greyhair CrUmPlEd.  daddy down from pulpit. fist in daddy’s eye. choir girl screams BLOOD red eye BLOOD red BLOOD.


running.  bear foot. snow toes.  slush, blackgrey road.  bluesilvergreen SHWOOOOOMS!  everywhere everyway not like trains no tracks no schedules no yellow bus just tin and clatter and horns and sirens and barks and feet in the slush find the road find the road underfoot foot forward losing touch get to night get to black get to road find the road run must run.


I hear church people – old men, girls, immigrants, michael, patrick, mommy, daddy yell and run:  Caleb come back Caleb where are you Caleb be safe Caleb don’t run Caleb we’re here Caleb we won’t hurt you Caleb we love you.


Daddy gets the van. Daddy finds me one mile outside town – blue, white, wet – unfeeling.  Daddy unlocks door.  Daddy with shoes and big socks for his biggest boy.  Daddy always has them, always ready to run after. Daddy hugs. Daddy’s blood on my hair: tears.


I am Caleb. I am 17. I still ride the little yellow bus.  I am Daddy’s son – biggest, first one – and when I run, Daddy runs, bleeding: he finds me.

Caleb: 17 years old, Autism



Copyright © 2012 Mentis

About the Author:


Benjamin Cox is a first-year medical student