By Miranda Keskes -
A child is spinning beside the slide in our community playground. Arms outstretched, eyes closed, head tilted up towards the noon sun. Her spinning gets faster, more frantic.
My body tenses as I sit at the edge of the park bench, watching. Waiting.
A flurry of girls swirls past the child, bumping her as they go. I gasp, but she laughs and joins them. One of them takes her by the hand, pulling her to join in a game of tag.
My gaze follows, stopping to land on another girl: arms outstretched, eyes closed, head tilted up towards the noon sun. Her spinning gets faster, more frantic.
I watch. I wait. The other girls don’t stop to take her hand. They keep their distance.
The girl trips over her own feet and falls hard on the ground. One of the girls cups a hand over another’s ear, whispering, giggling as they watch her.
She gets up. She doesn’t wipe the grass off her dress. She doesn’t look at them. Her head tilts towards me, an acknowledgement.
She is mine: my sweet Lily.
The right side of her mouth curls up slightly. She spins again.
Spinning, always spinning.
Funny, how spinning sounds like stimming.
Stimming, the doctor said, is a behavior consisting of repetitive actions or movements, a soothing behavior that helps children with autism cope with stressful situations.
I look down at my nails, bitten to the quick.
Stimming, always stimming.
Miranda Keskes is a freelance writer, editor, and educator raising two rambunctious boys with her husband in Michigan. Her nonfiction has appeared on numerous sites, including Ann Arbor Family Press, Scary Mommy, SPM MockMom, and in the anthology, You Do You (edited by Jen Mann). Her short fiction is forthcoming in the anthologies, 100 Ways to Die (Crow’s Feet Journal) and Home (Fragmented Voices). You can find more of her work at keskesink.com. Find her on Twitter at @MirandaKeskes.