Afternoon in University Place

The bus dropped Rachel and I off in front of the Freddy’s Market, and my little sister said, “Jess and I did promise you could pick out a Christmas movie for all of us to watch.”

My mind was on just one thing as we walked across the parking lot, and that was the promise that I got to see Kristin again.  “Oh, it’s lunch time,” Rachel said with a voice that sounded too scripted as we walked in the front door, “Maybe we should eat first.”  My heart started racing, as if my sister was giving me a hint as to why having lunch was so important.

There she was, in the café, beaming at us.  Kristin ran up to me, pulled me into a bear hug, and said, “Your sister seems to know exactly when my break is.”  Like Rachel, Kristin’s voice seemed odd, as if she rehearsed what she was going to say.  Kristin’s hug grew tighter and all thoughts of this being planned were cleared from my mind: I got to be hugged by my third most favorite female after my two sisters.

“Kristin, your order is ready,” Came a voice.

“I got you the fried chicken you liked at the Renton Freddy’s,” Kristin said as she motioned for us to sit down.

It hit me from out of nowhere: all the memories of the cereal aisle in the Freddy’s Market in Renton. Delores calling me a “no good incestuous bitch” and knocking Jessica out of her wheelchair. “Crap not again,” Rachel moaned as she and Kristin both realized exactly what was going on.

Kristin latched onto me, just as Rachel instructed her to do. Kristin whispered, “I think it is bad memories of what happened to Jessica.”

“I think you’re right,” Rachel replied as tears began to flow from my eyes, “I should get him to the apartment. Let him calm down in private.” I tightened my grip on Kristin and continued sobbing on her shoulder. Realizing that I was beyond the point of no return of a full on Autistic Meltdown, Rachel said, “Kristin when you get home from work, please do me a huge favor: he is going to want to cuddle up with you, and he will want to hold you tightly as if he is never going to see you ever again. I know my brother: even cuddling with me won’t be enough in this instance, because it was you who pretended to be his girlfriend that fateful day and it was you who got on that 2 and unnerved Delores. Right now, he is trying to show how grateful he is for what you have done for him these past couple of weeks. He can spend the night with us tonight and I will message Jessica, and I will work on dinner.”

I continued to hug Kristin tightly and she said, “I understand, and I have seen pictures of you and him cuddling. I understand how close he will want to get.” Turning her attention to me, Kristin added, “Let me help you finish lunch. Rachel, do you trust me? We promised he could pick out a movie and I have 20 more minutes on my break.”

“I trust you if you need to hand feed him,” Rachel said.

“Here goes nothing,” Kristin said as she began feeding me, like a mother feeding a young child.  Tears flowed down my face as I realized just what lengths both women would go to so that my shattered life was put back in order.

After helping me to eat Kristin said, “Let me help you to the movie section.” I was an emotional wreck and Kristin struggled to get me to my feet. Rachel handed her some cash, which she pocketed to be used to pay for the movie I was supposed to pick out.

“What I had in mind was that I would take you to the movie section of the store, pay for it, then you and Rachel would head to the apartment.  I promise I will come straight home,” Kristin said, “Here, put your arm around me.”. She then motioned to Rachel, “Once his movie is paid for, take him to the apartment.  I’m due home at 6.”

Rachel took my hand after Kristin paid for my movie and said, “Let me take you to the apartment.  Jessica knows you are going to spend the night with me.”

I did not want to let go of Kristin, as Rachel led me to the front door of Freddy’s Market to go back to the apartment.  “OK here’s my promise: when we get to the apartment, you can snuggle up with me all day.  Promise: Kristin will be here at dinner time.  She knows you need her.”  Rachel held me tightly as we waited for the crosswalk signal, as my gentle sobbing continued.

“Would you like to sit on the sofa with me, or lie in bed with me,” My sister asked as we entered the living room.

I wanted to lie in bed with her, though she knew I really wanted to cuddle with Kristin, and I was able to communicate that need by heading towards her bedroom.  We climbed into her bed together, and I flat out wailed in her arms.  “Hold me as long as you need to,” My sister said, “Kristin will be here later and will let you hold her just as tightly tonight.”

I looked into Rachel’s eyes, and tried my best to communicate that I wanted Kristin to join us tonight, but the words just could not come out of my mouth.  I was at least grateful that I could cry in my little sister’s arms, but I wanted to hold Kristin just as badly.  “It’s all over.  That old bat does not know where this apartment is, nor does she know where Jessica’s house is.  I’m right here, and Kristin will be here later.  Tomorrow, you will get to have Kristin to yourself all day since she is off.  I promise you: things will get much better.”

“Kristin,” I whimpered, with a very weak voice, “Tonight.”

“You want Kristin at your side tonight,” Rachel asked.

“You too,” I whimpered.

“You want Kristin and I to spend the night at your side,” Rachel asked.  I nodded yes and she wiped some tears from my eyes.  “OK all three of us together, in bed tonight,” She said, wanting to make sure that is what I wanted.  I nodded again, and found myself curled up in my baby sister’s arms.  “You won’t be happy unless you have a girl hugging you,” Rachel whispered, holding me very protectively.

After a few hours of cuddling with my baby sister, we heard the front door unlock.  “In my bedroom,” Rachel called through the open door.  Kristin entered and Rachel said, “You have no idea how much you mean to my brother right now.  To tell you the truth, he has been crying all afternoon because he just wants you to hug him again.”

“I understand,” Kristin said as she sat on the bed at our side.  I immediately threw my arms around Kristin, who gladly took me into her arms.  She asked me, “What do you need?”. My crying grew louder as my grip grew tighter and she whispered, “You may cuddle with me.  Your sister will make dinner for us, and will make one of your old favorites while I let you snuggle up with me.  Let’s move to the living room sofa so that you can be ready when dinner is ready.”

“We will watch your movie tonight during dinner.  How does that sound,” Rachel asked as she and Kristin helped to move me from Rachel’s bed to the living room sofa.  I nodded yes, wanting to watch the movie with both women at my side.  “Let’s get the movie to the main menu, and we will start it only when dinner is fully ready,” Rachel said as I was seated on the sofa with Kristin.

“Rachel told me how you were craving my company last night, and I’m ok with why you are needing me right now.  Dinner won’t take too long to make, and you will have both of us at your side,” Kristin said, trying to calm me down.

It wasn’t too long before Rachel came over with three bowls.  “I made you a promise,” My sister said as she sat on the sofa, “Your absolute favorite meal from our childhood.”

I realized just how grateful I was to have both women at my side, and I whispered, “Sow the seeds.  Grateful.”

Rachel replied, “What are you saying?”

“On bus 2,” I replied, nervously sweating.

Kristin said, “I think he’s trying to say he’s glad I got on the #2 that day.”

“Your mere presence made Delores uncomfortable,” Rachel remarked, remembering the event very well.

“She looked visibly worried when he recognized me,” Kristin replied as both women continued to gently stroke me.

“Here, let’s get some food,” Rachel said as she poured a small sprinkle of cheese on my dinner.  Realizing what was going to need to be done, Rachel took a small spoonful of Mac & Cheese and said, “Yes, we will hand feed you if we need to.”

Once the movie was over (I picked out one of our favorite Christmas classics), Rachel said, “Kristin, do you mind joining us tonight?”

“Not a problem.  I actually had a weird feeling he would ask for this.  How about we each get a shower then meet in your room,” She replied. My grip on Kristin tightened and she realized just how deep my Autistic slump was and said, “Let me just switch to PJ’s and I will gladly keep you company tonight.”

Very reluctantly, I let go and pulled my baby sister into a hug. Rachel said, “It’s alright. Kristin will join us in a moment. Promise. She understands how much you need her right now. Tell you what: tonight I will sleep on one side and Kristin will sleep on the other, so you can hug both of us.”

My mind was realizing that Rachel wanted hugs as well as we went into her bedroom. As the realization of what I was doing kicked in, I pulled my sister onto her bed, pulled her into the tightest hug I could muster, and started crying loudly again.

Kristin was not long at all. She sat on the bed next to Rachel and I and asked, “What happened?”

“He needs both of us to hug him,” My sister replied, “He will sleep in the middle so that we are both in his reach.”

“I hope you pull out of this by morning,” Kristin said with a concerned look on her face as she climbed under the blanket with Rachel and I, “I did notice that you couldn’t bear to be away from me for even a moment.”

“Special Pillow,” I managed to whimper before dissolving into uncontrollable sobs.

“Special Pillow,” Kristin asked.

Rachel said, “Now please don’t get grossed out, but he likes to lie on my breast. I can’t explain why, but it is comforting to him.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Kristin said as Rachel adjusted me so that I could lie on her breast. Both women were caressing me as I sobbed some more, still feeling bad that I ignored Rachel’s need to be hugged earlier.

“Thank you,” Rachel said as my sobs quieted down.

“No problem.  We are all adults,” Kristin replied, “Mind if he lies on my breast?”

My sister gently transferred me to Kristin and she explained, “I’m going to be honest: he will usually massage my other breast.”

Kristin responded by taking my hand and allowing it to cup her other breast. She whispered, “Rachel, I want to be honest: I kind of got the impression that he was so upset that if not for privacy needs with getting changed, he would’ve wanted me to come straight to bed.”

“I personally don’t mind getting changed in front of my brother, because we are used to having to help Jessica. Before she got an Accessible place to live, it was his job to help her with life’s tasks, and the three of us would often gather in the mornings and evenings for bathroom breaks,” Rachel said.

“I don’t think that’s gross,” Kristin said, “To be honest, I would be OK if he wanted me fully undressed, and yes I’m being serious.” I looked up into Kristin’s eyes, and she dried my tears and asked, “Is that what you want? No strings attached, no special demands. Just birthday suits.” It was as if my baby sister’s roommate could read my mind. “You’re blushing,” She said, “So I take it as a yes.”

Rachel started pulling her shirt off as she said, “We both promise we will go at your pace. We know she rushed you, and at any time you can ask us to get dressed.”

Both women were naked before my brain caught up to what was happening, and all I could do was shake my head no.  “You want us to get dressed,” Kristin asked.  I nodded, unable to speak.  “OK we can get dressed.  We don’t want to rush you into anything,” She said as she started putting her night clothes back on.

My sister followed suit as well as she added, “We understand you aren’t ready yet.  We are both sorry we pushed you.”  My sobbing subsided a little bit as both women held me and Rachel whispered, “I’m your sister.  The last thing I want to do is hurt you again.”

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