“I want the coke! I don’t want the Pepsi!” Avery yelled with hand motions from the back seat. He had a thing for coke. It wasn’t the way it tasted. He liked the symbol of the coke bottle and he loved the color red.
Avery was born Autistic. He was obsessed with not changing anything in his life.
He loved red. He had his bedroom decorated in red. He wore red Keds. He had red pajamas. He loved red Kool-aid. He was now nine years old and as long as those around him kept his routine the same; he was fine.
Teaching him new things was a challenge; but could be accomplished with much patience and professional training. He didn’t like school very well. He didn’t have very good social skills.
What he did like was spending time with his older sister; but that was a difficult task to achieve. The parents liked Avery being quiet. If others became involved in his life, wouldn’t that cause an eruption in their day?
There was a strong bond between the sister and brother. Some may even say they could somehow read each others minds. Whatever the travel of thought was, the point is that the sister understood.
Tonya played alone or sometimes was allowed to have her friends over. When times arose where it threw the brother and sister together, the two clung together. She read to him. She sneaked him pieces of her candy. She made faces at him and he would laugh.
When she got older and began working, she would stop and buy him a coca-cola. He would squeal in delight as he took the bottle from her. When the bottle was emptied, he handed it back to Tonya. Tonya would rinse it out and set it on Avery’s shelf that hung on his bedroom wall.
The parents gradually turned the care of their son over to their daughter, as they became more involved in grown-up games. In fact, for some time now, Tonya was pretty sure Avery considered her his mom.
When the parents divorced, Tanya moved her brother into her apartment. She had hired care takers to come take care of him while she worked and when she arrived home, her evenings were spent with him.
Their lives seemed so perfect. A child born normal, a child born with handicaps. Each interested in the other. Each putting the other first. No one could ask for a better relationship than this one.
Tonya was coming home from work one day when she was hit hard from behind, by a drunk driver. Tonya didn’t make it. She died instantly. The care taker didn’t know what to do, so she called the police.
With a chain reaction, Avery was placed in a Disability group home. He was miserable. He acted out. He bit others. He screamed too much. He refused to eat. He didn’t know how to fix things. All he knew was he wanted his sister.
His refusal to eat sent him to the doctor’s, but even with the professional advice, he wouldn’t eat. In less than a month, he was standing by his sister, both holding hands, and they were smiling and sharing a coca-cola with the red coke symbol on the bottle.