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To most people, he was an autistic. To his psychologist, he "suffered" from aspergers. To society, he was a hopeless; would never get a job, and would never be able to interact productively with people.

He was no genius, by anybody's guess, but he was eccentric in that he rarely engaged with the world around him. He would watch something intently for hours; his mother talking on the phone, his gerbil running in its cage, but never his television. His psychologist said that the television was abrasive to his fragile comfort. His mother didn't understand what that meant.

He almost never talked. Which was a great disappointment to his parents; whenever he spoke, it seemed intelligible, well thought out, and even somewhat intelligent, but he never said more than a sentence, and what he said rarely made sense to anybody but himself. Not because he spoke words people couldn't understand, but rather, concepts people couldn't grasp.

Eventually he realized that what he was speaking wasn't misunderstood because people weren't smart, but because he lacked a certain perspective of the world that would let him communicate to people. Like a foreigner in a new culture, the child didn't have the synapses in his brain configured to consider the intricacies of "normal" people, to speak in the same direction as the rest of the world. He spoke with his own flow, and those around him dismissed it as part of his "condition".

Though he never understood it, his disability tore his parents apart. He knew, from what they said, that it was his fault, but he couldn't comprehend why they would leave. He would simply sit and attempt to analyze the situation, the mysteries of emotion that brought his parents together and pried them apart.



One day, in his high school years, his special education teacher took him through the hallway on the way to lunch. He was confined to a wheelchair, not because he couldn't walk, but because his teachers couldn't convince him to stand, let alone move. As he was being wheeled down the hallway, he caught the eye of a new person at the school. A foreigner, with deep black skin. He spoke broken English when he could find a companion to speak with, but after several days in the public education system, he was losing hope of gaining friends. Today, however, he met the the blank expression on the "Retard" kid. The retard looked him directly in the eye, drooling, head still tilted as if paralyzed, and spoke, "You will die some day, but you will not live if you don't learn anything, learn how to fight, and you will learn everything."

The special ed. teacher stopped in her tracks. In her two years of looking over the child, he had never said a single word. She looked at the foreign boy, and he looked at her. Tears began to stream down his eyes. She was dumbfounded, having no idea what to do in this situation.

"What did he say?" she asked.

"I do not know how to say what he just said," said the foreign boy.

"People don't understand; they know too much. They can only understand inside their cage. Until you know nothing, does everything make sense," said the retard.

The special ed teacher looked at back and forth at her student, and the foreign boy. The boy looked up, eyes still tearful, and gave the world a hopeful gaze. He thanked the retard, and went home.



Twenty years later, the boy, now a man, managed to track down his unknown friend. He made his way into the elderly home, thanked the attendant, and greeted his friend, far younger than most others at the home. His friend said nothing, until the foreigner, now a well established native, and thanked him a second time, "Thank you, without you, I don't know where I would be. I'm sorry to see that you're here, when you deserve to be somewhere better."

"Don't thank me," said the retard without averting his gaze out the window, "You and I are one entity, as normal people would think; you understand the world, and I understand you. You fought the world and won, I fought yourself and won."

And again, it made perfect sense. "I will pay for you to live in a better home, I can afford it, thanks to you." said the visitor.

"Help me die," said the retard.

The visitor thought for a moment. "I understand, but I can't help you."

"Tell me then."

"... There is a lake south of here. You could easily drown."

The retard turned his head and looked directly at his friend. "Thank you," he said. He stood up, and walked out of the room, surprising the attendant in the hall who had never once seen him in his fifteen years there, stand or walk.

He was never heard from again.

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