Pirates are cooler than ninjas - Raising awareness of autism & Asperger Syndrome

Denyses' story.

Here is a short story that Denyse has kindly given to us for our website:


           It’s impossible to try and decide anything with these constant interruptions, Ben grumbled to himself as he dodged yet another squabbling couple on the promenade that ran the length of the beach. What’s wrong with everyone? He wondered. Isn’t Valentine’s Day supposed to be a time for couples to concentrate on romance? The more loving the overture, the better it is to receive? He stepped onto the beach shingle, veering towards the tide line, taking out his frustration as he walked along it, the crunch of the papery seaweed husks simultaneously soothing and satisfying. Ben knew that he was singularly lucky to have had Joanie to love all these years; they had never fought, not once. There was no need for disagreements.  They enjoyed their togetherness too much to waste time in discordance about anything; if one of them was happy with the task at hand then the other was able to enjoy it by proxy. Which made Ben’s dilemma today all the more ridiculous.  He shouldn’t be struggling to make the right choice for Joanie; it should be immediately obvious to him because he’d had enough years of loving her to know by now exactly what she would want.

          Chocolates! Ben suddenly remembered buying her a small box that first Valentine’s day.  They’d only been courting a few weeks and he worried that Joanie, his fashionable hippy girlfriend, would think it ridiculous that he’d bought her such an unimaginative and traditional gift.  He’d dithered, fretted and almost changed his mind in favour of a tie dyed bandana. She’d professed delight with the confectionary of course and he’d enjoyed watching her work her way through the box, the ones with nuts went first, then the cream filled ones and finally the liquor laced ones all but the amaretto ones which were left looking forlorn in their shaped sections in the otherwise empty tray.

            “Chocolates are dreamy but I can’t bear the taste of almonds,” she explained with a shrug.  Lifting an exquisitely decorated chocolate out of the box, she’d brushed it against his lips until he parted them and crunched through the semi hard shell, his teeth sinking into the sublime softness inside. He’d shuddered as a frisson of delight moved from his taste buds to lower fore region, taking a sip of his coffee to rinse his mouth before kissing her until the edges of his perception softened and blurred in a most addictive manner.            

              The following year he’d stuck to his first success of going the traditional route and  gave her a large bouquet from which a stunning array of colours exploded from the mixed varieties of foliage and flowers.  He’d watched as she surreptitiously stroked the petals of the large gerberas, over and over, during the days that the flowers lasted. It seemed each time she kissed him afterwards, that her lips were as soft on his as the petals were to touch.

                One birthday he’d gifted her with an arm load of gerbera ‘forever’ daisy plants and two packets of bunny tail grass seeds.  “I liked watching the way your face relaxed as you touched the petals and I’d love to be able to see you look like that for a whole summer”, Ben said, and smiled in response to her delighted grin.  They’d spent a happy afternoon planting the bulbs in the flower beds they’d dug into the lawn edges of their new home and scattering the grass seeds in two large pots.  For months that year they’d been able to drift in their garden smoothing the velvet skinned petals between their fingers and running their hands over the grass heads.

                 When they married, the buttonholes and bouquet were fashioned from flowers they’d grown themselves; yellow, orange and fuchsia gerberas with cottontail grass heads peeking out amongst the flowers. Even now these memories made his heart swell with surges of joy,  a reflection of how precious those individual touches were, the ones that they’d added to the day they formalised their love. And, so their love continued; special, altruistic and rarely taken for granted.  They appreciated but didn’t need the frequent reminders of their friend’s subtly envious comments. Each year Ben instinctively chose a Valentine’s day gift that Joanie would describe as perfect or, that it was just what she’d wanted without knowing it until she’d opened her gift.            

                 “How do you always choose the perfect gifts when I never give you any hints?” Joanie ask curiously one year.            
                  “I just picture you while I’m shopping for your gift and the right decision’s easy to make. I like to buy things that make you smile.” Ben grinned down into Joanie’s eyes and wrapped his arms around her, relishing the softness of the embrace, knowing there was more of the same to be found inside the woman he adored.            

                   “I could never do that” said Joanie the eternal pessimist, with a moue of disgust over her self perceived flaw. Ben knew that she always expected to fail at the slightest hurdle whereas he, an eternal optimist, welcomed the fact that each endeavour would be a success to varying degrees.

                    I want to be helping her chose a new frock instead of having to decide which outfit in her wardrobe will serve as what might as well be called her shroud, Ben thought miserably, tears welling in cadence with the waves of longing to wrap his arms around Joanie and sink into the smile in her eyes. Then, as he mentally flicked through the dresses in Joanie’s side of their wardrobe, he was forced to smile at the way they were hung in precise colour coordination, it was like looking at a cheery rainbow. Though he outwardly kept placing one foot in front of the other, Ben mentally paused mid step as he noticed the orange raw silk dress so bright it seemed to glow amongst the other colours. That’s the perfect frock for Joanie to wear one last time Ben thought and, somehow, felt a little flicker of happiness.


Keep watching this page as Denyse has written a wealth of short stories and she promises to share more with us!!!

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