A Friend Like No Other

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Kezia lives in a world she does not understand, a world where she doesn't belong. Paddy has been pulled from the world he thought he belonged in, only to find there is a better life than the one he
has always known. Born miles from each other the two will create a conjoined life where they are able to work as one.

Submitted: July 04, 2018

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Submitted: July 04, 2018

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There was a roadblock. Kezia knew there was a roadblock, but she wasn’t sure where it was. She knew the route was totally cut off and nothing was going to get through. Not now, not now. She couldn’t deal with it yet, she wasn’t in any sort of mindset for a roadblock, but then, that was why it had happened.

As Kezia took the step onto the bus, tripping on the edge as she went, and placed her bus pass against the reader she became aware of where the roadblock was.

She opened her mouth, saying the words ‘Perth University please,’ but no words get through, not even air left her mouth as she tried to speak.

 There was a complete road block.

The bus driver, an old and balding man with wrinkles travelling all the way from his eyebrows to his scalp, was frowning at her. He ushered roughly with his hand. Kezia dropped her bus pass and scrambled to pick it up, dropping it once more before she felt the first tears begin to well up in her eyes.

She snatched up the card on the third try and began to walk down the bus. Twenty pairs of glaring at her in confusion and complete ignorance.

The bus driver pulled away while she was walking and Kezia had to snatch hold of a bar to stop herself falling over.

As she pulled herself into a seat she could feel her chest getting tight as though someone was wrapping a string around and around her lungs, forcing them to swell out the sides. She breathed faster, compensating for the lack of lung space. She wanted to cry but she couldn’t, she couldn’t make a scene, didn’t need people to stare any more than they already were.

Kezia didn’t look at them, her own eyes focused out the window at the streets moving past, at the view of trees and buildings, but she could still feel their eyes burning into her. She felt as though hot, sharp needles pierced her skin from the iris of each and every soul on the bus.

The bus rattled and she began to feel sick, her breathing gets faster still and she fidgeted with sweaty fingers to find they didn’t help.

The bus seemed loud, as loud as it was when it was rush hour but she knew this wasn’t real, knew this was all in her head. It wasn’t that loud. It wasn’t so loud that her brain couldn’t tell what sounds were near and which were far away, it all became a vortex of noises. It only felt that loud.

The tears finally began to fall, big fat tears of true emotion. At first, she wasn’t sure what emotion she felt, they were all a mess inside her head. She felt like there was a claw machine in her mind and every emotion she reached to grab fell through the fingers of the claw and back into the pool of others.

She was panicking, she was scared and she was upset. She knew those, just like she knew it had started in the morning, knew that something had caused this but it wasn’t until she finally reached the calm confines of the quiet room that it all began to make sense.

The quiet room was a small room that could be used by anyone in the University building, it was small and comfortable and had the option of locking the door and shutting out the world. The loud, smelling and judgmental world. Kezia needed this space, needed to sink into a beanbag and feel the strings around her lungs ping off and let her breath again.

This was all because her Mum had left early. Her Mum had headed to work before she usually did, she hadn’t been there to prompt Kezia to put down her drawing and head for the bus at eight minutes past seven. Kezia had left at thirteen minutes past seven and almost missed the first bus on her two-bus journey. She had panicked.

Then someone had sat next to her on the first bus. They had touched her skin and she had felt sick instantly, desperately trying to ignore the need to push the lady next to her away or to tell the woman to stop touching her.

It had all come to a head. She had a meltdown or a shutdown – she was never totally sure of the difference. She just knew it was caused by her ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder. Kezia was autistic.

There was a chance the situation would be different for her if people knew, that people would be kinder and there would be fewer meltdowns if they could know she was different. If they could see her invisible disability if they could tell she needed help. If the world was more aware.

 

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

 

It smelled funny. It smelled acidic and it stung his nose. There were these high wooden structures and the ground was cold. The ground was cold and slippery and did not feel like the ground. There was water, he could smell water. He walked gently over to the smell and was surprised to see the water was being held in a bowl. The bowl was shiny, the sun caught it and made the water look funny. It didn’t look like normal water, it was clear, not brown.

He tentatively lapped at the water. It tasted like the smell, acidic and clinical. It smelled like the vet lady. The lady who had worn green and had given him a bath. The woman who had poured pink goo which smelled fruity and chemically all over him. She had been nice. He had licked her hands and she had smiled.

He liked her.

Now he was in a strange place, a foster home. He had travelled a long way in a box. The box had been in the dark, it had made the air thin and his ears had hurt. He had been in the box for hours and now he was here.

It was cold here, but the sun still shone so he knew it wasn’t winter. Not like any winter he had seen. He jumped up to look out the window. The human was out there. The human was an old lady, she was kind and patient from what he could tell. He liked her.

He didn’t like the room. It wasn’t like rooms he knew, and no one had chased him away yet. This room had paper on the walls and shiny plastic on the floor. It looked like wood but it wasn’t wood, he had tasted it to make sure.  There were noises, machine noises like the type made by cars, but they were in the room, they were close by and he didn’t know where they were coming from. He had sniffed one of them. It was in one of the wooden structures, hiding. It smelled ever so slightly of food.

He liked food. Food was becoming more normal since the vet lady. Every day he had food. He hadn’t had so much food since his Mum stopped. He had been smaller then, it felt like a very long time ago but he remembered. The noisy bike had got her, it had hit into her body and then she didn’t get up again.

He had tried to help her get up, he had pushed her but she smelled different, something had changed. Mum had never got up again. Her body had stopped working and he had been alone.

The people had been nice, the one that took him, then the vet lady and all the others, even the old lady with the slippery floor but none of them loved him like Mum. He didn’t think anyone would ever love him like Mum.

 

 

It had been a long process, it had taken over a year to get here but now Kezia knew she could do it. She wasn’t worried about going out, wasn’t nervous of people stopping her, of people staring at her if she did something wrong. She had Paddy. Paddy walked at her side, looking up at her every once and a while, smiling and happy to be with her. He wore a black harness, patches stuck to the side telling the world he was an Autism Assistance dog, and proud to be one.

With his lead in her hand and the tether around her waist Kezia felt strong, she felt happy and most of all she felt validated. She felt as though her disability mattered, she felt like people would not see the ‘weird girl’ any more, they would see Paddy, they would see her and Paddy and they would be gentle, they would be kind and they would wait and listen in a way they never had before.

People spoke to them now at the University, people were eager to get to know Paddy, to understand Paddy and to understand autism. They wanted to help. When they went out she knew people would be patient if she needed more time to answer their questions.

The best part was not one of these reasons. The best bit for Kezia was having Paddy at her side, having her best friend with her and knowing he would keep her as safe as he could. She knew he loved her as much as she did him, knew they were a team, that they came together like a lock and key. They were unique and special and they could be proud of who they were.

 

Paddy smelled the difference in his human friend. He knew she was a bit different from the other humans, she always had been, but when he wore his jacket she smelled different. She smelled of happiness and confidence and he liked it. He knew he could trust his human. He liked being Paddy, he liked to keep her safe from the roads where his Mum had stopped. He had a job, a special job, a job that made him unlike all the other street dogs from long ago. Paddy had a second chance. A second life and best of all he had a friend. A friend unlike any other. 


© Copyright 2020 Natalia-Rose GW. All rights reserved.

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