Just shopping

by Kathy Cox

Out and about on a well known street
Casual acquaintances I hope I don’t meet
Scripts in my head shopping list in my bag
Phone on silent and my pace starts to lag.

I stand in a queue
Whilst unscrambling my thoughts
I pick out my script
I know what to do.
Three days planning
One day undone
Simply leaving the house
Weighs down like a ton.
My husband will drive me
I have kept him on hold
Four days deliberating
For this trip to unfold.

But it’s the traffic and the parking
And the people and the sounds
And the sirens and the barking
In my head crash around.
The clinking of the trolleys
And the scanners bleeping out
It’s not really fun for me
To be out and about.

I take all of this home with me
To try and off load
It’s not everyone’s experience
Or so I am told.

For trying to be normal
For trying to fit in
A square peg in a round hole
Where do I begin?
Diagnosis at sixty
Autism made clear
Where have I been for all of those years?

No one would guess
As I walk through the town
My senses are challenged
All smells and all sounds.
And then I get home
I zone out in my chair
Hidden disability
Difficult to share.

©Kathy Cox