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"Strangers": a short story. My name is Dean and its everyone else thats crazy, not me.

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Strangers Dean My name is Dean and it's everyone else that's crazy, not me. I've never understood why no-one else seems to see the world like I do, but just recently I've given up expecting that someday soon they will. I have become accustomed to the fact that no-one seems to see the smoky fumes spiralling disgustingly into the sky, no-one is deafened by the constant buzzings and bleepings of the latest technologies, and no-one is blinded by the thousand flashing lights they pass by each day. Maybe they don't want to notice, or maybe they're just too busy listening to their iPods anyway. It's the kind of thing a trendy, young-adult, pretentious magazine might call 'modern living'. And I hate it. Yesterday I made a resolution: if one more thing annoyed me that day then I'd get out of here, catch a train to some unknown village of cows and mud and peace, and leave this city forever. Eleven minutes later I saw a man on the street with a guitar and sad eyes and nobody paying him any attention, and that's why I've gotta get out of here. Michael My name is Michael and I am autistic. And I hate how that fact is always so immediate, following straight on from my name, like it's what defines me. It's not what defines me. I am aware that I see things differently to other people, of course I am. But this is how things have always been in my life, so it's normal to me. It's everyone else that's crazy. I am an avid reader and have a mild interest in water polo. ...read more.


The idea of not being able to think scares me more than anything else in the world, and that's why I've got to get out of here. Dean I pass twitching-boy again as I make a bee-line for the sandwich bar. His hand are planted each side of the timetable board and he's staring deep into it like it holds the secrets to life's greatest mysteries. Maybe, to him at least, it does. The fact that he's using the long-forgotten, printed on paper (actual PAPER, man! From trees!) board makes me smile. Because nowadays who needs the humble timetable sheet when all the information you need (and a lot you don't want) flashes at you from electronic screens every way you turn? I make my decision almost instantly, because I am a man that believes in everything happening for a reason. I resolve that I see this boy once more before I get on my train, then I will go over and talk to him, no matter what. Because maybe I'm seeing him around so much for a reason. With this resolve made, my steps are lighter as I continue on my way towards my immediate goal: a ridiculously overpriced but so satisfying I don't care chicken and mayo baguette. But the bloke that serves me this culinary masterpiece is nothing short of unkind, and it makes me feel sick. In what should have been a simple exchange of money and goods, he manages to make a grand total of six derogatory statements about my appearance, voice, attitude and general demeanour. He even passes comment on my hair (which is orange, by the way. ...read more.


I am excited and I am inspired, more than I have been in years. Michael Dean's eyes are glowing and my hands are shaking - I think this might just be what's called Engaging Conversation. I begin to think about Denbigh, in Wales, and how the whole point of me going there is to get away from people and questions and eye contact, and just to live my own life. And then I think about how if I do go to Denbigh, in Wales, then I probably won't ever participate in Engaging Conversation ever again. And that is a thought that scares me. Dean This city is no long a breeding ground for individuals that all look the same and hardcore kids that still live with their parents. It's a whole world of potential kindred spirits with thoughts in their heads and stories to tell, most of whom I've never even laid eyes on yet. Michael Dean makes complicated things seem simple and understands because he listens. It seems incredibly strange to think that a few hours ago we'd never met - and incredibly scary too. He's even made me see my situation at home in a different light - and this is it: If I just talk to my parents like I've been talking to Dean, they'll understand, right? Because it only took him about half an hour to get it, and he doesn't even have all my parents' experience, you know? This is what I'm saying about Dean making things simple: I suddenly can't imagine seeing things any other way. Dean This guy is hope, and that's why I think I better stay here. Michael This guy is friendship, and that's why I think I better stay here. ...read more.

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