My Fred

MY FRED is a short story about a neurotypical sibling and how she finds love, amidst the challenges with her special needs brother.

I never thought finding forever would be my portion- a quirky, difficult girl like me. I’m used to seeing my friends get all of the good guys. I frequently daydream about a life where I had found the one.

You know, faking scenarios before sleeping and waking up to the harsh reality of loneliness. I control the single and hopeless girls club. It’s not like I don’t want to find love. Love doesn’t want to find me. I have met men who are crazy, inconsistent, and indecisive. And I’m not ready to put up with this, especially since I live a life of uncertainty and worry. I don’t want to pull someone into that.

I have a brother born with special needs. Autism has been part of my life for 16 years. It affects whoever I let into my life, the places I go, and the friends I make. And my love interests.

Some understand and can’t keep up with life; some don’t want to understand and put pressure on me. Some try to understand, and I push them away. It’s a whole thing. That’s why when my friend hooked me up with Fred. She mentioned how this was the right person for me. Story. I was already waiting for the day when he would not respond to my text messages. My friend, Titi, said, “Try ah.”In my head, it meant “Push him away.”

On the first date, I didn’t hide anything from him. I immediately told him of my little brother. I didn’t lie to him or sugarcoat it. “My brother has self-injurious behavior. He could get aggressive. He could snap at you. He walks on his toes, and he doesn’t communicate as we do.” But I love him. I let Fred know of everything. I spoke more about my brother than myself that night. Why? To implore him to figure out if he still wants this. To my surprise, he sent a text in the morning asking about my brother. I tried to psych him out by responding, “Oh, I didn’t get much sleep last night because he was jumping and screaming.”

This Edo boy responded the right way. “Everything will be okay.” He didn’t reply “LOL or “EYAH” as the others would. I was still determined to test him. On the next date, I invited him to my house to let him get an understanding of my life. My beautiful life. Luckily for me, my brother had a meltdown, and it included banging doors. I hoped that this would scare Fred off. Instead, he stepped up and helped me out. He spoke gently like my little brother’s therapist would do.

No matter what I did, he proved that he wanted to be a part of my life and my brother’s. Before I knew it, he became fast friends with my brother, taking him out to play, buying him things, and understanding him. I was tired of testing this boy. I thought it was a Yoruba boy thing that when he finally got me, he would return to being a demon. But no. Fred maintained his kind habit to date. Of course, I married him. It would be insane to find a man who understood how quirky and weird I was and accommodated my little brother.

Most siblings who have siblings with special needs want understanding and love. They don’t want judgment from partners or friends because they already feel that from society and themselves. And for all people worried about finding the one for you and your special needs siblings, I hope you find your Fred.

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