The One For Me

This is a short story about how a neurotypical sibling finds love despite getting disappointed by past lovers. Often times, people who have siblings with Autism or neurodevelopmental disorders, worry about future caregiving and also choosing partners.

To a lot of people, Tosin was a freak, or in the Nigerian language, “A mumu” He was a boy who loved to do weird things- his family, neighbors, and teachers would look at him as though he had two heads. He was weird, but it wasn’t a bad thing to be weird. It was questioned when your weirdness brought about shame to your family and yourself.

Autism spectrum disorder was never known in Nigeria. I would know because when I would tell my mates that “My little brother has Autism.” They would pause and nod as though they understood what I was saying. I would want to scream to them,” JUST ASK ME WHAT IT IS!” Our problem is that we lack knowledge, and we refuse to ask for it. Why is it so hard to ask someone for help to understand something?

That’s why I would always appreciate David. Even though David was not my best friend or wasn’t the kind of friend, I would have. (i.e. he’s the bad boy parents warn their daughters to stay away from) But he did something that increased my respect for him. He reached out to me one night and asked about my brother,” Why does he slap himself? Why doesn’t he talk? What’s wrong with him?” 

It was a vulnerable discussion as I spoke about my brother. He didn’t make me feel awkward. He welcomes my glassy eyes and breaking voice. He sort of understood it wasn’t easy. That night he reached out to my hand and said,” Everything will be alright.” Did I believe him? No. Because I had heard that word a million times from my Mummy-GO of a mother. But it was great having to be uplifted by someone I barely knew.

My mother loves to push my brother out to play football on the field. It’s bad because the other boys have teams, and they don’t want someone who doesn’t understand the game to mess it up. I completely get it. So, sometimes I decide to help him out. The only thing is that I am terrible at games, and I don’t have an interest in them, but for Tosin, I’ll do anything.

In the hot sun, there I was, kicking the ball to my clearly-bored brother, and then a savior arrived. David. He offered to play with Tosin. I tried warning him of the awkwardness and boredom he would get, but he was still convinced to help him. David must have superpowers because the minute he started playing, Tosin was filled with enthusiasm. I had never seen so much light in his eyes until that day. David didn’t just do it once. It became a tradition. And as always, I fell easily. I didn’t tell anyone about my crush because they would say, “Yosola, you are doing yourself.” I was doing it myself because he is a bad boy, the kind that doesn’t mess around with one girl but three. He’s not the relationship kind.

God forbid. I didn’t want someone that would be accessible to someone else, but I wanted someone who loved my brother as he did. It made me so happy. A late-night drive in his car was all it took for David and me to bear our hearts to each other. He mentioned the attraction first. Even though I was giddy that someone so beautiful and HOT was willing to date me, I had warned him that it wouldn’t be easy. “Apart from my introverted nature, you have my brother’s weirdness to deal with. It will not be easy.” He shrugged and said,” What’s a problem that I can’t handle?” Oh God, his cockiness. I let him experience it. We started dating, and I could say that David was not a liar. Everything he mastered. He became an expert on my brother, buying him things and dealing with his meltdowns. My father didn’t approve of my relationship with David, but I told him in the nicest way possible,” It’s not your business. Focus on your own life and marriage.” Mind you; he was a dirty cheater. This isn’t about my father and how much of a scumbag he was. This was about David and how he proved himself to be mine. I had gone through so many pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzar to be given this wonderful man. 

If you ask a girl who she wants as a partner, she will list many attributes. For me, I wanted someone who could understand me and accept my brother. God works in mysterious ways. Because he gave me a tall, dark chocolaty man who understands me, accepts and loves my brother, and someone with a little bit of a dirty mind. I got what I wanted, and I know you will too. My weird little brother made me find love.

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