The Mysterious Candy Basket, PART 2: Back to Square Zero

NOTE: If you have not already, please see Part 1.

For the past ten years, the other students have happily gotten candy from the candy basket, while you continue to get none. In your sadness, you sometimes look away and feel like crying. But, you’ve also learned how to trick your brain temporarily into thinking you don’t actually want candy. In reality, now in the eighth grade, you want, more than ever, to fit in with the other students, but you still don’t know what to do.

You also have your parents to thank for making you not want candy as much as you once did. For some reason, they both knowingly give you some pieces to make you sick while they laugh and smile at your embarrassment and shame. You wonder if they are trying to teach you something, though even your autistic brain is fairly certain they wanted to hurt you. For them, it seems fun to watch you be uncomfortable and under their control. Of course, you blame yourself — you deserved the bad candy they gave you. You don’t know why, but you know you deserve it. Your parents know this is how you feel. And, if that’s true, you figure you probably don’t deserve candy from anyone. The easiest conclusion you can make is that you are not a good enough person to “qualify” for the candy other people get.

Then, one day, in the eight grade, something unexpected happens, and it’s tragic. Right before class, on a Monday, you get a message that one of your friends has just died. You are stunned, of course, and have trouble making it through class. When it’s time to go, the teacher asks what’s wrong, and you can’t help but start to cry. Immediately, she brings the candy to you, and, with surprising exuberance, asks you, “Do you want a piece of candy?” You realize that she is holding the kind you reallylike, and it makes you wonder if she’s been waiting for you to get that exact kind of candy all year.

That long, ten-year wait is suddenly unimportant now that you have broken through the candy barrier. It feels good.

However, this is the only piece of candy you get from the basket for the next three years, as that one moment quickly reverts to what you thought you had gotten past. During that time, about once a year, you’ll find a piece lying on the floor, or some random student will throw one at you as you are walking down the hallway. That’s the closest you come to a piece from the basket. You are back to square one. Or, as you like to say sometimes, in an effort to use humor to cover your sadness, back to square zero.

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