“He has trouble with transitions,” I explain to the social worker in her air-conditioned office. Two hours before, in class, he yelled out “I want to kill myself! I don’t belong in this school!” because (he later explained) he didn’t want to write anymore. They are wondering what is wrong. I ache in the cool plastic chair. There is a mirror on the wall where there should be a clock. There is my son who is different. I am glad there is organic milk in his snack bag that day as he shapes the magnetic toys on the table into an elaborate sculpture of triangles on triangles. The magnets are balls and sticks. He points to the silver magnetic ball in the center of the sculpture and says, “This is the atom of my mommy’s heart.”
Natalie DeVaull-Robichaud lives with her husband and son in Connecticut, where she teaches writing.