#49 Wet Cricket

by Lori A.B. Martínez

Yeah, he’s special. Just looking at him you really can’t tell, unless there’s water nearby. When he sees water, he wants in—puddle or pool—don’t matter. The specialist told us that this was unusual for a kid like him . . . a kid with autism.

His name is James, but he goes by Cricket because Grampappy used to call him Jiminy Cricket. Cricket loves to be wet. If I don’t watch him close enough on the way to school, he jumps into the creek by Mill’s farm. Then, I have to walk him back home, strip him, dry him, and dress him again. More than once, I’ve been nailed for being tardy. Mr. Jones eventually started excusing me, but only after Mom went to the school and raised holy hell. She chewed him out up one wall and down the other.

Things were a bit easier once he got into high school and joined the diving team. Coach Carroll didn’t want him on the team at first, but once he saw Cricket mimicking the other divers, he made sure Cricket got on the team. When it came to diving, Cricket was a fast learner. Oddly, he’s never been much for learning: Potty training was the worst. Dad took years to convince Cricket that he couldn’t play in the water unless he was potty trained (the whole family celebrated).

Now, he’s a champion. He placed at the last meet of the year—won a medal. Yeah, that’s right; he’s special.


pegjet said...

Beginning, middle and an uplifting end. This was nice.

Laura Howe said...

Wonderful story. Curious to know if it's fact or fiction? In any case, a great example of how everyone is special in their own way and how they excel when they find their place. For Cricket it's in the water.