(Phoenix on the left with her wife, Samantha)
It wasn’t until I met her that I began to burn.
It was all strangeness and black until then.
My world was a cacophony of miss…
They meant well. They tried.
But I don’t. And they can’t. Connect.
My heart was adventurous, romantic.
I hoped. Dreamed. Longed to crawl out of my sleeping life.
I didn’t know then that the fetid claws of autism had tethered me.
It was too big.
Hide. Cry. Smile. Nod. Run. Hide. Cut.
Cut till you bleed.
Bleed the pain away.
Is this how life’s supposed to be?
And then she came.
In a whirl of desert warmth so smooth and quick it was in me before my eyes had even opened.
She was small.
She was quiet.
She was broken.
…But my eyes did open…
And she was perfect.
I could feel it then.
Aching. Aching. Sweet desperate want.
I feel it!
Her eyes are open too.
She sees me.
Sees the ashy blackness of before.
Sees the hungry beast of autism holding me down.
And somehow, for some reason, she relinquishes her secret poison and reaches for me.
And I cling back.
Tight and hard and unletting go.
My world is still strangeness. And sometimes black.
But there is light there also.
And the bright rainbow of our love glittering on the fractured pieces they left.
We are terrifyingly one.
We are shattered and beautiful.
And the heat…
We’re swaddled and breathing and feeling.
We’re going up. Away. Forward.
Abandoning the place we seemed small and ugly.
A new life. But I’m still me.
Autistic flaws, bleeding wrists, a family who just doesn’t.
But now I have her.
Now, I call myself Phoenix.
And I rise.