Teatime With My Brother
I pour tea into Yasin’s aged bone china teacup. The handle is slightly cracked and the floral pattern once decorating it is now only reminiscent of Yasin’s curled fingers proffered over spindly green stalks. Luckily, Yasin doesn’t mind and I spoon tea into his mouth without his aesthetic taste being too offended. He’s dribbling, so I take an old shirt and wipe his face. I look into his sweet, heart-shaped, bruised face and wonder how we’re ever going to stop his powerful little fists from injuring himself. Without constant activity, he acts out in this way. The ‘gently swinging hands whilst singing’ trick? Ah, that doesn’t work anymore.
I sip some tea myself and let the corners of my mouth rise a little. He’s been rather cheeky. I remind myself of everything he’s done to make me smile this week. He startled me whilst I was sleeping with some loud babbling. He “accidentally” spat out some of his baked potato on my neck whilst I was lying beside him. And now, he sprays his tea out of his mouth! I suppose when he’s grown up he’ll have a terrible sense of humor.
I keep on spooning tea into his mouth. I ask Yasin what he did today whilst I was at school. Did he go on his standing frame? He shakes his head. Did he go for a walk? Nods head. Did he go for a swim? Nods head. Did he feel tired afterwards? Nods head. Wow, you must have had one nice day, then? Nods head. I wonder what it’s like being non-verbal at a time when your curiosity peaks. It must be scary. Yasin’s head and eyes flit across the room, as he takes everything in. Maybe it is easier for him to see when he moves his head as well as his eyes.
I tell Yasin about my day as the recitation of the Quran blares out of the TV. I see highly stylized Arabic script flitter across live images of Makkah. A pilgrim waves at us out of the corner of the screen. I pick up Yasin’s hand to wave back at him. Since this is Yasin, I tell him all the details of my day. How I heard a turtle dove in the exam hall crooning to me whilst I was working out how to factorize quadratic expressions. How I was scared out of my wits when I reached out to it and found it wasn’t real. How Miss D. glared around the room watching for signs of communication. How I waited listlessly for a whole hour as I’d already finished my exam in twenty minutes. I told Yasin everything, and felt better for it afterwards. He seemed to internalize all my feelings and at the end gave me an understanding nod. It was therapeutic.
Finally, Yasin decides he’s had enough tea for today. So he sprays all of it out of his mouth. I wipe him up and change his shirt. Then, I have to entertain him. How do I do that? I fall fast asleep on his lap. 🙂 “Waaaaaah, bababa!”