A is for Adapt

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

His life mantra. Every move he made. Every time he left the house. Every interaction. The spectrum challenged every task he did with people, but he refused to hide behind his parent’s helicopter ways.

He turned eighteen in January and graduated high school in June. For real graduated, not just a paper pass, James made sure of that. His unique method of looking at the world, hearing it, seeing it, gave him certain masteries – an easy out with math, while denying him the ability to function in crowds or interact with people. But he could work around his problems – it took a lot of effort, more than he could put together all the time, but he could put it together something enough of the time that mountains could be climbed.

Staring at his tablet, James adjusted the strap of the case he slung across his back and followed preprogrammed instructions to the bus stop. Once arriving, he stayed focus on the tablet, waiting for the bus, listening to the calming music he chose for today’s overcome-ing through earbuds. He didn’t lift his eyes when the bus hissed to a stop, nodding when the wifi verified the correct bus had arrived.

The first step off the sidewalk and into an enclosed space with strangers nearly undid him, until the city bus driver who had taken him to school broke through the haze, “Hey, James. Good to see you man.”

The same words said every day for the last two years recentered him and pulled back the crash. “Thank you Mr. Krick, it’s good to see you too.” The three steps up the stairs flowed naturally.

“Where is your mom?”

A new question. “Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.” James said out loud before sitting behind the driver, a regular passenger moving from the seat without James noticing, except he noticed. He wished he knew how to thank the lady. “My mom is at work.”

The bus driver closed the doors. “Good for her.” As Mr. Krick pulled away from the curb, checking all his mirror, he asked another question which took James a moment to processed. He had to look at his tablet before he reheard the words. All the cars moving in the city traffic had distracted him.

“Where are you going?”

James studied the screen. The words he needed were there. “439 West Franklin Avenue,” he read off the screen.

“That isn’t on my route, James.” The driver pulled to the curb, opening the door and nodding as people got on and off.

“Connection. I am to take the connection at Luther Blvd to the blue line. It says here.” Franklin leaned forward even more, since he couldn’t lean back with the case, and showed Mr. Krick the tablet.

The bus driver very carefully looked at the screen, without touching it or looking James in the eye. “Oh, you got our new app. Yeah, the blue line will take you to Franklin. Thank you for showing me.”

More routine words. James was grateful Mr. Krick was working. He knew when he heard those words, he should take the tablet back. No need to guess when things needed to change. Mr. Krick was one of his favorite people.


A to Z Short Story List Breakdown

Rainbow Spectrum (A to F)

4/1/2019 – A is for Adapt
4/2/2019 – B is for Bus
4/3/2019 – C is for Courage
4/4/2019 – D is for Duke
4/5/2019 – E is for Eclectic
4/6/2019 – F is for Finish