aron peeped round Louise and his face lit into a grin, the likes of which Aaliyah had never seen on telly or in any magazine. “Hi!” he said waving, something about the way he said it reminded her of Gizmo in Gremlins and she laughed.
“Name the character?” Aaron asked.
“Gizmo,” Aaliyah said.
Aaron pointed at her. “Got it in one,” at which he made his way over to the sofa she was sat on, and a bemused Louise left the room.
He sat next to her and put his face up so close to hers she moved back, “Wow, your eyes really do have gold fleck in them,” he said with unabashed interest, “country of origin?”
“Mother England father Italy?” her intonation wondering why he was asking.
Aaron pulled the blonde locks forward from the back of his head, “Mother Sweden, father Wales, blonde hair, blue eyes, but I tan well” he said with a grin.
“You're every man's dream!” Aaliyah laughed.
“And you're my dream,” Aaron said sincerely.
“But, when I told you I was in a wheelchair, you weren’t going to talk to me again.”
“Yes,” and his brow furrowed, “no,” he said and nodded, this was the bit that he found really difficult, Aaliyah could see him struggling and said no more.
After a few minutes, when she could see he had really considered this he finally spoke, “When I got your message it sounded like an excuse,” again with the thinking, but not like as if he were trying to make a story up, like as if he were really going over it in his head, “so I thought I’ll let her cool down she'll miss me by the morning,” more thinking. “Then I got up and I couldn’t get to grips with you in a wheelchair.” He nodded like as if he had finally worked it out.
Aaliyah was going to ask him what he was doing here then when the brow furrowed again, and she could see in his eyes he was elsewhere. “Then Bas said, 'so you don’t like her because she's disabled?'” he said mimicking Bas's voice, “and I realised that wasn’t it.” he said with a shake of his head. He looked at her then and suddenly he was back and his smile was bright and he was happy and beautiful and she was confused.
“And I’m still a cripple.” she said eventually.
“And I have ADHD, and am spectrum Autism,” he said sincerely. He registered the look of surprise on her face so he continued, “I can look at a building for a minute, look away and recount how many floors the building has and how many windows per floor, given the dimensions of the windows and another minute I can tell you how many square metres each floor has, and after another minute how many square metres the whole visible building has.”
His brow furrowed and he was gone again, “I see numbers and they make the world logical for me. I can play five instruments, I can read the five scores then play each instrument according to its score.” he nodded and concluded. Aaliyah was stunned. “So when Bas said you were disabled, I realised that is just another thing we have in common.”
“You're a genius, I don’t call that disabled!” she said aghast.
“Really? Try telling my Year 7 teacher that!” he said with a laugh at some memory she could see him recounting in his head.
“So you want to be friends with a cripple?” she asked playfully probing.
“No,” despite the fact that she had in a way been prepared for that answer she still felt like she'd had a hole punched in her chest.