My favourite apples were those picked straight from the tree covered with water drops from a light autumn shower or droplets from a misty morning.
It seemed like I spent all my autumn days outside harvesting, sorting out the animals and making sure everything was ready for winter. I had lots of help, I was the only girl out of eight children. The joke was my mother had kept trying till she had a girl but I had turned out more boyish then some of my brothers!
I was fourth generation of farmer and it ran strong within me. I had favourite jobs and ones I hated but I still did them all. My best was apple picking. I loved getting the reds and greens off the trees, stacking them in baskets before putting them in the trucks to go to the shops.
There was some comforting about the weight in hand, the smell of the crisp apples under my nose and when I tasted the sweet tang of the fruit nothing could bet it.
One of my brothers joked that it was apple juice that ran in my veins instead of blood. I believed that could be true. Another brother said I had been born from an apple seed mother had swallowed on the advice of grandma. A third claimed they had found me under an apple tree on harvest moon night!
However, I had come into the world my name; Autumn Apple Atkins was fitting and perfect to my ears. Some sniggered at it, others had used it to bully me but to me it was who I was and where I had come from.
My father had promised me the orchard and I could think of no greater thing to inherit then the trees that bear the fruit I love.
The sky began to fill with light. The world murmured itself awake. Birds sing the first songs and other animals stirred themselves.
I watched from my bedroom window before I shut the black out curtains. The day was for people who could cope being outside. For me, even the slightest touch of the sun could burn my skin due to a rare allergic reaction I had been born with.
Closing the curtains, I got into bed. Thoughts of being a vampire filling my head. It was a laughable joke but it wasn’t true. I was no more a supernatural creature of the night then my boss was a pig. – Though he probably shared some of their DNA!
I snuggled into the coolness of the fresh sheets and reflected on my night shift at the open all hours petrol station. It had been quiet and I had been bored for a few hours but that was more capable then being rushed off my feet.
Dozing off, I started to dream of the day I was cured and could finally go out in the sun.
The wind whipped through the dry wheat and the water on the lake. The old blades of wind mill whirled around, the gears and grinding stones inside the mill also turned.
For once, the villagers were thankful for the aiding weather as they had a lot of work to do before winter arrived. There was the harvest to gather in, grain to be crushed then some to be stored and other bags to be sent to the bakeries.
The air was hazy with dust and the smell of baking. A good sign as it meant their bellies would be full over the frozen months.
Penny had taken shifts at the cafe to help pay off her bills. She wasn’t that interested in the work but the people who came to her tables kept her going.
She would hear all kinds of stories as she served food and drinks. There was gossip about neighbours, family members and friends, reviews of books, music and movies, discussions of sports and memories of the past.
Penny loved seeing love bloom as couples dated, the growth of families, the harmony and discord of life. It was all here to see in the cafe.
During the summer, the school’s headmaster would go away. Worn down and stressed, he found escaping to the hills and spending time in complete isolation and nature the best to recover.
He pitched a tent, created a fire, built extra shelter from fallen branches and ferns around his camp site. During the daytime, he walked the hills, fished, set rabbit traps and collect edible fruits, plants and fungi. Later, he cooked what he’d caught and had supper.
At night he fell sleep, lulled by rain, wind and animals’ calls, knowing when he woke there was nothing to worry over.
It was Monday morning again. She lay in bed, having slept badly due to all the troubling thoughts. The alarm went and she turned it off. No work again today, she was too tried to face the world. She wondered if there was anything worth living for now.
Alexithymia; An inability to describe emotions in a verbal manner.
I had the results of the test back today and at the age of thirty-one, I can finally put a name to my many issues; I’m autistic.
I feel pretty torn over it because on one hand, I’m like yeah that explains why I am like I am, my brain works differently from other peoples’ but that’s okay because you’ve survived this long and you can now have help if you need it.
On the other hand, I’m like oh my God. What I’m going to do now? I’ve got this label over me and it’s not good. How can I explain it to people, will people’s opinions change of me? My whole world just got thrown out of the window and how can I now carry on living with this news?
So, yeah. I’ve all this stuff in my head now but of course I’m struggling to express it or understand it. It’s like I’m not bothered, it’s a fact I have autism, can’t change that so no point freaking about it. It’ll take me awhile to accept but I will.
The specialist said learning more about it could help and also figuring out what kind of support the university and work could give me.
Am I going to let this stop me getting my computer games design degree? No! I just have another thing as well as being a woman in a male dominated industry to deal with but that makes me more determined then ever to prove I can make something I love and dream about a reality.