Christmas Without Him

Carol By Carol, 1st Dec 2017 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Short Stories

Julie has brought up her autistic son Adam on her own, then she meets Ben, but feels their romance is doomed because of too many commitments. Read on to find out more.

Christmas Without Him

Julie had just shared the most wonderful two weeks of her life with Ben, and now that Christmas was approaching she didn't want it to end. It was funny how life was, she had devoted the last 18 years to looking after Adam, her beloved son. After he was born, it was fine at first, but as he grew, he wasn't like other children, he didn't play with them, he barely spoke to anyone, and when he was 2 he had been diagnosed with autism.

This was when her husband Graham had taken off, he couldn't cope with a child that was different, and her heart was broken, and her opinion of men plummeted, so she put all her heart and energy into giving her son the best life that he could have.

Adam was a very handsome boy, with a shock of blond curls, and deep blue eyes. But it was hard to make eye contact with him, with love and perseverance Julie managed to get more out of him than anyone, and Adam became her whole world, there was not much room for anyone else in it except the two of them, and she kept it that way to protect him, because even though he was exceeding bright at school, in fact brighter than most of the others in his class, Adam still had to endure bullying and taunts because he was different.

He was now 18

Adam could have gone to university, his A level results had been amazing, but he said he didn't want to be among strangers, and although Julie would have loved him to realise his potential, she also knew being happy was the most important thing for him. So when he left school, and went after a job at a farm, because he loved all animals, particularly dogs and horses, she was happy for him.

They had never been well off, she had worked since he started school, and finding the money to finance him at University would have been hard. Although he was a young man of few words, he seemed to be enjoying his new job, so for the first time in years, she relaxed a bit, her boy might not be the biggest wage earner in the future, but he was happy, and to Julie that was all that mattered.

Adam's New Job

Joe the man he worked for at the farm was himself quite a reserved person, his wife Katy was the opposite, and did enough talking for the two of them. When Adam came home and said Joe had asked him to help Katy for 2 weeks whilst he went on a agricultural course, she was surprised.
" They want me to stay there, I'll have my own room and I can get up early and help Katy to milk the cows." he explained.
" Is that what you want, farm work is very hard, you'll have to get up about 4.30 in the morning?"
" Yes! " said Adam very firmly. " but I will be back for Christmas!"

He had always known his own mind, and wasn't swayed by others. Julie suddenly felt a bit lonely, they had never spent time apart, she had always been busy protecting him from others, and she suddenly felt a bit superfluous.

But Christmas was near.

She had organised all the Christmas presents and cards early, so she suddenly found herself with nothing much to do for the two weeks he was away. It was so easy just to put on the computer, sit behind the screen, and take a look at what was going on outside her house.

Julie was still only 40, she shared the blonde bouncy curls and startling blue eyes that Adam had, and was always warding off unwelcome attention from many divorced or widowed men, who came across her profile on Facebook. Adam had told her to just put up a photo of a flower or something, but to Julle, she felt that made her an enigma, and as though she was ashamed of herself, so her photo stayed up there.

Ben had been her facebook friend for about 3 years, they both shared a love of artists and painting, it was his hobby apparently, so they shared images and posts, and although she told him she was divorced with a son, she never shared the fact that Ben had autism with him.

On this particular day, so near to Christmas, with parties and meals out going on, Julie could see how life was passing her by, and because Adam was not around, when Ben asked her to meet him for lunch, she found herself accepting, even though she had turned him down many times before.

Their Meeting

Julie arrived at the country pub a little late. She had spent longer than usual getting ready, and chosen to wear a royal blue dress and new black boots, which until now had been in her wardrobe untouched. She had already decided that if Ben didn't look like his profile picture, she wasn't going in, meeting a stranger like this was terrifying, but all her divorced friends did it, and she felt she really did know Ben.

When she saw him hovering at the bar, his boyish face and kind eyes, exactly like his photo, she took a deep breath, and stepped inside the pub. The atmosphere was warm and happy, a real fire glowed, a Christmas Tree stood resplendent, and fairy lights adorned the hops hanging from the black timber beams .

Suddenly Julie felt young again, the years rolled back , and from that moment on, they clicked. She forgot the phobia of men she had harboured since Graham had gone, they were not all like him, Ben certainly wasn't, and for the next two weeks they were inseparable, and as each day passed, she could feel herself falling deeply in love with him. No matter how she tried to tell herself it was just a friendship, her heart argued back, and all too quickly Christmas Eve arrived.

On Christmas Eve

Julie was looking forward to one last meeting with Ben before Adam came home. They were lunching at the same pub again, and she went to meet him with a mixture of emotions inside, happiness at being with him, and sadness because it had to end.

Ben had explained that he was divorced, and lived alone, and her heart ached to ask him to share Christmas with her, but she wasn't sure Adam would welcome him, and she still hadn't told him that Adam was autistic. But now she was going to tell him, she had nothing to lose, because she would not have any spare time to spend with him anyway, Adam would always come first.

" Ben, I can't meet you again, my son Adam is coming home this afternoon for Christmas."
Ben gave her a puzzled look. " Well what about after Christmas?"
" Adam is autistic, he is 18, but he still needs me, no-one else understands him, and it''s always been just the two of us, I am not sure he would want you in our lives."

She looked at Ben, expecting some sort of reaction, shock , horror, even anger, but there was none. He spoke quietly, and his hand came out to touch hers in a gesture of affection that caught her totally unawares, and made her heart ache for what might have been
." I understand, I have worked with adults who have autism, I know how close the bonds with family are. I, too, have something that makes my social life harder. My mother is in a care home, she is in the latter stages of dementia, she won't last many more months, but my sister has come from Yorkshire to see her, and this is why I have been free to meet you this last 2 weeks."

Julia realised at that moment that Ben's life was just as complicated as hers. They both had too many commitments to spend their lives together. They hugged each other outside the pub, and she could feel tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. Ben too looked very emotional.
" Julie, please let's stay in touch, if Adam ever wanted to meet me, I would be there like a shot, because now I have found you, I don't want to let you go."

Adam Arrived home

Later that afternoon, when Julie had composed herself, Adam arrived home. he gave her a brief hug, as he found it hard to display emotion, but this was his mum, she had always been there for him, and Adam had seen how her face lit up when he hugged her.
" Adam it's great to have you home.." she said, the smile was back on her face.
Because he didn't understand tact, Adam came straight out with it.
" Mum they said i made a good job of helping Katy at the farm, and I am now learning to lead the horses. They have autistic children who come for lessons, and I am going to be their teacher. I actually feel normal amongs tthem, they don't laugh at me."
" That's brilliant!" said Julie, Adam had finally found acceptance. She could see him doing well now, and growing up, and one day he might even want to leave home.
Her next words were very cautious, hope sprang in her heart.
" Whilst you were at the farm, I was seeing a man called Ben, a facebook friend, he's having a lonely Christmas, how would you feel if I asked him to join us?"
" You mean Ben Sutton, he's also my facebook friend, that's how he became yours. Apart from you, Ben is the only person who gets me, he has worked at a centre for people with autism, I don't mind,."

Julia was so elated, she just couldn't believe it, Adam had said that Ben " got him." She ran excitedly into the lounge and picked up the phone to dial his number. Adam quietly heaved a sigh of relief. It was time his mother got herself a new partner, he was 18 now, and felt more confident than he had at school, in not too many years he would want to leave home. Although he couldn't show how much he loved his mother, he truly did, and he wanted her to be happy. With Ben, she would be.
My thanks to youtube for the video and Wikipedia for the images

My website is here
My Facebook page is here
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Autistic, Care Home, Christmas, Divorced, Facebook, Farm, Job

Meet the author

author avatar Carol
I am a proud mother and grandmother, and an author. I have had 7 books published. My hobbies are walking, swimming, and playing badminton. I try to raise more awareness of autism with my writing.

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author avatar Lady Aiyanna
7th Dec 2017 (#)

Autistic kids are not easy to handle. They are more or less normal but yet deficient wherein their sexual drives are at the highest from onset of puberty.
Taught them and learnt the stages but older they grow, they get aggressive although very polite at first.
Once sex begins it will be trouble, they want to participate, they attack the person and at times need to be sedated too.
Good luck to Julia, she will realise in time its not acceptance but more her trying something for her own satiation because of her carnal requirement.

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author avatar Carol
7th Dec 2017 (#)

Thanks for reading Lady Aiyanna

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author avatar LOVERME
8th Dec 2017 (#)

what a gifted Lady r u Carol ma'am

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author avatar Carol
10th Dec 2017 (#)

Thanks for reading Loverme

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author avatar Stella Mitchell
21st Dec 2017 (#)

Carol , I couldn't resist reading this wonderful story even though I am pushed for time . Well done .... and as usual your writing is of such high standard and a pleasure to read. I thoroughly enjoyed it , and of course it had the happy ending that I so love .
Many blessings to you .
Love Stella ><

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author avatar Carol
21st Dec 2017 (#)

God bless you Stella, I know how busy you must be. Have a wonderful Christmas and 2018 xx

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