The Blue Ribbon: Part 4 by Paula Lopez
Sylvie is nervous. It’s Friday late afternoon and her first “official” art project she is leading with the kids. All her supplies sparkle on the table, and she is going over her instructions.
Sylvie looks around the auditorium, which has various creative stations for the children and their families. Tonight is family night. Sylvie is hoping to see her mom and brother. Her mom had wished her luck this morning before Sylvie left for school and said she may try to bring Carl to see if he would be interested in participating.
The sound of dozens of children running, shouting, and playing echoes in the giant room.
“Well, it’s now or never,” Sylvie says under her breath as several children gather at her station.
The kids are laughing and creating their colorful masks, and Sylvie is having a blast when she notices that an hour has already passed. As she is talking to Charity, a neighborhood girl that frequents the community center, Sylvie hears a familiar voice.
Saying through tears, “Yes, Carl, it is blue!” Sylvie kneels next to him. His eyes take a journey from the ribbon to Sylvie’s face and up to her eyes. For once Sylvie can see that Carl is here—Here. Right now. In the present moment. She wants to scream, to jump up, but is so afraid to move or even blink in case it scares him back into his box.
He strokes the ribbon and continues to search Sylvie’s face.
He is holding the blue ribbon to his cheek; a tear glistens and reflects off the fluorescent light filtering in the room. Sylvie stares in shock. She has never seen Carl react to anything, only when he has temper tantrums. She smiles, then notices her father standing behind Carl.
Sylvie and her father lock eyes. She swallows down a lump in her throat. He brushes a hand through his hair and then places his hand over his mouth. He continues to stare at Sylvie. Then he nods. He speaks softly and places his hand against her cheek, “My little girl. I’m so proud of you.”
Sylvie places her hand over his and leans into the embrace.
Carl begins to speak again and looks at Sylvie, who bends down to him. “Buh-loo. I …I,” his voice is soft but raspy. He appears to struggle to get the words out. “Buh-loo. I…I love…I love you.”
His eyes drop. He clutches the ribbon. He begins to rock, and once again, becomes a little boy with autism that only responds to the color blue.
* * *
I hope you enjoyed my short story - The Blue Ribbon
Until next time, happy reading, and have a wonderful day.