The Orbital Force of my Autistic Brother | Boston College Undergraduate Application Essay

I am holding my brother’s hand.”Hi, Will,” I say.”Hi,” he mutters curtly, a trained reply.

It’s better than the less favorable option of “Goodbye, please” or “I want goodbye.”

His palm feels like a living creature itself, warm and squirming. When he looks past the line of trees, I’m watching his face for signs of recognition, peering into the reflection in his pupils. I want to know what he sees, but his gaze is smooth asphalt roads to nowhere, black tar poured inside brilliant green irises. I wonder if he is floating inside that blackness, endlessly disconnected. I squeeze his palm, and he says nothing.

It is an unseasonably warm day in autumn. On the way to the park, he stares out the window at the mess of color: red burning into orange, orange flirting with smears of yellow, deep brown branches forking into patches of sky. He laughs at absolutely nothing. I am happy to give this to moment to him, even if it does not really belong to me.

My mother parks the car outside the park, a small little plot of land encased in a chain link fence. This is a departure from Will’s normal routine when we visit him, which is unreasonably nerve-racking. He is a wild card, a train drifting and trembling on the edge of the tracks; it is…

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