What are the emotions? Where did my emotions go? – the young boy asked his peers seating in front of him. I have autism and often I am told I don’t have emotions. I am not sure if I lost them when I was a baby and they didn’t tell me where I can find them. Do you know anything? he asked again his peers. I really don’t know, one of them answered, I am bipolar and I have plenty of emotions, I can share some with you if I knew how. Ask him too, the boy said pointing at the third peer roaming around the room dressed as Spider-man. Oh no, he answered while continued running, you don’t want my emotions. I need them so I can fly one day. They all looked at him doubting that he would really want any of Spider-man’s emotions. They all looked puzzled, including the little girl seating in the corner. She seemed even more confused when they all spoke in codes like ADHD*, BPD*, L2*, ESL* and so many other alphabetical letters that didn’t even sound right. She was new in their class and barely said anything for days. The boys looked at her but said nothing.
Yes, she said, clueless. I am new, I am ESL, she continued with a foreign accent, spelling it with a different alphabet.
ESL? Is that a new code of emoji? He said looking at his phone. He liked codes. That’s what he needed to create his own codes, he thought, and maybe if he worked hard, and with some luck, he could find his emotion. But how could he look for something that he didn’t even know what it was or how it looks? He could not see it, touch, or feel it. In a way, it was like the codes.
Suddenly, he began drawing in his notebook at fast speed. He sketched any chemical reaction and passionately attached the drawing a rocket engine. He knew he could do this, resolve the emotion problem. He was told before that he could not understand language but he knew all the books in the school library. His mind felt like a complicated orchestra that liked to conduct itself. He was the only one in class to draw the three-dimensional world from his memory. Although he noticed there was something enigmatic with the faces. He was able to draw everything in depth of lines. The characters he drew were heroes, always in action and muscular, like those Greek mythological figures. The lines dominated the drawings as if they run through a matrix. He thought of images as codes. Somehow the lines one after the other created the three-dimensional images by transitioning smoothly the separation between light and dark areas. To him that was emotion. No one seemed to understand that, but him. He wasn’t sure what was more abstract, his world or the world of others around him.
Can being upset count as an emotion? – he remembered to have asked his teacher once. He got angry every time the school’s fire alarm went on.
He was the only one at home that understood his dog, he thought.
I know my dog thinks I have “emotions” because he has them too, even though my mom doesn’t believe in dogs, he said loudly.
I think this is all a scam; the other boy interrupted his classmate.
I have seen you cry and laugh and these drawings are amassing, not even the teacher can do that, the boy added. Maybe you always had the emotions, but you don’t want to show them, because someone might take them, the boys said nodding in agreement with his statement.
Or the emotions don’t exist. No one knows where they are. I believe it is a conspiracy, so we can do our schoolwork, he concluded.
Fatjona Lubonja © #fatjonalubonja
*(L2) Second Language; *(ESL) English as a Second Language; *(ADHD) Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; *(BPD) Bipolar Disorder