Seeing the world with chemical eyes.
At unexpected times, I am reminded that Ainan sees the world in a rather different way, to most young boys. He sees the world with chemical eyes.
A few weeks ago, I was out with Ainan. Now, anyone who knows Malaysia will know that there are open drains beside the roads, perhaps to offset the chance of floods. We had just come out of a Starbucks onto a quiet roadway, that ran along the shops. At the outer edge of the little road, was a wall. We stepped up onto the wall. Immediately beyond it, was a ditch all along the road, that acted a drain. Beyond that, was the main road proper, that we wanted to get to, in search of a taxi.
So, we stepped up onto the wall and jumped across the ditch, down onto the side of the main road beyond.
Ainan said nothing.
We spent some ten minutes trying to flag down a taxi – and being ignored by the very few which passed by.
“Let’s go back to Starbucks and call a cab from there.”, I suggested to Ainan.
So, we walked across the road, to the drainage ditch. With an effortful stretch, Ainan stretched his leg across the ditch and stepped up onto the wall.
Standing on the top of the wall, he remarked: “That was an endothermic reaction.”
He looked down at me. “...and when we came out it was...”
“...an exothermic reaction!”, I said filling in.
He had a point. To return the way we had come and go up to the wall, from down beside the drainage ditch, required an input of energy...hence endothermic. To come down off the wall, one only had to use gravity to do so...so, in a sense, energy came out, from one...an exothermic reaction.
I thought it was very telling of the way he sees the world that he should notice a physical and visual analogy to endothermic and exothermic reactions, whilst out walking around town.
Not for the first time, I was moved to reflect that children of his own age, would not grasp his thoughts, should he ever choose to express them, unfiltered, to them. Of course, he never really did that. With children his own age, he would select his utterances very carefully and never really reveal what he was truly thinking. He would decide to talk about something else, something more readily understood, than to actually make the remarks that came, unbidden, to mind.
For me, I was happy to have a glimpse of the way he interprets the world, as we crossed the ditch. He allowed me to see, for a moment, how he perceives, analyzes and understands the world. Of course, he did so, because he knew that I would understand his reference. Had I been another child, he would have walked in silence.
This incident is a simple example of his chemical perception. Often it is not so simple. Sometimes, I really have to reflect on what he has said, carefully, so elusive is it. At such times, I do wonder how many people he shall really be able to connect with, fully, in his lifetime. Such people would have to be quite unusual in their own way, I think. I do hope he manages to gather around him enough such people to feel properly connected to the world. In the meantime, I shall be there for him, when he chooses to speak his mind. I hope it is enough, for now.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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