At home, circa 1960; My brother Mike was still at home. My parents found some doc; her name was Dr. May as I recall. She had some ideas about autism and needed data (read: blood) from family members of autistic children, to test a theory or to form a hypothesis or something. What did I know? I was 8.
I was in the living room under one of the two dark-red arm chairs with the spindly legs. The adults were in the other room talking. The chair material was fuzzy and I usually liked to rub it with my hands and feel the short, soft vertical fibers suddenly move from one direction to the other as my hands inched back and forth. I would try to see how far I could move before the fiber would switch directions. Sometimes I liked to feel the softness on my face.
But now I was listening. They were saying something about helping Michael and blood and needles. Earlier, I told Dad that I didn’t want to be stuck and he said that I didn’t have to be. I did not believe him. I waited for my opportunity and somehow made it outside and ran as fast as I could up the block. I knew that I was not allowed outside of the yard alone, but I had to get away. Even though Dad was pretty far behind, I did not make it very far. He carried me back home, where they took my blood. It hurt.
Afterwards, it was awful seeing the test tubes containing the black blood of mine, Mom’s, Dad’s and Mike’s in the refrigerator.
Nobody took a photo of me at the time, mercifully; I wonder if my face would have looked anything like this.
I probably would have had a more hostile look about me.