Mary caught movement in the corner of her eye and wheeled around, hiding the bottle of wine behind her like a child who has been caught stealing from the cookie jar. To her relief, she saw it was just Eddie, her youngest, standing in the doorway wearing his usual amiable, if somewhat blank, expression. He rocked slowly on his bare feet, hands flicking restlessly at his sides.
"Oh, hi Eddie" she said, still sounding guilty even though it was really only Eddie.
"Hi Eddie!" Eddie repeated back in a falsetto voice. Like many autistics, he was quite a talented mimic.
"Do you need to pee?"
"Need to pee?"
This he said in his own voice, speaking a little too loud in a way that meant that he did in fact have to pee very badly.
At 25, Eddie would not go to the bathroom alone. Or, if he did, he had to have the door wide open no matter who was around. Being enclosed in a small space by himslef was not something he would endure.
Mary thought that at least Eddie would always stay the same, would always be the same little boy no matter how old he got. Unlike his two older brothers, he was incapable of being hateful. Difficult, stubborn yes, but not truly hateful.