She waited for him to finish on the toilet (he peed sitting down, the standing thing not a skill he had picked up) listening to movement upstairs. She could tell by the slow, heavy footsteps that it was Henry. He seemed to be pacing about in the room upstairs, and Mary could tell from the determined way in which he was moving that he was getting ready to blow. When Henry blew, it was usually nothing more than the usual tantrum- some yelling, a few curses, perhaps he would slam his fist down on the table. Mary recognized this behaviour well- he was his father’s son after all. It was the big explosions that worried her. These were rare, but had happened often enough in Henry’s 34 year history that everyone, his mother especially, regarded him with a sort or wariness.
Mary, like any other mother in the history of mankind, did not like to think that there was something wrong with her child. It had taken her years to come to terms with Eddie’s disability, and her husband had never actually comes to terms with it. James Kennedy had loved perfection and he had held a high regard for achievement. As the years drew on, it became painfully obvious that Eddie’s level of achievement would never be at the level which he had desired for all of his three sons. Eddie could speak one or two words at a time to ask for something he wanted and, with prompting, would even say “please“ and “thank you“. He could dress himself, even though he often got his shirt on backwards. These were his achievements. Eddie had been James’ last hope for the son he had always wanted.
The thing that plagued Henry was something that she could not be named as easily as Eddie’s autism, and somehow this made it harder to take. Henry had gone to university for a degree in media arts, but had dropped out after only one semester. From then on, he drifted aimlessly from one end of the country to the other doing menial jobs which ranged from grunt labour in Alberta to working security in a strip club in Montreal. The latter ended with him getting into trouble with some Hell’s Angels and having to get the hell out of Dodge fast.