Cousin Rikki to the Rescue


INTRODUCTION and on several occasions flushing his head down the toilet.

Lewis was something more than just a geek or a nerd, but just what was wrong with her cousin she could not say exactly. Nor could any of the rest of the family, not even Lewis’s parents Judith and Alistair or Danielle, Lewis’s sister older than him by two years.

Lewis was definitely intelligent — extremely intelligent in some ways – and he and Rikki were in most of the smart classes together. When they were younger he had no delays in learning to speak, read and write, in fact Lewis in his younger years could use larger words than kids his own age. But as he grew older, it became obvious that Lewis’ voice was something of a monotone, never really changing in appropriate situations. And he struggled with things like punchlines of jokes, words with double meanings and sarcasm, despite his otherwise good vocabulary.

Three things were most noticeable about Lewis as he grew older. One, he had an amazing interest in certain topics and he became an expert in them, in Lewis’s case it was mainly dinosaurs. Two, while he had few problems at school academically, in any subjects with a physical or spatial component — mainly but not limited to physical education — he was all at sea. Lewis really struggled with fine motor skills and basic coordination, unable to master riding a bicycle until the age of 11. Three, Lewis had very poor social skills and struggled to make friends especially with kids his own age.

It was the third aspect that caused his family most angst. True, Lewis droning on and on about subjects that only he was interested in and being bad at sports were not exactly going to do much for him in the making friends department, but Lewis couldn’t seem to ‘read’ other people and without meaning to would say and do inappropriate things that alienated, upset and angered people. When placed in a social situation with other kids when younger, it would go several ways. Either Lewis would become overwhelmed with anxiety, he would withdraw quietly and do some solitary activity like reading while the gaziantep escort reklamları other kids were having fun or he would really want to join in and have fun, but would try too hard and make a fool of himself.

Rikki recalled that this was the case with her brother Jamie’s birthday party when they were at primary school. In earlier years Lewis and Jamie were often put together for ‘play dates’, despite a two year age gap. Jamie when younger had been interested in dinosaurs and also Star Wars, these movies an absolute favorite of Lewis’s, so they had plenty of common ground to talk about and games to play. But as Jamie grew older, he progressed like a normal kid, something Lewis never really did and the gap between them grew.

At Jamie’s birthday that time Lewis had decided that he should really get into the spirit and made a nuisance of himself, clueless the whole time about what he was doing. Tactful Rikki had suggested to Lewis that she and he go and talk about dinosaurs outside in the garden, but Lewis was having none of it and stayed on to continue being the life and soul of the party, much to the despair of Jamie, his friends and their other cousins.

Lewis certainly wasn’t the life and soul of the party tonight, Rikki thought as she continued to sit on the toilet. This brought back more memories of when they were younger, and Lewis had been talking Rikki’s head off about a new type of dinosaur he’d only just heard about. Rikki had politely said that she needed to go to the toilet, but that she would like to hear more about the dinosaur.

What Rikki hadn’t expected was for Lewis to come up to the toilet and share more dinosaur facts with her through the closed and locked door while she was in there, until his mother ordered him away and to leave Rikki in privacy. Lewis was confused about what he had done wrong as Rikki had said she wanted to hear more about dinosaurs. He hadn’t thought that she meant after she returned from the toilet, or that she was just being polite in the first place.

That gaziantep escort bayan reklamları day, Rikki could certainly empathize with Lewis’s older sister Danielle, whose pet peeve was her boundary-challenged younger brother talking to her through the toilet door while she was in there. One time she had spat at him to ‘get lost’, and with Lewis not having any concept of sarcasm he had done precisely that — left the house and kept walking through unfamiliar streets until he was completely lost in the suburbs of Melbourne miles from home.

Danielle, a tall and pretty brunette who differed significantly from Lewis in being good at sports, socially adept and popular, would get pretty cranky with her brother at times when he got on her nerves. Jamie didn’t want to be seen associating at school with his cousin who was termed a ‘geek’, a ‘nerd’ and a ‘loser’, so he tended to keep his distance, and Rikki had seen her younger brother duck out the way if he saw Lewis coming in time. As for their other cousins on both the maternal and paternal sides, they had little time for Lewis and the odd way he saw the world and everyone in it.

So it was left to Rikki to be the kind and caring cousin, and really to be his only true friend. It hadn’t always been easy at times. One time when they were younger during school holidays, the four kids had all gone shopping with their mothers. Upon arrival at the supermarket, Lewis had commented that Danielle and Rikki were both wearing jumpers that were exactly the same shade of blue, which was fine. In the supermarket, the then 12-year-old Rikki who had encountered a significant milestone in her life several months earlier had taken a packet of sanitary pads from the feminine hygiene products shelf to put into the trolley.

Lewis had noticed and blurted out, “Hey Rikki, you and Danielle use the exact same brand of period pads!” loud enough for the entire aisle and shoppers in other aisles close by to hear. Danielle, then 14 had stormed away in a furious temper escort gaziantep reklamları going the same color as a cooked lobster, Rikki didn’t leave but her skin also flushed bright red.

Rikki had watched Lewis get a lecture from his mother about his latest faux pas, but she could see that Lewis was hurt and confused about what he had done wrong and even though she was embarrassed Rikki had felt sorry for him. Earlier he had commented about how his sister and cousin’s jumpers were the same shade of blue and that was okay, so why wasn’t it okay to say that they used the same brand of feminine hygiene products?

Rikki thought that she had better do the responsible thing when she got back to the ballroom and check that Lewis was okay, he certainly didn’t seem okay. Bright flashing lights, loud music, socializing, things being out of order were not a good recipe for Lewis.

“Hey, Rikki are you in there?” came the voice of her friend Amanda.

“Yeah, I won’t be long,” Rikki called back. “Everything okay?”

“Not really,” said Amanda. “I thought I should tell you, I saw Lewis heading out.”

“Out? Out where?” Rikki asked, becoming concerned. “I know my aunty gave him money to catch a taxi home, but he wasn’t supposed to leave yet.”

Amanda’s response made her more apprehensive. “He was with Chad Ashton and his friends. I saw them go out through the fire escape.”

“Chad?” Rikki’s blood ran cold. If there was one student that made Lewis’s life a misery at school, it was Chad. The school’s alpha bully with plenty of other bullies lower on the food chain in tow, there was only one worse bully she could name. That was Chad’s older brother Kirk, a stupid and sadistic psychopath who fortunately had finished Year 12 in 1993.

“Why would Lewis go with Chad and his friends?” Rikki asked.

Amanda’s voice came again. “They were acting friendly, like Lewis was their new best friend. I wouldn’t trust them.”

“Neither would I,” said Rikki. She knew that Lewis had limited concept of reading people, and he was an easy target for deception. Feeling increasingly anxious for her cousin, the teenager got some toilet paper to finish and stood up off the toilet before flushing it. Rikki pulled up and adjusted her knickers, and emerged from the cubicle, seeing her friend Amanda waiting outside, red-headed Amanda wearing a green dress.

Stopping only to wash her hands, Rikki stormed out of the ladies’ loo, Amanda following.

“Did you want to get a teacher?” Amanda asked.

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