Looking Through Empty Frames

It was nothing really.  Robert JUST wanted to put the glasses away in their place in a display box.  He did not want anything else.  Just this.


He was very dramatic.

Extremely dramatic.

And loud.

And forceful.

And quick.

The fact that the new pair of frames  was removed from its rightful place in a display box and was put in the optometrist’s hands meant that the world was falling apart.  Even worse, it might signify that he, Robert, would get a new pair of glasses.  After all, he knew from past experiences, how those things usually ended.

So as soon as the optometrist placed the glasses on the table,  Robert grabbed them and carried to the display an to the wall.  After he did that, I asked him to bring the glasses back.

Reluctantly, with many loud protests, he did. Then he took them again and carried back to the enclosure on the wall.  SO, I asked again to bring them back. As reluctantly as before, with as many grunting noises as before, Robert brought them back to the counter.

Asking Robert to bring the frame back was the only way to rectify situation.  He would not let anybody else do that.  Only he could bring them back.

The optometrist was filling a computer forms and from time to time looked at the frame.  It was clear that this would take a few more minutes.  Too long.  I encouraged Robert to wait outside with his father.  But Robert could not abandon his responsibility as a guardian of the Universe when the empty hook in a display box was warning him  of the encroaching chaos. No, Robert couldn’t leave. not yet. Getting more tense and anxious, he watched optometrist’s writing on a computer until it was just too much to bear. Suddenly, Robert reached over the counter trying to pry the frame from optometrist’s hands.  We did not let him. A short struggle.  Robert calmed down. I kept explaining why he could not do that.  Short sentences, one or two arguments, artificially assertive voice.  I repeated the same sentences two or three times. I wasn’t sure what effect my explanations had on Robert.  It seemed that he at least calmed down.  The optometrist noticing how a big deal was that to Robert wanted to give him the glasses.  But since Robert was already accepting the outcome – either as a defeat or as a lesson – there was no point of giving him glasses.

After optometrist placed the frame in the envelope and hid it somewhere, Robert went for a short walk with his dad, but returned exactly when I was choosing frames for myself.  He watched me trying a couple of new frames, bringing one of them to the counter, and passing it to the optometrist.  Robert was tense, but did not protest.  He was  not convinced that it was the right thing to do, but the protests were to exhausting and left unpleasant aftertaste.

It had to be said, that Robert doesn’t like to be dramatic, he doesn’t like to grab things from others.  Such episodes drain him and leave him confused if not ashamed for at least two days.  He doesn’t like doing things he feels forced to do.

I did not expect this outburst to happen.  Seven years passed since I witnessed similar behavior.  I believed it would not happen again. I believed Robert knew better.

After all there was a steady progress.  For instance, for at least year,  Rober thas been able not only to buy clothes, but also  try them in the store.  I did not assume that getting a new pair of glasses would be different.

I don’t know all the triggers or variables that control  Robert  actions and reactions.  But I  know the next time will be easier.  As strange as this might seem, this was a lesson to Robert, that taking the frames from display doesn’t lead to a disaster.   It was also a lesson on how to buy a new pair of glasses.  Robert will remember the sequence – trying frames, choosing one, giving it to the optometrist, looking through strange binoculars, waiting for forms, and  paying.

As hard as this Monday’s  afternoon  was for Robert and me, it was a step forward. Lesson taught and lesson learned.

I just wish that the lesson was simpler and much, much easier.

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  1. Venturing Outside After the Storm | krymarh

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