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Next Stop Chapter 1

Next Stop Chapter 1

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9 7 8 0 3 9 9 1 5 8 6 0 5 _ N e x t S t o p _ T X _ p 1 - 2 9 0 . i n d d
1
1 8 / 0 1 / 1 21 2 : 51
A M
W
DOO R S O P E N IN G
e
 
h a d
s p e n t
t h e
t a i l
e n d
o ft h a t
s u m m e r
r i d i n g
t h e
M e tr
o
m y
s o nD a v i d
a n d
I
n o t
s o
m u c h
g o i n g
a n y -
w h er
e ,
 j u s t
r i d i n g
fr
o m
 
s t o p
t o
s t o p .
C o u n t i n g
t h e
l o o k - a l i k e
s t a t i o n s
b e t w e e n
C l ar
e n d o na n d
M e tr
o
 
C e n t er
,
 
h u g g i n g
t h e
r i g ht
s i de
of 
t he
e s c a l a t or
to
s w i t ch
to
t he
R ed
L i n e,
t h en
c o m -
i n g
u p
f o r
a i r
i n
 
t h e
r i v e r
o
h u m a n i t y
t h a t
i s
 
m i d d a y
C h i n a -
t o wn
in
W
a s h i n g t o n,
D .
C .
S o
i t
 
g o e s ,
w h e n
y o u r
h a n d s o m e
t w e n t y -
o n e -
y e ar
-
o l d
i s
 
a
r a n gy
s i x -
f o o t er
w i th
a
s e xy
f i
ve
o’
c l o ck
s h a d ow
a nd
t he
m i n d
o
a
 
g o o d -
n a t ur
e d
a d o l e s c e n t .
P er
v a s i v e
d e v e l o p m e n t a l
d e l a y s
c a u s e
t h e i r
o w n
s e t
o
pr
o b l e m s ,
a n d
D a v id
s
 
i s
 
a
 
k i n d
o
e x u - b e r a n c e
t h a t
r
e v e a l s
i t s e l
b y
h i s
s w i n g i n g
a n
i m a g i n a r y
b a s e -
b a l l
b a t
w h e n e v e rhe
s
 
r
e a l l y
h a p p
y
.
 
F e e t
s q u ar
e d ,w r i s t sp i l e d
up
h i gh
on
h is r i g ht
s h o u l d er
,
a nd
s w o o s h!
T he
i m p u l se
r
e
f l
e c t s
a n
o p e n
i n n o c e n c e
t h at
s
 
w a y
t o o
f r i e n d l y
w h e n
i t
c o m e s
t o
s t r a n g e r s .
A t
E i g h t h
a n d
F
,
 
N
W
,
 
w h e n
a
 
h o m e l e s s
m a n
a s k s
h i m
f o r
c h a n g e ,
D a v i d
p u l l s
o u t
h i s
w a l l e t
a n d
s a y s ,
O k a
y
,
h ow
m u c h ?
 
g
 
l
 
en
 
finl
and
 
B u t
i
 
h e
c o u l d
l e a r nt o
 
r i d e
t h e
M e tr
o ,
m y
h u s b a n d
a n d
I
b e l i e v e d,
t h en
he
c o u ld
t r a v el
to
a
j ob
s i t e;
a nd
w h en
he
l o c k e d
d o wn
t h at
j o b,
he
c o u ld
p ay
h is
r
e n t.
W
i th
a
j ob
a nd
an
a p ar
t -
m e n t,
he
w o u ld
h a ve
a
r
e al
l i f e.
A nd
w ho
k n o w s?
M a y be
e v e n
f i
nd
s o m e b o dy
o t h er
t h an
h is
d ad
a nd
me
to l o ve
h im
w e ll i n t o
t he
f u t ur
e.
It
w as
a
g o al
we
c o u ld
a ll
a gr
ee o n.
D a v id
s w u ng
h i s
i m a g i n a ry
b at
w h e n e v er
we
t a l k ed
a b o ut
i t .
S o
a t
t h e
e n d
o
t h e
s u m m e r
D a v i d
a n d
I
 
g o t
c o z yw i t h
a l l
t he
d iff er
e nt
M e tr
o
r
o u t e s.
W
e
v i s i t ed
t he
z oo
a nd
m et
t he
g u y
w h o
s c r u b s
t h e
e l e p h a n t s ’
b a c k s .
W
e
 
s urf a c e d
i n
C h i n a t o w n ,
w h er
e
D a v id w a l k ed
ar
o u nd
w i th
a
s t a r r y -
e y ed
l o ok
on
h is f a c e
b e c a u se
of 
t he
pr
e t ty
K or
e an
g i r l s .
O ne
m o r n i n g,
we
h o p p e d
of 
at
t he
S m i t h s o n i an
f or
h im
to
r un
to
t he
L i n c o ln
M e m o r i a l
w h i l e
I
 
w a i t e d
o n
a
 
b e n c h
i n
 
a
 
l i g h t
d o w n p o ur
.
D a v i d
h a d
a p a s s i o n
f o r
r u n n i n g .
E v e r
s i n c e
h e
w a s
a
 
c h i l d ,
h e
c o u l d
r u n
l i ke
a d e er
,
a nd
in
h i gh
s c h o ol
he
h ad
r un
cro s s -
c o u n t r
y
.
At
t h e
A r l i n g t o nN a t i o n a l
C e m e t e r y
s t a t i o n ,
w e
f o l l o w e d
t h e
p a t h
t o
S e c t i o n6 0 ,
w h er
e
 
w e
s a t
b e s i d e
a
 
n i n e t e e n - y e ar
-
o l d
m a r i ne
s
g r a v e
a n d
t a l k e d
a b o u t
t h e
w a r
i n
 
I r a q .
D a v i d
w o u l d
l i k e
t o
b e
a
 
s o l d i er
,
 
a n d
h e
w a s n
t
 
i n t er
e s t e di n
 
m y
p o l i t i c a l
m u s i n g s .
I n s t e ad
he
w o n d er
ed
if 
t he
s o l d i e rs
h ad
l i v ed
a
g o od
l i e
b e f or
e t h e y
d i e d .
A n o t h e rd ay
,
 
w e
r a c e d
u p
t h e
e s c a l a t o r s
t o w ar
d
 
t h e
wr
o n g
t r a i n
a n d
e n d e d
u p
i n
 
S h a d y
Gr
o v e ,
t h e n
d o u b l e db a c k
a nd
r
o de
h o me
t he
l o ng
w a
y
.
W
e
d i d n
t
h a ve
a n y w h er
e
we
h a d
to
be
t h at
a f t e r n o o n.
No
w o r r i e s .
It
s t a y ed
t h at
w ay
u n t il
t he
A u g u st
e v e n i ng
w h en
D a v id
t o l d
me
he
w as
r
e a dy
to
go
it
a l o n e.
W
e
b o th
k n ew
t h is
w as
c o m i n g ;
i t
 
w a s ,
i n
 
f a c t ,
e x a c t l y
w h a t
w e
d
 
b e e nw o r k i n g
t o w ar
d .
I
 
 j u s t
h a d n
t
r
e a l i z ed
h e
d
be
r
e a dy s o o n er t h an
I
w a s .
2
 
9 7 8 0 3 9 9 1 5 8 6 0 5 _ N e x t S t o p _ T X _ p 1 - 2 9 0 . i n d d
3
1 8 / 0 1 / 1 21 2 : 51
A M
next
sto
 
p
D a v i d ,
m y
t h ir
d
 
s o n ,
w a s
b o r n
i n
 
1 9 8 7 .
H e
w a s
a
 
f a i l ur
e - t o -
t h r i v e
b a b y
w h o
s p i t
u p
h a l
h i s
b ir
t h
 
w e i g h t
d u r i n g
h i s
f i
r s t
m o n t h s
b e f or
e
 
d o c t o r s
d i a g n o s e d
r
e
f l
u x
a n d
m i l d
c ere b r a lp a l s
y
.
He
d id
n ot
w a lk
u n t il
he
w as
t hr
ee
a nd
a
h a l .
At
a ge
f i
v e ,
a
 
n e ur
o l o g i s t
c o n c l u d e d
h i s
d e v e l o p m e n t a l
d e l a y s
w er
e
a t t r i b -
u t a b l et o
a
 
c o m b i n a t i o n
o
a u t i s m
a n d
s t a t i c
e n c e p h a l o p a t h
y
,
a
 
b r a i n
p a u s e
t h a t
i m p a i r s
i n t e l l i g e n c e ,
l i k e
a
 
c ir
c u i tm i s f ir e
i n
 
t h e
b r a i n .
I m a g i n e
d r i v i n gt hr
o u g h
t h e
m o u n t a i n s ,
h i t t i n g
s t a t ic
on
t he
r a d i o,
a nd
s u d d e n ly
l o s i ng
t he
m u s i c.
S o m e t i m e s D a v id
l o s es
t he
m u s i c .
B u t
b y
t h e
t i m e
h e
t u r n e d
s e v e n ,
e v e r yd o c t o r
w e
s a w
o f -
f er
e d
u s
a
 
d iff er
e n t
d i a g n o s i s .
A
 
s p e c i a l i s t
t a g g e d
o n
a
 
m e a n
m i x
o
A D H D ,
o b s e s s i v e -
c o m p u l s i v e
d i s or
d er
,
 
a n d
 T
o ur
e t t e
s
s y n dr
o m e,
a
n e ur
o l o g i c al
d i s or
d er
of 
i n v o l u n t a ry
a nd
r
e p e t i t i v e
m o t o r
a n d
v o c a l
t i c s .
 T h e
t i c s
i n c l u d e
e y e
b l i n k i n g ,
h e a d
o r
s h o u l d er
j e r k i n g,
f a c i al
g r i m a c i n g,
a n d,
in
D a v id
s c a s e,
s n or
t -
i n g
s o u n d s
o f t e n
c o m b i n e d
w i t h
a n
u p p e r
b o d y
t w i s t ,
a
h o p ,
a n d
a
 
p u n c h
t o
h i s
o w n
m o u t h .
 J u s t
w a t c h i n g
t h i s
c h i l ds l e e p
c o u ld
w e ar
me
o u t .
By
a ge
f i
f t e e n,
D a v id
h ad
gr
o wn
t a l l,
w i th h i gh
c h e e k b o n e s ,
a n d
s o
t h i n
I
 
c o u l d
c o u n t
e v e r y
n o t c h
a l o n g
h i s
s p i n e .
H i s
t w i s t i ng
b o dy
k e pt
h im
b u sy
c o r r a l l i ng
t he
t i cs
t h at
j e r k ed
h i m
ar
o u n d
a n d
s o m e t i m e s
b u r s t
o u t
o fh i s
t hro a t
w i t h o u t
w a r n
-
i n g .
O n c e ,
d u r i n g
a
 
N a t i o n a l
 T h e a tr
e
 
m a t i n e e
o
C a t s ,
h i s
t i c s
n e a r ly
g ot
us
t o s s ed
o ut
of 
o ur
t h ir
d -r
ow
s e a t s.
T he
u s h er
s a i d
D a v id
w as
d i s t r a c t i ng
t he
c a t s .
E v e n
w i t h
t h e
d i
f i
c u l t yi n
 
c o n v e y i n g
h i s
t h o u g h t s ,
D a v i d
3

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