May 13, 2014 0 Share

Oh Romeo


Copy of "Romeo and Juliet" with rose.
Thinkstock

I was going to write about a disturbing case here in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, involving the arrest of three teenage girls for tormenting and assaulting a high school boy with autism. But then I saw Reilly post this on Facebook:

“It will be a long afternoon. Making a peanut butter pie during Banking and Budgeting for my food class final, then getting ready for the 4:00 p.m. Romeo and Juliet production. At 8:00 p.m. I will be watching the NFL draft. It will be interesting to see where Ha Ha goes. : )”

So much to work with there! First, I’m not sure why he was making pie for his food class final during his Banking and Budgeting class. Probably best not to ask. Hope it all worked out. But “Romeo and Juliet” I had to ask about.

Reilly’s literature class staged the production, and Reilly was Romeo; his girlfriend, Ashley, was Juliet, of course. It might not be a high honor—apparently none of the boys in the class wanted the part, so Reilly volunteered.

The night before the play, he posted at 11:15 pm: “Damn, this play just needs to be over. LOL”

“Break a leg, buddy!” I commented. He said, “We are all hoping it gets over fast. As it turns out, we don’t work well together in our nighttime basement lounge practices as the show gets closer.”

To which his sister, Brigid, the theater education major, replied: “Welcome to all acting, ever, Reilly. I think two people cried at our last senior rehearsal this week … It stresses everybody out, but the show comes together in the end.”

Apparently it did. We didn’t get to see the show, but Reilly reported it went well, and the literature teacher said they were the first group of students to memorize all their lines so well they didn’t need the script for the performance. Someone shot video, so hopefully we will get to see the recording.

Reilly’s excitement over the play was soon eclipsed by his excitement over … the NFL draft. That’s where Ha Ha comes in. According to Reilly’s stream of Facebook posts about the draft, Ha Ha is a college player, a safety, named Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix, who Reilly had hoped would still be available when the Redskins finally got a pick. But then, Reilly posted: “No more Ha Ha.” He had gone to another team.

Reilly had to miss the second night of the draft, when the Redskins got to pick, because he was at a film festival for his Media Applications class. But he managed to stay on top of the draft anyway, posting updates periodically. Because of Reilly, I now know that the Redskins picked up an OLB, an OT and a G in the second round, though I have no idea what positions those are. I assume they are positions. Reilly seemed pleased with the picks.

So, while I felt awful about the boy in suburban Maryland, who was tormented for months by three girls he thought were his friends, culminating in the arrest of the girls for assault, Reilly’s good news and happiness over the NFL draft (like Christmas to him), brought me back to how much I have to be grateful for. Yes, it can be a cruel world at times for young people on the spectrum, and there will surely be disappointments and rough patches in Reilly’s future. But for now, things are pretty darn good. He’s happy and hopeful about his future.

We pick him up this week, at the end of his second year away at school. This year has gone quite well (OK, he might not pass his business management class, but it could be worse). While we still don’t know what the next school year will bring, we’re pretty sure we’ve prepared him as best we can for what comes next.

Romeo sums up my feelings thusly:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.