I managed to get away for a few hours today to see some coworkers and then visit my 90 year old grandmother. She was sitting up in bed, her legs sticking out of her torso like toothpicks. I kissed her once on each cheek and sat down next to her so we could chat for an hour before I had to take her to the the doctor. In Farsi: “How’s everything going with Takkin? Has he done anything bad? It’s not his fault you know. He can’t control himself.” I tried to respond to her as best I could in my broken Farsi, but I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain all the nuances and intricacies of his situation. Instead of telling her that yes, he can’t control himself to some extent but he’s also got behavioral problems that stem all the way from his early childhood and two completely inept parents who made the exact wrong choices at the exact wrong times every step of the way, I said “Yes, it’s hard for him to control himself but… he can a little.” The language barrier was deeply frustrating.
When I got home, Takkin was with his tutor Connor, and was flipping out because two of his five phones weren’t working–or something like that. I honestly couldn’t even tell you what the problem was, something having to do with sim cards or extra phone numbers, or not enough phone numbers, or god knows what. It’s always something with phones. We finally managed to get it sorted, and he calmed down a little. I’ve always believed that Tak’s obsession with phones is a result of his inability to clearly communicate what is going on in his heart and mind. He can’t express himself because his cognitive impairment doesn’t allow him to and he wants so badly to get his ideas and thoughts across. When he freaks out over his phones, he’s actually freaking out because of some internal turmoil that no one can understand because his words come out garbled and nonsensical. It breaks my heart.
We headed out to see his psychiatrist, and in the parking lot Takkin started yelling at some young guy getting out of his car. “What the fuck are you looking at?” he screamed. The guy wasn’t even looking at him. I quickly grabbed his hands while he continued cursing and yelling and flipping the guy off and I dragged him to the car. Why Takkin, why? He attempted to explain to me who the guy was; what I gathered was that there had been an altercation between the two of them before. I couldn’t tell much more beyond that. He was agitated the entire rest of the way there and throughout his doctor’s appointment. He was finally mollified when we went through the McDonald’s drive-thru and he was able to eat. Sometimes I can’t help but liken him to an infant–he throws a tantrum when he’s hungry; he throws a tantrum when he has to pee but can’t get to the bathroom; he throws a tantrum when he doesn’t get every single little thing he wants or when things don’t go as he wants them to go.
He was bored when we got home, so I interviewed him to kill some time:
An Interview with Takkin
Q: How was your day?
A: So-so because of not doing fun with Reem [another tutor], all we did was go to look at boats at GW and then come to her house and read
Q: Besides Reem what did you do today?
A: In the morning time me and my sister went and had coffee and came back here with a sandwich, ate the breakfast, Reem calls and I go down and see some boats at GW Parkway. Next Connor came, Reem brought me back and delivered me to Connor. Connor and I just moped around the house while sister was doing her thing. It was fun, then we went to the doctor and came back home and ate a delicious sandwich that Tara bought from McDonald’s for her brother. But I’m a little sad about dad he’s not here but I’m still having fun times with my sister. It’s good. I guess the same thing is gonna happen tomorrow.
Q: Why are you sad dad isn’t here?
A: Mostly because he’s a father to me and I look up to him, I look up to my father and my dad, he’s a doll to me and I like spending time with him. I can talk to him on the phone, that’s easy. I’m happy he’s in a good place with his family and get quality time with my sister. My sister tolerates me for being a good son, I mean brother.
Q: If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?
A: Work with mobile phones or cars. If I had an occupation, I’d do either cell phones or cars, either/or because I like both of them easily, like take apart of fix a phone.
Q: What do you think about all the medication you have to take?
A: So-so, it’s helping. It’s doing some work but not a lot of work. Because sometimes I feel like I have the urge of doing something to someone because they’re just random people on the street. Your brother doesn’t want to be a homeless person on the outside. That I’m thankful that I have a home and a sister and my family next to me instead of being homeless. Little bit worried about being homeless.
At my grandmother’s house this afternoon, I tried to talk about Chicago and about my boyfriend and about politics and about her. We’d spend a minute or two on those topics, but the conversation always found its way back to Takkin. The language led us there, like it always does. I wish that language would help us find a way out.
Takkin doesn’t have to worry about being homeless. When everyone else is dead and gone, I’ll still be here, still keeping track of his meds, still setting up appointments, still trying to decipher “I’m more happy to be with sister than side effects.”