The Emperor, C’est Moi
This is an excerpt from The Emperor, C’est Moi by Hugo Horiot. It is written by an individual with autism. It is a powerful story of a non-verbal individual, and how he thinks and lives in the verbal world of France. The word autism does not appear in the book. It is about differences, and how this individual sees the world through his eyes.
I am next to Soizic. Her hands were the ones that stroked me earlier and now she is here beside me. I don’t dare look at her, but I can tell she’s smiling at me. She smells good. She’s beautiful. She’s here. And I’m here too, in front of the triple mirror, and I don’t want to see Julien. Soizic hands me a catolog with pictures of children. I don’t to see them either. They look like the ones at kindergarten I have to put up with all day long. They yell in my ears, wave their arms around everywhere, are not interesting. I can’t bear them. Besides, I must deal with them constantly, all day, shut up with them either in the classroom, where the noises echoes, or on the playground, where they never stop running around. What’s more, I’m supposed to join in their childish games. NO! Soizic, put away the catolog! Oh yes, right: I don’t speak. I pull my mother toward me and whisper in her ear that Soizic must put the catalog away and that she has lovely hands. She wears rings on every finger. Blue ones. I tell Mama that it’s nice to wear blue rings like Soizic does.
In Soizic’s hands, scissors and comb. That’s it, spin me around! I lower my head, because I don’t want to meet Soizic’s eyes: they would make me lose control of the situation. I don’t want to meet Julien’s gaze, either. Julien, who suffers and makes me suffer. Soizic delicately lifts my head when I turn away from the mirror. I will still keep lowering my head anyway, but now it’s more to feel Soizic’s hand again, gently rasing my chin, than it is to banish Julien from sight. She reminds me of the Little Mermaid. But sher is bigger. She whirls around me, gliding on her rolling stool. Now I’m sure of it. She, too, likes to go around and around. When the waltz is over and the scissors are put away, Soizic looks in the mirror at me and smiles. Her smile makes me lose control. For the first time in a long while, I’m not thinking anymore. She is beautiful and I smile back at her. I look at my reflection. I no longer recognize Julien. Thank you, Soizic, for this liberation. Without knowing it, with your blue smock, your scissors, your hands and your rings, for one brief moment you were the healer of my soul.
Those hands that have given me so much pleasure…I don’t want to let them escape. I seize them and caress the blue rings. Oh, who cares about my secret plans, staying in control, betraying nothing—I have to speak to you. I look at the hands and rings. Too late: sounds come out of my mouth.
“They are beautiful, they are blue.”
I can’t resist anymore, I must see her eyes. Her eyes that I’ve avoided all along. I want to see them. I look up.That’s it: I’m in her eyes. She smiles at me. I hold her hand in mine. I don’t let go of it. Words come out of my mouth again.
“You are beautiful too. And you seem pleased.”
If you liked this excerpt and want to learn more about The Emperor C’Est Moi, it can be found on Amazon.