By now you’ve heard my side of what it’s like having a challenging, yet amazing son with autism named Cade. You’ve also heard my stories of the fake arguments, made up words and shit talking that are at the heart of the relationship that I have with my badass brother-in-law Brett, who is also on the autism spectrum. Today, I’d like to share a new perspective — the perspective of a friend. A friend that’s made a difference in my life. A friend whose writing, just like life itself, is raw and unfiltered.
So here’s to life and those decent friends that you make along the way. Decent friends that go on to become the best of friends. Ryan Wilson, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I don’t know what I’d do without you man.”
“HEY RYAN HOW ARE YOU?”
“What’s up Cade,” I say as I wipe the 4 hours of sleep away from my eyes.
“RYAN, WHO WEARS THE MASK, NIGHT TIME FIGHTER IN THE NIGHT TIME. WEARS THE MASK, DARK KNIGHT RYAN, DARK KNIGHT, WHO’S THAT RYAN, WHO?”
“Batman,” I reply from across the room.
I’ve made it into the bathroom at this point. Cade standing right outside reciting his lines for his morning script. I finish up then go immediately to the patio. Most people enjoy a coffee in the morning. I find that a Dr Pepper and a cigarette really jump starts the heart. As I light up said cigarette the patio door opens. Cade sticks his head out just enough to finish his morning spill.
“RYAN, WWE COUNTDOWN RYAN. WEARS A ROBE, THE 16 TIME WORLD CHAMPION RYAN. WEARS A ROBE, WEARS A CAPE, WWE SUPERSLAM, SUMMERSLAM RYAN, WHO’S THAT?”
Knowing what my answer brings, I decide to have some fun with Cade first.
“Who’s that buddy?” I ask.
Cade gives me a blank stare.
“Who’s that?” I ask him again. “You tell me buddy”
“You tell me.”
I finally give in.
Next thing I know I’m pushed away a few feet by the volume which Cade lets out a “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
He then proceeds to shut the door. I can hear him stomping throughout the house as he continues to scream. I go inside to follow him, only to realize that he’s locked me out again. I then call Kelly.
“Hey man, I’m locked out again.”
Kelly comes to the door with a grin.
“He did it again huh?” He asks.
While walking in I notice Cade’s Wooo’s have woken up Brett, who looks Kelly up and down, before asking him the million dollar question.
“What the fuck are you doing here? Huh boy?”
I guess to explain how I turned this into a daily routine I have to back it up a few months. I’ve always been a very cynical person. I disliked everything and didn’t want to do anything. I made my fair share of fuck ups — because I’m never at fault and I’m always right. I also suffer from a social anxiety disorder that tends to leave me bottled up and non talkative to even the closest of family members. Anyway, long story short, I was pretty shitty.
Come September of last year I was in and out of the hospital a few times with anxiety issues, panic attacks and a few other issues. Anytime I would tell Kelly he’d always jet right over. Kelly and I have always had a decent relationship. We knew each other for roughly three years and were always decent friends. Around this time he asked me to come hangout with him for the weekend. Just to get my mind relaxed and away from everything. I also knew Cade but didn’t exactly know how to interact with him or know what to say. I remember my second day being there as I watched him playing with a few WWE action figures. I asked, “Do you like Ric Flair?”
“Yes,” he responded.
“What does Ric Flair say?”
The rest of the night I listened to Cade “WOOOOOOO’ing” and laughing. I also got to know more about the baddest mother fucker in all of Belmont, Brett. He and I share the same love for Punk Rock music, cheap beer and fucking with Kelly.
Skipping ahead a little in this story, but I now know every single meal that Brett eats daily. This may sound weird, but it goes like this.
Brett: “Did Kelly eat some IHOP pancakes today?”
Me: “Hell no he didn’t”
Brett: “Did he have some bacon cheese fries from Wendy’s?”
Me: “Probably not”
Brett: “He didn’t have two hot pockets”
Me: “Brett….how much have you eaten? It’s only 2 p.m.”
Brett: “You know what he’s eating?”
Me: “What’s that?”
Brett: “Some stupid shit”
You see, literally anything from the pants he wears (That Kelly doesn’t) to movies he likes (That Kelly hasn’t seen) Brett is in every way, cooler than Kelly could ever possibly dream. We started a band (The bad boys of Belmont) for Brett to sing about how much he wished Kelly was dead and also for him to cover a Guns N’ Roses song occasionally. As much as Brett fucks with Kelly, he enjoys to be teased back more than anything. From having an arrow from a Nerf crossbow shot at his door or at him while he’s trying to watch T.V. to putting baby powder in his hairdryer, Brett loves every bit of it. One night I even suggested that we throw it old school and Kelly pied Brett in the face. (Don’t worry, Kelly let Brett pie him back.) Fuck, we even took one out of The Office handbook and sealed Brett’s number one item, aka his karaoke microphone, into a large Jello mold. While Brett’s necklaces, 80’s band merch T-shirts and video game expertise make him the coolest guy in the room; it’s his ability to be teased and joked on with a smile, knowing that revenge is around the corner, that makes him the baddest mother fucker around. How many people do you know that can be pied in the face and chase you around with a huge grin on their face?
Now back to the initial weekend. I remember sitting down to watch T.V. for the first time with Kelly. We watched a few hours of The Office, a personal favorite of mine. I remember him telling me, “Man I haven’t watched T.V. in years. I got too much going on with these guys.” I thought back to one of Kelly’s blogs that I treasure, “What the F%ck do I Have to Complain About?” (Seriously a great read, check it out if you haven’t already.) It was around that time that Cade came out. He was having a migraine and was in so much pain that he took it out on Kelly. 10 minutes later Kelly calls me into the kitchen. His wrists both bleeding, his shirt torn a little. Cade had finally calmed down.
“Sorry about that man,” Kelly said.
“No there’s no reason to be sorry man. I’m good,” I replied
“Dad, give Shrek a hug,” Cade yelled.
Kelly then hugged Cade. While hugging him, Kelly said, “I love you buddy.”
“Love you. Love you too.”
Kelly then gave me a “oh well” look with a small grin on his face.
30 minutes later, after settling back into the couch, all you can hear over the T.V. was a “WOOOOOOOO” accompanied by a laugh.
It was at that time I realized that I really wanted to give Kelly just one good, care free night. Just hang out, shoot the shit. Don’t worry about the future or what’s happening now. Just hangout. My weekend trip extended into the week and I found myself hanging around more with Cade. Checking in whenever I heard something, sitting by him to eat. I really had no idea how much my perception was about to change. Do you have any idea how hard it is to hate life and be depressed when every hour someone asks you, “HEY RYAN, ARE YOU HAPPY?”
Also try to tell Cade that you aren’t happy. I dare you. You will be asked over and over again until eventually he changed the way that he asks it. “RYAN, HOW ARE YOU FEELING?”
I mean, when you sit back and think about it, all this guy has to be sorry or upset about and yet all he cares about is if whomever in the room with him is happy? Through this I became very close to Cade. I no longer went to check on him to help Kelly out. I found myself checking on Cade just to check on Cade. To make sure that Cade was good all the time because I knew that he would do the same for me. Cade has unknowingly helped me with a lot of my own issues. Just a week ago, me, the guy who again, found it hard to have a full conversation with a family member because of anxiety issues, walked across a crowded Latin restaurant in NYC with Cade having a migraine as he shouted, “WANNA TALK TO CARLOS ON THE PHONE. HEY CARLOS, WOULD YOU LIKE A BURRITO, WOULD YOU LIKE A TACO CARLOS, CARLOS SPEAKS SPANISH.” In that is a lesson Cade has taught me: to make sure said person is okay and well, even if it’s something you aren’t comfortable with. I’ve also grown very protective over Cade. On the same trip he said something I may never forget. We were walking down the street after getting food and someone grabbed his arm and held him there.
“Hey man, let me get a dollar or two. Man, come on have a heart,” the man said.
Cade stood there while I walked over and grabbed him away from the guy. Walking away I began to get mad at the man for grabbing him. I angrily said, “Cade, you wanna know what you do the next time one of these guys puts his fucking hand on you?”
“Have a heart,” Cade replied.
After a moment of it lingering, I replied. “Well yeah, I guess you’re right Cade.”
Also a fun story to that same lesson, I’ve had to watch what I say somewhat. Nothing better than being in the car, upset at traffic and saying, “Oh fuck that guy!”
To then hear, “Oh fuck that guy.”
To which I then reply, “Oh shit.”
Which then echoes back to me, “Oh shit.”
Really puts into perspective how silly it all really sounds.
Over all this time I’m really honored to have gotten to know Cade and to continue to do so. One day that really made my heart melt was asking him who I was. Usually he would answer with “The Flash” which I know is a compliment because there’s no way he could possibly know my average bedroom time with the gals. But this time he said, “Best friend.” And that truly meant a lot to me and I hope he knows that the feeling is mutual. I’ve hugged Cade while he was screaming with his pants around his ankles on the toilet having a meltdown. And I mean a long hug. If that’s not a best friend then I really don’t know what is. Like I said earlier, Cade has taught me more about life then anyone ever has and has had the most impact on me.
Now on to my absolute best friend that I’ve ever had, Kelly. What else can I say that hasn’t been said? He’s the most selfless person, the best father, I mean really everything under the sun. Instead of telling Kelly how great he is, I’ll just take this paragraph to thank him. Thank him for allowing me into his and Cade’s life. Thank him for all he’s done for me and continues to do. And thank him for being a true role model in an otherwise pretty wild world. Without Kelly and his family, I’d still be the same cynical, down in the dumps loser that I felt complacent being. The world needs more Kelly Melerine’s and nothing will ever be good enough in my eyes for this guy. So buy the book. (Wow Ryan, was this really all just a cheap advertisement for the book?) You bet your ass it is. Because I can guarantee you that it will change your mindset and perception on a lot of things. So I guess really all I have left to say is