Literal Minds

“Dad, that’s a tree and only a tree. Got it?”

My family was without a car for nearly a month, so the five of us went everywhere on foot or public transport, sometimes by bike.

One night, I rode the nine blocks to fetch my son from speech therapy for his autism, and we started to walk home.

“Can you carry my backpack?” the 11-year-old asked after half a block. “It’s heavy.”

“Of course.”

I took his backpack and balanced it on my bike, and we started to walk again.

“Is that better now that I’m carrying your backpack?”

My son, who takes things literally because of his autism, looked at me and said, “But you’re not.”

“No?”

“No, the bike is.”

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