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Rite of Passage: Synaesthesia and Love

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Skye’s heart missed a beat at the sight of a gorgeous looking girl. A synaesthetic colourful ribbon was twirling around her with the colours changing and moving, just like how Skye sees beautiful music through his synaesthetic perception.

Skye has a romantic soul. The curiosity in girls started early which was not surprising. One day when he was six, he asked Thomas to guess how many people would be living in his house when he was a grown-up. Before Thomas could answer, Skye said, “Four! My wife and I with our two children, a boy and a girl.”

Over the years, there have been a few girls who “danced” with a colourful ribbon around them, accompanied with a soft whisper, a pleasant flavour, and occasionally a smell that reminded Skye of a place he had been. This “love” synaesthesia usually fades and eventually disappears once he has moved on.

“Mum, I have decided to only like girls who like me. There is no point to waste any time on girls who don’t like me.” Wow! So wise! I was thinking to myself, only if I had this realisation when I was 10.

Skye used to be very fond of a girl whom he saw in an amazingly bright aqua colour. After he realised that she was more interested in a few other boys, he decided that it was not worth the hassle. Very quickly, he stopped seeing that beautiful colour twirling around her. Whilst he no longer thought about the girl, she started liking him.

“Mum, she still thinks I like her which is really annoying.” For the first time in his life, he wished other people could see what he saw so that there was no need to explain how he felt, and there was no misunderstanding. “Only if she knows that I no longer see the aqua colour around her.” Yes, why is the world so complicated where there is such a simple explanation? :-)

While I am still trying to keep up the pace with Skye’s change, Thomas came home from his first school camp two weeks ago with some unexpected news, “I have a girlfriend!” Wow, how did that happen? After a bit inquiry, I understood that the girl approached Thomas a couple of times, and they had a really good chat each time.

Loyalty is one of the best qualities of Thomas. Thomas is loyal to his family, his friends, his long term companion Mimi (a little Japanese stuffed toy) who looks very worn out, and his “girlfriend”.

Thomas was also very fond of a girl from his old school. They were in the same class when Thomas was in Grade One. They played together all the time, and felt the connection. Thomas came home one day and announced that he had a girlfriend, and he wanted to marry her.

Unfortunately, the girl had another friend “F” who used to bully Thomas often. When Thomas asked her if she could marry him one day, he was told, “no, I can’t marry you, I will be marrying F.” Thomas came home with a big disappointment. Trying to look serious and show a bit sympathy, I told him not to worry as he could do much better. He said he was not too disappointed about that, but he was concerned that she wanted to marry a bully. Two years on, he still thinks she was his best friend from the old school. He has not mentioned the word “girlfriend” for a long time. It must be the time to move on.

Thomas is keen on the concept of marriage. A long time ago, he asked us if one person could marry to two people. After he was told no, he stared at me and his dad.

“What’s wrong?” My husband and I were concerned.
“Will you divorce soon?” Thomas looked matter-of-factly.
“Why do you want us to divorce?” We were scratching our heads.
“So I can marry Mummy!” He exclaimed innocently.

Shortly after, we watched news about the possibility of the government passing a bill to allow gay marriage. Thomas asked us what gay marriage meant.

“It means a boy can marry a boy, and a girl can marry a girl.” I tried to explain in a simple way.
“Does that mean I can marry Skye now?” Thomas’ enthusiasm was met by Skye’s cold stare.

Last ten years, I have learnt more about life than any other period before that. Children have been my best teachers. They have totally changed the way I look at the world, and made me put life in a new perspective. They expanded my knowledge of human perception way beyond I could have ever dreamt of. I am forever grateful to their openness of sharing their feelings, and their willingness of sharing their stories through this blog.

Good night my boys, you are the best gifts I have for my birthday, today, and everyday …

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