I Want to Lick You

A provocative title for a blog post, right?

Don’t get too excited. The post isn’t nearly as provocative as the title. It’s about people perceiving Martin as weird.

Especially when Martin is detoxing, or when a treatment has “stirred up” viruses or parasites or metals, &c., he engages in strange behaviors. Last week Martin accompanied me to an AT&T store. While I sat talking with an agent, Martin rolled on a padded bench, threw himself on the floor, and tried to bury his face in my lap. In an instant of distraction, I felt something wet and realized Martin had lifted my shirt and licked my back. Hoping the agent hadn’t noticed, I pulled my shirt down and whispered, “Martin, don’t do that!”

Martin shouted, “I want to lick you!”

When Martin was younger and more impaired, situations like “I want to lick you!” were easier to endure. Back then, I think people recognized that something was going on with Martin, which made odd behaviors understandable. Plus, the smaller the child, the crazier the utterances, right?

Now, Martin is eight years old, and appears maybe a bit older—physically, he favors my six-foot-three-inch brother, Eddie—and responds to questions and speaks in sentences. Relatively few people, I imagine, realize on first acquaintance that something is going on, so now it is all the more unsettling when detox behavior prompts him to broadcast, in public, “I want to lick you!”

Adrian and I are shopping for a new SUV. My darling husband is highfalutin, so we are test-driving luxury models. Monday Martin accompanied us on one such expedition. Monday also was Martin’s worst day in ages; his teacher reported that Martin laughed inappropriately throughout the day and repeatedly disrupted class, his personal trainer said Martin was too distracted to participate in the exercises, and Martin staged a mini-meltdown when told that we’d be going car shopping instead of home to watch television. Still, it didn’t seem like that bad of an idea to take him along.

Until Adrian and I, with a saleswoman by our side, turned around to find Martin, all 65 pounds of him, half-laughing and half-crying, sprawled across the hood of an $85,000 Porsche.

As the Dead tell us, every silver lining has that touch of gray.