A couple of hours ago, we were riding on a ‘hop on, hop off ‘ train around Albufeiro until our company, all ladies, suggested we ‘hop’ off and walk. They walked into the first shop. Mowghi doesn’t do shops. He pulled me away from the pack and lead me across roads, and dried up waste land onto a dusty man made track to God knows where. That’s the thing with Mowghi. I never know where I’m going to end up, but, a bit like life, when I go with the flow, it often turns out to be one big adventure.
Mowghi trailed me down a steep slope, past the back of private condos, onto the top of a cliff face. We threaded gingerly over honey comb rock that looked like it could crumble at any moment into the aqua green water far below. I was wondering if we would ever find our way back when we rounded a corner and a café, framed in glass, appeared before us.
It was jutting out over a small secluded sun drenched cove. Mowghi abandoned his flip flops and ran downward, past the pretty sunbathing area towards the ocean, squealing louder that a bunch of seagulls. Faces appeared from behind newspapers and floppy sun hats. Under my shades, it became evident that Mowghi had gate crashed a private beach club. I considered the worse case scenario. Pitching my bag of towels, sun cream and packed sandwiches, I settled myself on the edge of a deluxe cream cushioned lounger and decided to wait until we were asked to leave.
I had just completed the first sentence of this piece when a face appeared in front of mine. Here we go, I thought. I reached for my bulging beach bag and was about to tell the man in the expensive leather sandals, lemon shorts and cream polo shirt that we were just leaving but he spoke first. “Hello…the young man with you…is it autism? “ I relax my hand on the handles of my bag. Mowghi was doing his ‘autistic thing’ as he ran in and out of the surf. “Yes, my son is autistic.” “Ah…my daughter, her son has just been diagnosed…he is only three…” His voice trailed but not before I heard it break. The man gestured if he could sit.
I pulled my bag closer to me and nodded. He sat down with a sigh and started to tell me about all the things his grandson could and couldn’t do. A waiter arrived and offered us drinks. I was about to protest when the man lifted two glasses and sat one down in front of me. “You must know this journey well,” he said, reminding me of my own anxiety when I first received Cian’s diagnosis. He wanted reassurance, a guarantee that all would turn out well for his grandson. I reached for my glass and took a long drink before I answered him.
“It’s a different journey. It helps if you can go with the flow. Find ways to enjoy your grandson because who knows where any of us are going to end up? A slow smile formed on the man’s face and he clinked my glass.” That’s great advice. Thank you. I was meant to hear that today.”
We both turned back to Mowghi playing happily in the water. I took another sip and wondered when it would be a good time to admit I hadn’t a clue where I was and to ask the man for directions back to our apartment.