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  • I do remember thinking the parking lot seemed somewhat empty that day, but it didn't register.

    I don't remember all the details. I had to have been overtired. I was clearly rushing. It was a Monday, and it was a day my office was open. And so it was that I dropped my son, who has autism, off at school the way I did every morning.

    Forty minutes later, the call to my office from one of the home teachers we hired for AFTER school and fill-in days. They were at our house and no one seemed to be home. They assumed they were working that morning, it being Veterans Day. And schools being closed.

    More adrenaline than I recall ever coursing through my body simultaneously seemed to shoot to every inch of me. I have no memory of getting in the car, or accelerating to the 25 mph over the speed limit that I remember driving the ten minutes to school that I somehow did in four. I remember sprinting, sprinting. No ability for him to explain or ask. No idea of where he would go. No one who would recognize him or take him aside or know who to call. No idea if he would leave the building and start walking somewhere. And on my watch.

    I caught sight of him as my gimpy knee stabbed the linoleum at the top of the stairs across from his locked classroom. I stopped. I looked at him, disbelieving. There he sat on the glossy floor, his back to the wall adjacent to the classroom. His overstuffed backpack was beside him. He was sitting listening to his iPod. with his earphones, waiting. He had done what he had been taught.

    At least someone had been paying attention.
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