Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Always Only You

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Always Only You (2020) Chloe Liese (Bergman Brothers)

Always Only YouFrankie is a social media coordinator for the LA Kings hockey team, which (considering the nature of hockey) gives her plenty to do.

I also document informal charitable outings geared toward our most underrepresented fans. It’s not in my exact job description, but I’m a big believer in breaking down stigma around differences we tend to ostracize, so I wormed my way into the process. I don’t just want to make our hockey team more accessible to its fans, I want us to be a team that leads its fans in advancing accessibility itself.

That makes me sound sweet, doesn’t it? But the truth is nobody on the team would call me that. In fact, my reputation is quite the opposite: Frank the Crank.

She is also autistic with rheumatoid arthritis, which means she uses a cane, but isn’t hung up about it.

Perhaps because of my autistic brain and its analytical practicality, I didn’t have feelings about the cane. I simply saw its functional advantage. It helped. I was steadier with it. My leg didn’t give out. I didn’t fall on my face. What the hell was bad about that?

She is not open about her ASD with her coworkers, but she is honest with herself about it.

I seemed like a typical kid— whatever the fuck that is— until depression and anxiety after my dad’s death threw me into a tailspin, obliterating the emotional reserves it took to fake normality.
The psychologist said I’d have been diagnosed sooner if not for my fantastic ability to follow rules, copy behaviors, and pretend I was “normal.” Everyone hits a breaking point, the shrink said. It was only a matter of time before I’d have to stop pretending and get honest about my neurological difference.

I like my books. They’re one of the most vital tools in my arsenal for navigating human behavior, to explore my feelings about the parts of life that most confuse me. Books help me feel a bit more connected to a world that often is hard to make sense of. Books are patient with me. They don’t laugh at me instead of with me. They don’t ask why I’m “always” frowning, or why I can’t sit still. Books welcome me— weirdness and all— and take me exactly as I am.

And Ren is an absolute sunshine cinnamon roll.

“You’re usually so chill.”

I turn my coffee mug slowly, clockwise. “I’ve learned things go better for me when that’s what other people see.”

I mean…

I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not—

Carbuncles. I’m crying.

I’d ask whose idea it was for me to read Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You to a group of toddler and preschool-aged patients, but I have no doubt it was Frankie’s doing.

It’s possible Ren might be a little too perfect…but that’s ok. He has a loud, weird, crazy family, and was a geek in high school. He’s allowed to be.

Rating: 8/10


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