Chapter 17: In His Own World

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Ahio had become an island sensation. Ahomana, the people called him. Ahomana the Amazing, whose magic act was like no other. He could make people disappear and reappear with the snap of finger. He could transform a glass of water into a flock of tropical birds. He could do anything.

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Well, almost anything. Ahomana the Amazing could not keep himself from transforming into a merman every twelve hours or so, and so he had to hire a nanny to care for Tane in his absence. Nor could Ahomana convince Poe to return to the islands, as she was happily performing for sold-out crowds in Australia. And, though he tried every day, Ahomana the Amazing did not have the power to stop missing Puaura. All he could do was hope that she was healthy and happy, wherever she was.

Ahio had come to accept his life sentence in the body of a merman, and was determined to make the best of it. He constantly studied magic in order to learn new tricks and keep the crowds on their toes. He loved the way people’s faces lit up with astonishment and happiness when he waved his wand and made impossible things happen.

He also studied parenting books and asked questions of other parents around the island, so that he could be a good father to Tane. But raising Tane was not easy. By the time he was two years old, it was clear that something was not quite right about him. He still did not talk. He seemed disinterested in the games, songs and things that other toddlers his age enjoyed.diagnosis (4)

“He is fussy all the time,” said his nanny with a worried look. “Maybe you should take him to see a doctor.”

Ahio brought Tane to the family doctor, who then referred him to a pediatric neurologist. The neurologist spent a long while studying Tane.

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Finally, he spoke to Ahio. “I am afraid that Tane has autism,” he said, his voice filled with sympathy. “All the classic signs are there.” Ahio, in shock, barely listened as the doctor droned on about recreational therapy, tutors, and early intervention. His little boy was autistic. He would not get to live a normal life.

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Later that day, he scooped up Tane in his arms and took him to the seashore. They stood there for a long time; two misfits listening to the waves lap against the shore, each lost in his own world. Tane (204)

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