Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 6 - Page 28

There was just something about him that made me want to be by him. Abraham: I met Anita when I went to her support group meeting. I can still remember when I first saw her. I felt an instant connection. As I looked more closely, I felt her strong charisma. I sensed her high intelligence. I felt enthusiastic at how she openly talked about being on the spectrum. I can honestly say I felt love at first sight! Oh, and I thought she was beautiful too! Her eyes were mesmerizing! PO Stephen: What does being married mean to each of you? Editor’s Note: When we heard about Anita Lesko & Abraham Nielsen and their All-Autistic Wedding, we wanted to know MORE! We also knew that we wanted to keep the “All Autism” theme going with our ZOOM story. Who better to do the interview, we thought, than the brilliant Stephen Shore, who not only witnessed this beautiful union but also officiated the ceremony! Without further ado, we proudly present Stephen’s insightful interview with these two love birds who really are doing everything they can to change the way the world views autism. Stephen: What made you and Abraham decide to get married at the Love & Autism Conference? Anita: At first our idea was to give others on the Autism Spectrum the opportunity to attend a wedding. It is common that we don’t get invited to such things. Then our vision to change the world’s view of autism began to grow, and we wanted to make it a public event to reach as many people as possible. Dr. Jenny Palmiotto had already invited me to speak at the Love & Autism Conference. After getting engaged on Christmas Eve 2014, I called her to ask if we could get married at her conference. Without batting an eye, Jenny agreed, and the journey began! 28 ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses PO Stephen: How did you and Abraham meet each other? Anita: After getting diagnosed with Asperger’s at the age of 50, the first thing I did was start an Asperger’s Support Group in my community. It was going for several years. Then one day Abraham came to the meeting with his mother. At that time I was hosting the support group at a tiny Unitarian church set back in the woods. That particular day there was a huge thunderstorm, and I thought no one would even show up. It was early spring of 2013. I will always remember when I first saw him and looked into his eyes. I had a feeling of peace come over me. Abraham: To me, being married means that I have an eternal romantic relationship with my dear wife Anita. My life is complete, knowing that she belongs to me from her heart, mind, and soul. I feel honored to be her husband, and this is the most incredible milestone I have ever taken on the high road. I believe a relationship in marriage represents beyond infinity. It also means that happiness will forever continue in our married life. I feel like we have walked together to the next world where we live in ultimate peace. Anita: I’m enjoying married life. Prior to our wedding, we were already calling each other husband and wife. But now, there’s a deeper feeling of our commitment to each other. It is a very peaceful feeling. I am proud to be Abraham’s wife. We belong to each other, always and forever. PO Stephen: At what point in your friendship did you two discover that there were more than just friend feelings? Abraham: After Anita and I were best friends for more than a year, I realized that love started to evolve for us on a special dramatic evening I will never forget. Anita had just adopted a bunny, and she bought a huge bunny hutch, which she asked me to assemble for her. On the night we brought the bunny hutch to Anita’s house, we both had a strong desire to hug each other in the driveway. It was a beautiful evening. As I put my arms around her, pulling her close against my chest, suddenly I felt a divine magical spark inside of me. I never experienced such an intense bond in my entire life. I didn’t want to let go of her; I wanted that moment to last forever. It was as if time stood still. It was the most comforting feeling we ever had. I couldn’t tell where my body ended and Anita’s began. It felt as if we were simply one person. Anita: It was that moment when I knew I never wanted to let him go. The feeling of being in his arms was intoxicating. I wanted that feeling to last forever. I felt as if I were in the pages of a great romance! PO Stephen: Did you both ever dream of finding someone for a relationship? Abraham: Yes. I always wished that a person on the spectrum would understand my life and be able to communicate with me. My dream of finding this elusive person felt totally futile. Before going to bed each night, I looked upon endless stars across the magnificent horizon, wishing my dream would come true. Unbeknown to me, fate would ultimately guide my life to a happily-ever-after marriage to my soul mate. Anita: I always dreamed of finding someone with whom I would be able to connect with, someone I could be my true self with. Before learning that I have Asperger’s, I knew I was different, and that in itself made me think my dream could never happen. After my diagnosis, even though I then knew why I was different, I still felt it to be impossible to find someone to cultivate a relationship with. Marriage seemed literally an impossible feat! PO Stephen: What do you treasure most about ZOOM Autism through Many Lenses 29