Me: [in a tone of voice obviously showing that, despite my words, this is a light-hearted tale. And yes, I know tone of voice and Aspergers is not an effective partnership. But surely...?] Aw, Ava was in such a state this morning – wailing, hiding in the utility room, crying, sobbing...
Me: Ethan...Ava was a total state this morning.
Ethan: [distracted] Oh. [Afterthought] Why?
Me: She had this spot in the corner of her mouth. She was in such a state about it. Saying she’d get teased. No-one would play with her. It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to her...
[I pause here for dramatic effect]
Ethan: [still nothing]
Me: I tried squeezing it but she flinched and screamed every time I went near it. I wanted to pop it with a pin but she totally freaked out at that idea. She went to school with her hood over her eyes and her collar up to her nose! Poor thing....
[Building up to delivery of my closing line now. I’m unmistakeably light-hearted; obviously wanting Ethan to share in my affectionate amusement. Surely, Aspergers or not, he can see that?!]
...it’s going to be the first of many!
Ethan: [still absolutely nothing]
Me: Ethan? Do you want to respond at all?
Ethan: [monotone – no hint of amusement, emotion, tenderness. Nothing.] Erm...I hope she’ll be OK.