StoryCorps / Russell Lehmann and David Apkarian

Russell Lehmann and David Apkarian #

I remember sitting in the same exact spot for seven hours crying, and, uh, not one person approached me.

  • exact (adj.) - in great detail, or complete, correct, or true in every way
  • spot (noun. C) - a particular place
  • approach (verb.) - to come near or nearer to something or someone in space, time,quality, or amount

And that’s when I found an empty ticket counter. I sat behind it and I started sweating bullets, rocking back and forth, hyperventilating.

  • counter (noun. C) - a long, flat, narrow surface or tablein a shop, bank, restaurant, etc. at whichpeople are served
  • sweat bullets (idiom, informal@US) - to be extremely nervous and worried about something
  • rock (verb.) - to (cause someone or something to) move backwards and forwards or from side to side in a regularway
  • back and forth - moving first in one direction and then in the opposite one
  • hyperventilate (verb. @US) - to breathe too quickly, causing too much oxygen to enter the blood

I hadn’t had an episode like that probably since I was like 11.

  • episode (noun. C) - a single event or group of relatedevents

I don’t remember a whole lot, ’cause for me, in the midst of a meltdown, my brain literally feels like it’s on fire, with a vice grip around it, just getting tighter and tighter. I have a hard time comprehending the simplest sentences. I just, uh, feel like I’m on a planet all by myself.

  • in the midst of sth - in the middle of an event, situation, or activity
  • meltdown (noun. C/U informal) - an occasion when a person becomes extremely upset and is not ableto deal with a problem or situation
  • vice (noun. C vise@US) - a tool with two parts that can be moved together bytightening a screw so that an object can be held firmly between them while it is being worked on
  • grip (verb.) - to hold very tightly
  • comprehend (verb. not continuous) - to understand something completely

But when you crouched down beside me and asked me what was going on, my feelings started to change. Having someone actually recognize that I was human and that I was there — it meant the world to me. I didn’t feel as fragile. I had someone on my team.

  • crouch down (verb.) - to bend your knees and lower yourself so that you are close to the ground andleaning forward slightly
    • bend (verb.) - to (cause to) curve
  • fragile (adj.) - easily damaged, broken, or harmed

I remember letting the crew know that you were very uneasy about getting on the airplane, and I brought the captain over to hopefully, you know, give you another boost of confidence.

  • crew (noun. C) - a group of peoplewho work together, especially all those who work on and operate a ship, aircraft, etc.
  • uneasy (adj.) - slightly worried or uncomfortable about a particular situation
  • bring over - to take someone or something from one place to the place where someone else is, especially their home
  • boost (verb.) - to improve or increase something

You walked me onto the flight, I was able to board before anybody else to get situated and just kind of have some peace.

  • board (verb.) - to get onto or allow peopleto get onto a boat, train, or aircraft
  • situate (verb.) - to put something in a particular position

So David, did you wonder what happened to me after I finally got on the plane?

  • wonder (verb.) - to ask yourself questions or express a wish to know about something

You didn’t really know much about autism that day in the airport.

  • autism (noun. U) - a condition that starts in young children and typically causes behaviour that is unusually centred on the self while limiting the development of social and communication skills