The kid's on his way schlumping home. I can't tell if he got off the bus--but it seems that way. He wanders over to a brand new truck, or maybe he was already there. Two kids in it, won't look me in the eye.
I'm on the way to the grocery story, but this kid, you've got to keep an eye on him. I pull up close to the driver's side door of the car. He comes over, wool hat pulled low on his brow, pants hanging down. Like that kid on The Simpsons. He says, " I gotta tell you something."
"What? I'm on my way to the store."
"I'll tell you when you get back." He's got that look on his face. That cornered one that means whatever happened, he has to tell me because I'm going to find out anyway.
I drive off. I only have to get a few things, and know I won't be too long. Still, I can't wait. And when I'm in the supermarket parking lot, call him on my cell phone.
He tells me he got in a fight at school. Thinks he broke his hand.
I'm thinking SHIT. I don't want to spend the next five hours in an emergency room. It's nearly 4 in the afternoon and I have plans. So I call the doctor's office, ask if they can get him in first thing in the morning. They usually can. They're not all that busy an office. Maybe the doctors aren't that good. One pissed me off royally, when I asked him to put this kid on anti-depressants. It wasn't that he had any moral qualms about it. I mean, I didn't get the feeling that was the case. It was that he was afraid of getting sued should this kid commit suicide. There have been , like, three people who have, but since it got on CNN it's a big deal. Nobody ever talks about all the teenagers who commit suicide who don't take anti-depressants.
Sure enough, they give him an appointment for first thing the next morning. I get home with the groceries, give him a couple of Advil and wrap his hand. Two hours later, he's got the wrap off. He doesn't seem all that uncomfortable and there isn't much swelling.
"Why did you fight?" I say. He's all slumped on the couch. Knows he has to put up with some level of interrogation, but resists all the same. "Who did you fight with?" I say.
"Jason." This surprises me a little, but only a little. Jason is one of his buds, but way Eddie Haskell-ish. "Yes Mrs Cleaver. Why, I'm so fond of little Theodore." Of all this kid's friends, Jason is the most polite to me. The last time he was around the house, I admonished both him and the short greasy kid, "I know you're this kid's pot smoking buddies. But that's not allowed around here. I like you both but I'm keeping an eye on you." This kid, mine, or whatever, glared at me the whole time. Like he wished the both of us were dead all the while I was saying that. Jason, he said, "Oh no Mrs Cleaver. I get drug tested every week, and I'm moving to Oklahoma soon."
I find this odd. "They got drugs in Oklahoma too. You know that?"
"Yes, Mrs Cleaver."
So this kid, mine or whatever, he's still sitting on the couch. I've got the groceries put away and am holding a cold pac on his hand. "What were you fighting with Jason for?"
This kid slumps further down. He's got fuzz on his upper lip. His eyes always look shadowed. Not in an unhealthy way, like brown eye shadow, alfalfa colored eyes peeking out. Some nature's grace-note only she understands. Young people must be attractive, all in different ways. "He took my Ipod."
"I don't want to talk about it." This is followed by tantrums, screaming, his father on the phone resulting in his throwing it across the kitchen counter.
"What? He just randomly took your Ipod?"
"He's a fucking idiot. I don't wanna talk about it." He storms off to his room, trailing clouds of teenage angst and anger.
Why would Eddie Haskell take his Ipod. Could it be that he thinks this kid, mine, whatever, took something of his? That's when I get to thinking about the glass bong I found in this kid, mine, or whatever's room a few weeks ago. The one I smashed against the backyard wall. "That wasn't even MINE!" He said.
Today, at the doctors, then at the x-ray clinic. He missed school entirely. It was "early release." He would have gotten out at 11:00 anyway. His hand wasn't broken. I knew it wasn't. No discoloration. Not all that much swelling.
At the end of the day, there was probably a little more to it than just a broken bong. Eddie Haskell probably called me a bitch or something. Who knows? Maybe this kid, mine, whatever, just lost it for whatever reason teenagers do. They're all hormones, all the time. Hormones, angst, and in this particular case, a little THC. Eddie Haskell? He moved to Oklahoma today. They say God made Oklahoma, but I've heard rumors He probably had nothing to do with it at all.