Little Boy Lost

This article was actually my post in The Daily Irish News last Friday. The situation is still haunting me so I'm choosing to also post it here.

I have started to write this piece about 100 times over the course of the past 7 days. These are the first actual words I’ve been able to type, so here goes.

I don’t read my local newspaper, if you can even call it a newspaper, it doesn’t warrant the cost. Local news is mostly full of old men’s club guff and the world news is virtually non-existent. So I usually get wind of anything out of the ordinary locally from my gossipy neighbor, my son or I get belted with it in the face by the TV news.

Last Thursday morning I got belted and it stung, a lot. They ran a very brief report on a drive-by shooting in Marlow, a town just north of Keene. Mind you this is still Keene, NH and while Manchester & Nashua have gang related things of this nature we do not.

Seems someone fired four shots from a moving car at a house. It was early evening and there were three people at home at the time. Two of the four bullets entered the house. One made it across the house and came to rest in the side of the fridge and another was found in the bedpost of one of the beds.

Thankfully no one was hurt.

The news brief stated that they had someone in custody. That was all. No name, no age, nothing but I already knew who it was.

I kept within earshot of the TV all day but each time the information they gave was the same and so I waited.

My son came home and we did our usual routine. He brings in the mail and we go through it and talk about his day. Sometimes I start the conversation, mostly I do actually, but today he led with; “Pat sealed his fate.”

Sometimes I hate being right and this was one of them.

Pat is a friend of The Boy Wonder and has been for the past two years. This is a kid who has spent a lot of time in my house and with the one thing that keeps me tethered to this earth, my son. He is also the first of my son’s friends that I wanted to not be his friend.

Pat is a year older though you wouldn’t know it to look at him. He’s about 5’4” and weighs maybe 90 pounds wet. He had jet-black hair cut asymmetrically that came down in shards across the right side of his face. I say had because he recently shaved his head. He would usually be wearing red or green plaid skinny pants that had an abundance of zippers; buckles and hardware that served no real purpose, funky short military style plaid jackets, black tee shirts and his arms were weighted down with leather straps full of metal studs.

But that isn’t what worried me. I loved his style - it suited him completely. I admired that he had such a great sense of himself and the balls to embrace it here in this little Podunk town full of old New England wasps.
What bothered me was a couple of the other kids that Pat sometimes hung with. Kids The Boy Wonder wanted no part of because they were in your face trouble. I also knew that Pat did drugs and drank when he was with these other kids. I know it’s what kids do, but not my kid for as long as I can help it.

I didn’t stop The Boy Wonder from hanging with Pat because he separated himself from Pat when the other kids were involved and Pat was okay with that. He would come in and out of lives and he was a good normal kid when he was here. It was like he wanted the normalcy. The Boy Wonder said Pat would really talk to him during those times and that’s why The Boy Wonder let him in and out.

Those times when he was hanging with his other friends he would end up getting caught and in trouble of some sort. There were a couple of school expulsions in the spring last year.

Pat isn’t a bad kid. When you look into his eyes, there is mischief but not evil intent. That’s why I let him in and out.

Pat hasn’t been around since sometime this past summer.

Back in October, he was arrested. He was driving his friends around and they were shooting BB’s out the windows at cars and buildings. He eventually lost his license due to repeated vehicular violations.

He hasn’t been around since then and The Boy Wonder hasn’t spoken about him but last Thursday I still knew it was Pat.

They announced in school that a senior had been arrested in connection with the shooting on Thursday. They didn’t give a name but The Boy Wonder knew it was Pat. A couple quick phone calls confirmed it for him.

I asked where Pat would’ve gotten a handgun. The Boy Wonder said when Pat wanted something he’d do whatever he had to in order to get it. Scary.

Scarier still, he had brought the gun to school with him. That’s how they finally caught him. Kids finally stepped forward and started talking. Meanwhile he was in school with a handgun for how long?

By Friday they had more details on the news and there was Pat’s mug shot and name on the screen even though he’s only 17 his prior arrests have stripped him of his minor rights and protections. He still doesn’t look evil. He looks lost. I wish I could say he looked scared but he didn’t. Just lost. They had narrowed the motive down to three choices; grudge against the current residents, grudge against the former residents or random incident.

The Boy Wonder has his money on random. “It’s how he does things like this Mom. Randomly.”

And he’s right. Pat would be going a long in a “normal” phase and suddenly he would snap and go all self-destructive and angry.

What surprised me in all of this was how angry I became. Not at Pat. I want 5 minutes with his mother. His mother, the lawyer, who got him off easy in prior instances. Who manipulated the school to drop the expulsions and take him back. Put him back into the same school as my son and he was carrying a handgun instead of books.

His mother who ignored his ever-increasing cries for help and attention and put band-aids on his gaping wounds and shoved him back out the door and pretended that everything was okay.

I had tried to get close to him when he was around and while he was never rude or disrespectful he kept his distance and me out.

I still don’t believe that he’s a bad kid. I think that this is just another symptom of whatever is eating this kid from the inside out and that makes me sad all over again.

But it also makes me so very thankful that I stay up in The Boy Wonder’s business and still supply the boundaries in which he moves. Those boundaries are as wide as the trust and communication is between us. There are plenty of years ahead of him that he’ll have to rely on his own senses. For now it’s still my job.

©2006 Dawn Marie Kelly, all rights reserved.

I know my posts have been a bit darker and bleak lately and frankly, it's getting tiresome for me too. Let's all look forward to a more Angel-esque post for Thursday!
posted by Angel @ 12:21 PM |


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