I don't know what compelled me to go here tonight. The charges were dropped. 10 days of maximum security later. It was just two boys, two best friends, fighting over a bicycle they built together. There were no black eyes, no broken knuckles. They were laughing before Jonah ate the mud. Before he had foot prints on the place your kidneys live. The officer was dismissed two years later. It made the papers. Something about manhandling women. On routine stops.
June 12, 2002
Jonah has a cold and has busied himself indoors all day, Nicholas joins him in the late afternoon and when he telephones me to check in, it's raining and I can hear the ga-boom, klink, zip of a computer game in the background. They are two lazy boys in the afternoon. The sun peeks out and he calls me at the office to let me know they are going "riding", pre-teenage verbage for cruising, roaming the neighborhood on two wheels, hanging. It's a Wednesday and Shiloh has left the office early, it's just me, and for some reason I have lead feet this week. I e-mailed Aunt Rachel that I was "blue, as Nana would say. The drizzling rain and 5:00 traffic didn't change that heavy feeling. I came home and Holly was wrapped up on the couch, lounging, beautiful, watching re-runs from her nest. Johnah hadn't checked in, but not to worry, it was early. I putzed around. Finally kicking off my shoes and socks (Pre-Menopausal, my feet are always hot anymore). She beckoned me closer..."Mom, FRIENDS is on, come on and watch it with me". I think in my few short months of watching TV, I had already seen this re-run and commented so, but settled in nonetheless, quietly comfortable, next to my gifted, talented, finally resting, child.
I think HE knocked on the door. I don't remember. Maybe we have a doorbell. I don't remember looking out the window behind me, but I must have, because I went flying out the kitchen door. (It's not our nature to open the front door, STRANGERS go to that door.) I remember not much of the conversation, except the words "Your son has been arrested for strong armed robbery" and seeing, somehow, through the rain, a pile of black metal at the officer's feet. My son's bicylcle, his gleaming white helmet. My first response was of relief, thank God, Jonah had not been hit by an automible, was not being helicoptered away, was alive. And then seconds later, disbelief. Shock. And then movement. Sound. From the front sidewalk, I was bellowing for Holly to bring me my shoes, and she did, and then bellowing louder for my socks (why i don't know) and then finally my purse. I was digging frantically through the debris that had collected in the old leather bag for money. i would need money. A checkbook. An I.D., cash, perhaps.
I was pacing, Up and down the rock driveway. The officer kept babbling. "Your son should be out playing football". The "victim" wasn't hurt badly. The "victim" called 911. Something about Jonahs rims. He wanted them back. He handed me two business cards. You can call the officers anytime; they will call you back. He wrote down a phone number.
They were taking my son away. He had been arrested. I later found out he had been thrown to the ground and handcuffed. I later found out a lot of things.
It is now five nights later. The rain continues to fall from the heavens, weeping steadily. Side by side Mother Nature and I sob uncontrollably, intermitttently, pausing occasionally to take a deep breath, regain our strength. Only to begin again. The sunshine fools us. Or makes fools of us.
I ache from my toes to the bleached, split, tangled ends of my hair. And yet it is not enough. On Friday, I mowed down the rock drive-way, daring the pebbles to pounce from the blades, fly by and pummel my legs. I plugged in the electric weed-eater and whiled and trimmed and edged like a maniac - taunting the wind and the rain and the mighty bolts of electricity to search me out by some giant magnetic force and strike me dead standing there. I would defy it. I would survive even that. I had to and I would prove it. My body oozed from every pore. Sweat. Tears. Pungent rain. I glared at the street. I waited. I begged and pleaded with the skies. I wished on stars. I prayed. I crossed my fingers. I whispered. I gasped. I SCREAMED. I turned the radio on and when I heard 30 year old lyrics... "Paronia strikes then. Stop, people, what's that sound? Everybody look what's goin' 'round!", I cranked up the radio so loud, I could not have heard the world end.
My child has not been tried for these charges, and yet he has been sentenced. My miracle child that I breathed life into one frantic breath at a time, has been snatched from my arms, my home, our lives. He has been kidnapped by the sytem and held hostage. Like my Father before me...I read, I know, I fear.
On Saturday, Joe made a cross for Oliver's grave. A big primitive cross. For my tiny little, precious Oliver, 4 pounds at 6 months. The angel of orphaned kitties. I spent hours and hours and hours painting dots, and swirls and tiny hearts over the entire cross. And then I painted over the dots and swirls and tiny hearts. Again and again and again. I painted Oliver's name ornately and then shadowed it and outlined and painted it again. Ang again. On Sunday when JP brought me home from visiting Jonah, I asked him to mount the cross to a spike so I could place it in the garden, suspended in the air above the grave. I didn't want the wood to rot. He did as I asked and then reproached me for erecting such a big cross. "It's a mighty big cross". I remembered an old man that used to walk the streets when I was a teenager, traveling miles and miles and miles, often in circles, toting a giant wooden cross. "He's a bum" everyone said. "He toted a mighty big cross" I thought to myself.
It's quiet here now. Our tiny house, piled full with still four cats, Holly and myself, is void of any sound except the clickety clatter of this keyboard. I have begged God many times for "peace and quiet". I thought I was so tired. I thought life was too hectic. I thought I was too frazzled and worn out. I was wrong.
I was resting and didn't know it.