When I moved to this Deanwood neighborhood 7 years ago, there weren't may children to play with. As the kids became acclimated with the school and neighbors, kids came from every where. In typical fashion, I haven't agreed with some of their friendships and made significant effort to sever them. Some kids carry a substantial burden with them, having been exposed to situations I'd be unsure how to handle even as an adult.
My son has a motley crew of colorful friends: the big headed mulatto, the ever present snotty nose, the really pretty smart girl and the thug in training. Interactions with these children have mostly been pleasant though I know a couple of em are always up to something.
Snotty Nose has always made me uneasy. He's been friends with my son for about a year or so. He doesn't strike me as a bad child, just...sad. He walks with his head down (which doesn't help with a runny nose!) and I always seem him by himself. He doesn't smile often. He comes outside very early and has a tendency to stay out late. He's never disrectful but I've always been under the impression he's running from something.
Fast forward to this evening.
My son came home late. Of course I asked him where he was. He told me. I went into some "be home on time, can't stay out late, you're punished" speech and sent him to do chores while I finished cooking dinner. About 15 minutes later Snotty Nose knocked on the door to speak to my son. Finding that strange, I told him to send this child home. Apparently, he's late going home...and he's afraid to return.
This child has been lingering around my house like an alley cat for the past three hours. I've called his parents to let them know where he is. I even tried to put him on the phone with this father. He ran down the alley instead.
When he was discovered hiding under the balcony, the kids brought him inside. I spoke to him to ask why he won't go home. Shifting from left to right, not making eye contact, he states "I don't want to get a whoopin." My insticnt was to tell him "Then stop doin shit to get whooped.", but somehow it just didn't seem appropriate. The sadness in his eyes said enough for me.
This child is genuinely afraid to go home and I really dont know what to do about this. I told him he has to go home eventually; he might as well get it over with. What I'm sending him home to is what I'm most concerned about.
I've decided to write a letter to his teacher (who is also my son's teacher) asking for her and the school's assistance to help this family. Something isn't right in that household. I'm hoping the school has the resources to help him with the secret he's obviously hiding.
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