My friend’s 13-year-old troubled child is here at the house.
To tell you the truth…I don’t find him very troubling. Why? Because I was just like him when I was his age.
Difficult, intransigent, argumentative, addict manque.
Though our home situations are very different I began feeling a deep regret for how I had treated my mother and brothers. Without doubt the genesis of my anger toward them had some basis.
Seeing him treat his parents so appallingly, confound them, fight them…distresses me and everyone who witnesses it. He demands money with menace, internet privileges and rides to see other equally troubled, weed smoking teens.
It has been a particularly hard week for my friends. Interrupting a drug deal he was making with a pair of 16 year olds in a car, a deal funded by money he had stolen from his mother, he attacked his Cambridge educated father and literally ripped the shirt off his back.
Until that moment his father had been his great ally and protector. Until he saw what the rest of us had seen for some time…that there was nothing his own child wouldn’t do to get what he wanted.
The violence toward his parents is shocking to witness but he tends to behave properly when I am around because, rightly, he is scared of me. I refuse to co-sign his bullshit. I am bigger and potentially twice as violent and, of course, he knows that I will not acquiesce.
He steals anything he can lay his hands on and lies about it.
The last time I was at the house he stole $20 from me. I just demanded it back and he handed it over. When caught he tends to walk into a weird cloud of denial. Glazed, fearful.
After he attacked his father the police came and cuffed him. They wanted to take him to juvenile hall but his parents balked at the last moment.
It is only a matter of time before he ends up in very serious trouble.
I was sent to boarding school so my parents could live a normal life. It suited me to be away from the house. It suited them to get on with their normal, family life.
The problem seems to be that this kid has no passion for anything other than money. He isn’t, as I was, sketching imaginary couture collections, writing plays or poring over houses I would one day build.
His stated aim: the acquisition of money. He will do anything he can to get hold of it. He doesn’t have anything particular he wants to spend it on. He just craves hard cash.
Ultimately he will leave home and make his own mistakes…in his own time, on his own dime…but for now he tortures his parents and sisters with tantrums, violence and vile words.
When things get really bad at the house his desperate mother calls me and I sleep over.
Calm is restored. Last night we made tea and dipped strawberries in chocolate.
I know, of course, how things will end up for him: jails, institutions and death.
It is the way of the addict. We are all similarly destined until we take those imperative steps toward sanity and abstinence.