The terrible twos, they tell you, are the worst years. Yet still some others beg to differ, and claim that no, three is the worst year ever. I’m beginning to realize that every age, is hard.
Late this morning I walked into the police station, and sat on the cold hard chairs rehearsing my story. Its not so much a story, as it is the truth. But rehearsing is needed when it comes to situations like these. Situations that combine fears, and kids, and cops all in one. I needed something solid to lean back on, and thus the rehearsing began.
He’s 16. Stands a few inches shorter than me. He has brown hair, brown eyes. And I’m sorry I don’t remember what he was wearing, because I have failed at this whole parenting thing. I didn’t take his picture that morning on the off chance he decided not to come home. I didn’t memorize him as I drove by. I glanced to the side, made a mental note that he was at the bus stop, and continued on my way. Like I do every morning.
I took the other one to school, ran through the mental to do list for the day, and pulled into work a few minutes later than usual thanks to traffic that can hardly be called traffic. And a few hours later my phone rang. I don’t usually answer it, but yesterday I did. “Dylan is absent again today.” the caller stated. “Do you want to give a reason or stop in later today….” she trailed off while I mentally flipped through what had happened. I sighed, told her I would get back to her, and, assuming he had decided to play hooky, went home to confront him.
Except he wasn’t there.
And he hasn’t been there since.
I spent the day knocking on doors, driving up and down the same roads, over and over hoping that by some small miracle – he would be there, and I could drive him nuts with the questions. Where were you? What were you thinking? Why did you leave? I continued to drive until the darkness gave way, and even then I stalked any random figure I saw walking down the street.
While he hasn’t ever been in trouble with the law, he has teetered on the edge of self harm more than once, and come dangerously close, too close, before. The worry in the pit of my stomach grows, and hardens. I waffle between intense anger, and nothing. Because at this point, nothing seems to make sense. And the things that do make sense, my mind simply refuses to entertain.
The questions they ask, I assume are routine, but cant help but shift nervously in my chair, wondering. Fearing. Are they assuming? Are they just going to mark him down as another lost case? Will they really do their best? Try their hardest? Are they just shaking their heads at the irony that I couldn’t see? The stats that continue to play out? Are they considering CPS? Should I run?
“Would he contact you if he were in trouble?” they ask again. And because I have no honest answer, and because I swore I wouldn’t lie to a uniformed officer, I shake my head. I don’t know.
I really, don’t know.
It’s the only honest answer I have for anything.
I just. Don’t. Know.