I like this, this feeling of a post-dinner conversation, with the table still littered with the remains of the good meal and the dogs snoozing comfortably on the bench, glad to be in and out of the frosty night. I like my sixteen year old son telling me about his life. I like the casual nature that good food brings, the aftermath of nutrition. It's as if everything regurgitates and empties itself back onto the table in words. Words come out of my son's mouth without periods or commas or exclamation marks. They flow in a long stream into my ear and my mind and I give them back, deciphered and slightly edited. I do not proof-read my response but instead contribute my experience.
My son is confused as to why a boy in his year is having a party on Saturday night and has not invited him. He tells me that this boy has been victimised for several years, has been the brunt of severe bullying, castrated for his unremarkable looks. This challenges my son because, well because, he has always come to the rescue of the boy. He has denied any union of attack on said individual. He has spoken up when the onslaught was imminent and yet, here he sits before me in a quandary as to how the bullies are on the top of the list. What do I tell him? Well, so is the challenge of parenting.
I tell him that he knows why. Can he tell me why, I ask. He tells me in his unexpurgated version. It is true. The victim needs the bullies. The victim does not need my son. The victim needs to prove to the bullies that he is worthy and therefore intends to invite all the bullies to his house so that they can destroy victims house. Maybe they will cover his face in penises and stick his head down the toilet as they have done at school.
We talk for a long time. I read my freedom blog to him to try to clarify what I mean about going against the tide. He listens intently. I watch him, his eyes, his sensitive brand new eyes as they slowly travel away from me and from where I sit, I can see this fantastic young man who will not stay in this country, who, will, like his older brother, travel off to a place where freedom is not only a choice but an obligation. And I settle into that thought with comfort because otherwise I would not even be able to breathe. And if I could not breathe I would die from the sheer confusion of it all.