Sunday, February 10, 2013
On his head was a black and white checked driving cap, from which his uncut curls were trying to escape. He was carrying his guitar, and a backpack that I'd never seen. When he reached the table I where I was sitting, I could tell he hadn't showered for a while.
"Hey Joshua. How are you?"
He pulled a chair from beneath the table and placed his only belongings on the ground. He sat down and looked at me. I could tell he wasn't sure what to say, where to begin.
"What's going on son? You look troubled."
"I was attacked by three guys a couple of days ago. They tried to mug me but I fought them off. I threw the first one to the ground and they ran away. I sprained my thumb, but I'm ok."
I glanced down and his hand and thumb were wrapped in an ace bandage. Under his fingernails was dirt, on his face there were cuts.
"I threw them off and got my stuff back. Last week my other back pack was stolen. It had my phone, my papers and the laptop I bought in it. A few days ago my bike was stolen."
"Joshua, where did you get a computer? You can use the ones at the center and at the library for free."
He came up with some reasoning, known only to him, that he bought it so he could find a job. I knew better than to tell him what he already knew, that there are plenty of computers freely available for use in downtown Portland, that he shouldn't have purchased one, that he should have saved his money.
I couldn't help but look at my son and notice he looked beaten down, frustrated and alone. I think the appeal of life on his own, with no rules to follow, on the streets of downtown Portland was wearing thin and that he had come face to face with the big, bad world. He didn't ask to come home, but I sensed it was on his mind, as it was on mine.
I had to remind myself of the potential danger he posed to the rest of the family, especially with him refusing to take his medication. It was more than difficult to look at the child we raised and protected that was now sleeping in shelters downtown and carrying his belongings around in a back pack.
He said he was enrolled at the community college, was looking for a job and was working with his case manager. I knew he believed what he told me, but I also knew that it probably wasn't reality.
Reality is that I have a son that can't come home due to his rage and refusal to work with the family. I have a son that isn't processing his situation rationally. I have a son that needs help, but isn't willing accept it. The reality is that we, as a family, are in a situation we never thought we'd be in and we have no idea what to do. Now that our son is an "adult," no one will talk to me, no one will let me help. The reality is that we have a son and there is no way for us to reach him, and the reality is that there may never be.