Continued from yesterday.
Two months since his transport and now a visitor? Who the hell could be visiting him at YDC? Luke entered the large, rectangular room furnished with steel tables and chairs that were solidly attached to the floor. It had no wall decorations and no floor coverings that could have softened the polished cement. The man with his back towards him turned around. “I’ll be damned! The group home guy!”
“Hey Luke, how’s things? Thought I’d see how you are; you bored in here?” He handed over the three candy bars and a pack of smokes.
“Hey, sweet! Thanks man.” He sat down at the table. “Cool to see som’un from the ol’ town. How’s everybody bin, all still there at the home? I’m sorry man, didn’t mean
t’ jump the van, but had to get away. Here they cleaned me up and I’m on meds now; lots of guys ‘re on somethin’ here. Cool place, not too bad, the doctor likes me. When do I get t’see my lawyer? When’s court?”
Darren told him the details; they discussed Luke’s anticipated day of return to the home, possibly in another month, and his conditions of release. They continued to chat for another half-hour.
Luke talked about the earlier years with his mom and how he used to hide underneath the porch when his step dad beat up on his mom. Darren knew that two younger siblings were already elsewhere in another province, taken from his mom a few years back. Luke was not to be found at that time. Luke told Darren he preferred to stay with his mom; she needed his protection. Darren felt for him: Luke looked like a pre-pubescent eleven year-old.
“Found my mom’s stash under her bed years ago and just took bits of it. She never got on to me. I’d go to my cabin when she and ‘im were at it. A bit o’ heat would’ of bin nice in winter, but summer’s OK. Sometimes just left and hid in the bush, or slept under the bridge ‘til the coast was clear.”
“When did you first start taking your mom’s pot, Luke?”
“Musta been in grade four; my teacher bugged me ‘bout having no lunch. Just stopped goin’. My mom didn’t mind. Police said I have history of truent or whatever.
“Do you know if she still’s with him?”
“Yes, don’t know what she sees in’m. He must’a given her as much shit as she likes; she’s always fucked-up.” Darren knew that Luke’s mom and step dad were known dealers and really didn’t want Luke around, even had collaborated in his placement in the group home–for his own good. He did not mention it, torn between protecting and confronting.
“I had a brother your age,” Darren told Luke. “ I would like to stay your worker when you come back, is that OK with you? “
“Sure. I like you, ‘cause you’re the only one ever bothered visiting me. Send me some more of those bars and cigarettes.”
“Will do. See you soon back at the house”.
To be continued tomorrow.
johanna van zanten
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