Leaning back in the chair, heart rapidly banging against my chest, breath fast and small, hands sweating, I was constantly checking the huge round wall clock infront of me. It has been more than an hour since I’ve stepped in this police station, they told me I could meet Eric in a while, not sure what in a while exactly is. How bad could it be this time? Was he okay? Could I take him home with me? Lost in my thoughts, suddenly I heard the mediocre blue door open, the officer infront of me addressed me to follow him. My heart still racing like a horse, I saw glimpse of my 18 years old ahead, in a small cabinet type cabin, the officer was taking me to. The corridor had dim lights, it was 1:20am and my son was in jail. The realization was eating me alive. Finally another blue door, with a glass fame on the top that stretched to the middle where I stole a glimpse of my baby boy, opened, my heart sank, he was looking down, hair messed up clothes torn and dirty and hand cuffed. He looked up and met my eyes, his glossy eyes reflecting the same terror as mine. Instantly I forgot we were with an officer in a police station, I rushed towards him, and took him in my embrace. He stiffened in my hair, “Sorry, Mom.”
I tried to compose my self, “I’m here baby, it’s okay”
The officer put a hand on my shoulder,”Ma’am, please sit back we have some discussions to do.” By his tone, I could tell he was sorry but also upright, like something bad happened.
I shook my head and took a chair besides Eric who looked a little relived since the first time I walked in, but still tired and frightened.
What you need to know about my boy is that he is a 5’10 basketball superstar at school, with brown hair, chocolate eyes and tan skin. He has been a good kid, with excellent grades and great friends but the past couple of months have been quite hard on us. I wouldn’t like to talk about it, just know that we lost his father in a shooting accident downtown, we three were all we had, now it’s just the two of us. Ever since Nick, Ericson has been losing focus, his grades went down, he started hanging out late with friends, missed practice and got detention twice. He is trying, I know that, so am I but he’s still so young. One time the guys he was hanging out with were driving so fast that they hit a mail box on a private property, there were no injuries but he was charged a challan, another time he was caught with people who were on drugs, but was released when his drug tests were negative and the last time, he got into a fight with some street boys no police that time but he was hurt. I wonder what it is this time.
The officer cleared his throat to get my attention, he sat infront of us and took a file out. He opened it up and began, “Eric Nick Bateman, 18 years-two months, study in Northern California High-school, thrice basketball champion in middle school and once in high-school, got detention twice last month..” I tried to cut him off, but he stopped me with a modest yet pointed look “..charged with violation of private property two weeks back and got caught with drug addicts but found clean. Is all this information true Mr Eric? ”
My boy nodded and spoke as light as a whisper “Yes, officer.”
The office closed the file, looked at me, “Mrs Maria Bateman your son nearly got himself killed in a fight out side a club house today. Around 11:37 pm, there were three boys against him..”
I cut him off and looked at Eric, “Three against you? Alone? ”
“I’m fine, Mom” he breath out.
“No, you’re not Eric” the officer said emphasising on ‘No’.
I looked at him,”The boys were hurt but Eric hurt his right leg, seriously. We got it plastered. ”
I closed my eyes, we aren’t wealthiest of people, after Nick it’s been a little hard too, I have to work two jobs. Eric and I talked about it, if his grades and STAT’s weren’t good enough he could work on getting a sports scholarship though basketball, but now..
“Mom, I can explain, plus it’s not that bad” Eric pledged.
My eyes stared watering, ignoring Ericsson I asked, “What else, officer?”
“We could release him if he would talk about what happened but he has made up his mind that he wants to stay, he begged not to call you, but that’s not how it works, you know Mrs Bateman.”
I shifted to my son, “Why?”
Just this one word was enough for his tears to break down. “..I..”
“Why, Ericson?” I asked again.
He took a deep breath, “I didn’t want to come home mom. Home is not home anymore, it reminds me of him.”
I was silent. I couldn’t move.
“I’m sorry, I should have had listened to you, I was so frustrated, the boys at school said I should go to this party with them, so I thought I needed a break, I just got there and it happened.”
I was silent again.
He said,”Say something mom, please..”
I didn’t look up.
“What happened?” I finally spoke looking away from him.
“What happened, Ericsson” I said sharply.
He took a deep breath.
“I can’t tell you.”
I couldn’t take it. Enough was enough already!
“If you don’t, you’ll have to stay in jail, this record would be filed in your CV, Collage application, job application, everything will have it attached..why don’t you understand.”
“..Mom, I.. I, .. Because ”
He was quite..
“Officer just said, you can go home if you give your statement about what happened” I looked at the officer and he nodded
“That’s correct, Eric talk to us”
He inhale a deep sharp breath, the longest breath ever I guess. Exhaled and looked at me. He waited for what felt like forever, but finally began.
“You remember, Julie?”
I started to browse my head.. Julie, Julie.. ” Julie Watson? ”
“Yes, Her.” he said and then silence.
“What about Julie, your chemistry lab partner, Eric?”
Silence. I could see though him, he was fighting an internal battle, he was in pain.
Taking a deep breath, I said softly,
“Eric, please baby, please tell us the truth. I’m so tried, I want my boy home, we can figure it out. I know we can, I know I can’t ever bring your Dad back, but we can try to move on.. together, I’ve got your back, honey. But I need you to have mines too, and right now I need it, I need you to tell me.”
Instantly something flashed though his eyes, the decision was made.
” She was being raped, Mom.” I looked at him dumbfound, maybe I heard the wrong thing. But he didn’t change the statement.
“I couldn’t let that happen, not because she’s my friend, because she’s a girl and a human, before the three bastards could.. could..hurt her, I kicked their ass as hard as I could, they were three but not as builded as me, I scared them enough to back off Julie, but the fight was loud, I don’t remember much, how we went out from the club to the street and how they broke my leg, what I know was, they were hurting someone and I needed it to stop, I just got carried away you know.. I couldn’t tell, him..” he looked at the officer those eyes reflected shock and compassion “or you.. About a girl being.. Her reputation could be plagued, she was so afraid, so sacred..I.. you know how high-school is.. I don’t know.. Mom, I just..” before he could say another word I hugged my boy so hard, that I’m sure he was out of air. He hugged me back with cuffed hands.” I’m so proud of you baby, so so proud, so is your father.”
“You don’t deserve my mess mom”
“Its okay, we’ll make it work, you and me again against world.”
And after months we cried, legit cried our heart out, letting out all the bottled up emotions together.
By 2:03am Eric and I got home. We didn’t got back as the tired fed-up mom and lost, unfocused son who were depressed and defeated, we came back, strong, determined, some what healed. We came back as different people, our paradigm shifted.
I knew from then onwards things would be better.
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