Unusual for me, I know.
People don't stay over at my place.
I haven't had anyone sleep on my couch since........
People visit, drink coffee, go away again.
Anyway, last night just on dusk, there was a knock on my door.
A young man I know rather well, with his own young son.
Can we come in? We need a few hours down time.
Yes, of course.
Clearly both were a little stressed. Maybe more than a little.
The home life is not ideal and recently things have escalated. (Drugs are involved)
To the point where two days ago, the young boy found a way to sneak out and run for help.
Running from neighbour to neighbour, desperately knocking on doors, until one let him in and called the police while the boy tried to calm down.
Well, the police spoke to him, calmed him down, then located the father who was at work.
He took the boy to a friends house to stay for that day while he went back to work.
After that the boy stayed with his dad, who wasn't at the family home anymore.
Last night, the father had to work some overtime hours and wanted his son in a safer place overnight, so came to me.
He had to work and didn't want the boy staying alone overnight. (He's only eleven and three quarters).
Couldn't leave him with any of his other friends, because the mother knows them all and would track him down.
What else could I do? I let him stay. He'd gotten away with nothing but what he was wearing and on the way to my place his dad bought him a few essentials which he was carrying in a plastic bag. Along with his I-pod, loaded with games to amuse himself with.
Dad went off to work, son settled himself on the couch.
We got to talking and I discovered that he had no toothbrush, only one pair of socks and his favourite thing to drink was iced coffee. Things that I didn't have handy.
Luckily Woolies is a short walk away so off we went and we bought him some stuff.
Back home again, I showed him how the shower works and as soon as he was cleaned up, I put his "runaway" clothes in the washer.
He'd already eaten, a huge "burger with the lot", (not from Macca's, a real meal with egg and salad), so I ate dinner while he inspected my dvd collection. We discovered that he is a huge Big Bang Theory fan so spent the rest of the night watching the entire first season before I started falling asleep in my chair.
We rearranged the couch cushions, (I offered him the bed, but he said the couch was fine), got him a couple of blankets, (thank goodness I hadn't sent all of them to Goodwill) and we slept until almost 8am.
I was up first, so quietly made a batch of pancakes and put some in the oven to keep warm for him, while I ate mine. I found out that he has never had maple syrup! Never!!
Today was the day I'd planned on going to the Plant and Craft Fair if the weather was fine. I looked out to see brilliant blue skies, so we washed up the pancake dishes, then set off.
I'd put the camera in my bag to take photos as I wandered around there, but in the end I didn't bother.
We wandered around stall after stall of plants which I couldn't buy, (no garden space), and many more stalls of homemade crafty things like toys, hats and scarves, quilted things, jams, sparkly trinkets, and ...joy of joys! two secondhand book stalls.
The boy spied a book on Egyptology and asked me if he could please have it. Well, of course he could. His dad had always had an interest in ancient Egypt, so did his uncle and I was pleased to see the boy was following their footsteps. And guess what? He plays basketball, just like his uncle did, both of them fans of Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal.
At the second book stall, I found a novel for myself, a murder mystery, then we wandered on home again as the flowering trees, (white cedars, very pretty and filled with bees), were making my cough more irritating.
I offered lunch, but we were both still pretty full from the pancakes, so we sat and chatted while we watched more of the Big Bang Theory, I showed him old photos of his dad as a baby and young boy, then we discovered the skateboarding photos. He loved them, he'd heard his dad speak of his skateboarding days, so I printed them off for him to keep. Plus a few of his uncle with the basketball and hoop in the backyard.
The dad picked him up after his overtime shift had finished about 1pm, (there was a big order that just had to be completed) and once they were gone, I suddenly realised that although the boy was pretty self-sufficient and I hadn't had to do much in the way of looking after, I was still pretty exhausted. Some of it mental exhaustion, I'd discussed the home situation with the dad and frankly I'm quite worried about what is going on there, and what will happen in the future. There is another, younger child there that needs to be rescued.
So as soon as they left here, I fell asleep on the couch, and didn't wake up until 7pm.
And here I am, alone again, still watching more episodes of The Big Bang Theory, (once I start I like to watch all the way through), and worrying about this family, going through so much right now, unable to do anything but be a safe haven when necessary.
Names have deliberately been omitted, anyone reading here who knows who I may be talking about, please do not mention names in comments. Not even initials.
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