A Resolution…I Guess
The sheriff calls and the camera was found when Daisy searched Terrell’s room. He says to go on by their house on my way home from work to pick it up. He says the boy was on probation and has violated probation as a result of trespassing, breaking and entering, and theft. I remind him I hadn’t formally decided to press charges or go ahead with anything. He tells me that the foster parents are turning him in, as is their right as his legal guardians, and that Terrell has a court date in Raleigh in two weeks.
All night long I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to believe that he was the one who was in my house and yet, if it wasn’t him, who could it be? The thought of it being a creepy stranger from who knows where on the mountain was even worse than the thought of it being the boy down the driveway. And on and on my brain circled. By sunrise, I was exhausted but pulled myself out of bed to work, of all days, a double shift at the coffeehouse.
So when I turned into Daisy’s driveway and she walked out to greet me the first thing she said was: “You’ve got to remember, these are therapeutic kids.”
My first thought is: Remember? Remember what? How? She never told me anything about these kids. Is it just supposed to be protocol that I profile them and assume they’re bad? How naïve am I? How terribly optimistic? Or how terribly pessimistic must I be in order to “survive” or “be smart” by society’s standards?
Of course, I don’t say any of this.
She hands me the camera. “Is this yours?”
“Yes,” I say. Then, “The Sheriff told me that Terrell was sent away to Raleigh already, is that true?”
“No, he’s here. This might just get him locked up but he’s here. He has a court date in two weeks.”
“Is he in his room?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says.
“Well…Can I see him? I mean, doesn’t he have something to say to me?”
She nods, steps back inside and shuts the door behind her, leaving me standing in the rain.
Terrell comes out and looks at me. “I’m sorry I took your camera,” he says.
“I’m sorry this happened,” I say. “I need to know that I you’re never going to go up there again. And that you’re not going to go into that house…And I need to know that I am safe up there. Does that make sense?” I say. I’m totally even-keel and have no idea what I’m saying. I’m just saying what comes out of my mouth and I’m not angry. Effectively, I’m at a loss.
“Yes. Ok,” he says.
There is a long silence. Daisy turns to let him back into the house.
“Wait,” I say. “Terrell. Did you read that book I gave you?” I smile at him.
“Yeah,” he says, and he looks into my eyes.
“What did you think?”
“I didn’t like it as much as The Outsiders,” he says. “But it was ok, yeah, it was alright.”
“Goodnight,” I say.
He turns to walk back inside. Daisy stays outside with me. “Now I want you to know that you don’t have to worry about Shawn. He’s fine, I can trust him. Terrell, well, I can hardly trust him but he’s scared now. He’s this close to going into the slammer and he’s a wussy. The only reason the courts have made so many allowances for him is because he watched his mother get beaten to death.”
“Oh,” I say.
“And he has always said he’d never hit a woman so I want you to know that,” she says. “And that’s one thing he’s not lying about. For sure.”
“Of course,” I say. Then: “Daisy…I’d like to forgive him. I want to say ‘I forgive you.’ Can I say that to him?”
She nods, turns back inside, calls for Terrell.
I look him in the eye and wish I had the right words, but this is all I know to do. Am I a fool? Too forgiving? Just setting myself up to get ripped off again? I don’t care. If there’s any kind of world that has to be so fear driven that we can’t even forgive each other then I don’t want to live in that world. And so I sigh, and say with the fullness of my heart: “Terrell, I want you to know that I forgive you. I don’t understand why you did what you did, but I believe you when you say it won’t happen again.”
He remains completely expressionless and doesn’t have anything to say, either. I shake Daisy’s hand and take my leave, back, back into the rainy night, up the mountain, and to my desk.