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Monday morning was a killer for both of us as neither of us seemed to be morning people. The blood work and x-rays weren’t too bad. He didn’t complain too much, but I wasn’t sure if that was because he was being brave or he was half asleep.
We were at Scott’s office door by 8:30 and his receptionist was just arriving at the same time and let us in. Scott was already there and waiting for us.
“Hi Al, I’m surprised your eyes are open at this time in the morning. Hi sport, you sure look a lot better than the last time I saw you.”
By now Scott had walked up to us and he smiled at Sean and said, “Oh my goodness, you have 2 blue eyes. I couldn’t tell what colour your right eye was on Friday night.”
Sean relaxed a bit and moved away from my hip which he had been clinging to since we had entered the office.
Scott was great with kids, and he put his arm around Sean’s shoulder and led him into the examining room while he talked to him about the weekend’s NHL games.
The appointment with Scott took about a half hour. When Sean and he came out of the examining room, Sean seemed to be Ok, and didn’t look like the exam was a big stressor to him. I knew it was probably because Scott kept him distracted by talking to him the whole time about sports and other topics he would be interested in.
“Don’t tell your Pop what I said about the Leafs Sean, Ok. That’s our little secret,” Sean smiled, and made his way into the waiting room.
While he was getting his coat on Scott motioned me to come into the examining room and we had a brief chat. Scott said that the blood work he took on Friday night showed some slight anemia. He suggested that I get a multivitamin for him, which I said I already did and that I had started him on it Saturday. He also said that there was some blood in his urine that he was a little concerned about, even though the x-ray didn’t show anything. He said he would call me later in the day when he got a chance and fill me in on more detail.
Scott called to Sean, “Remember Sean, mum’s the word about the Leafs.”
Sean smiled and promised he wouldn’t divulge the secret and said goodbye then led the way out the door.
We went to a restaurant called Cora’s that specialized in breakfast. They had some nutritional choices that other restaurants didn’t offer. We both ordered the hungry man’s breakfast, with lots of fresh fruit. I knew I couldn’t finish it, but I was sure that my bottomless pit could, and I was right.
We went home and the pain killer that he was still on started to catch up to him, and he went upstairs to lie down. That gave me a chance to make some calls. The first call was to the local school that Sean would attend when he was ready. The principal was Gord Caudle. Gord and I knew each other fairly well from a couple of projects that we worked on together.
I explained the situation with Sean, and that I was going to home school him for a few weeks and try to get him into a regular classroom after the March break. Gord thought that was a good plan, and in the meantime I asked if he could get some of the books that Sean would need so I could tutor him. I suggested with the math and literacy books that we get the ones from Grade 6 and 7, as well as the Grade 8 level which was his current grade. I wasn’t sure where he really was, given the atrocious attendance records I observed in his CAS file. I told him I would be around that afternoon while Sean was in with Dr. Barnet.
The next call was to Katharine. She updated me on the situation with Sean’s mother and Maury.
“Apparently Mr. Greeves didn’t have a good time in jail over the weekend. Some of the other prisoners beat him up because they found out he had sexually assaulted a kid. I’m not sure how they found out about that, and I don’t know why he wasn’t segregated like they usually do with pedophiles,” Katharine said.
“Hmm…yes that is strange,” I said.
She could tell by my reaction that I knew something I wasn’t telling her. “You didn’t have anything to do with this did you uncle Alan?” After a pause when I didn’t answer she said, “I don’t want to know.”
She also filled me in on the mother’s status. She was in a detox centre, as she was strung out and addicted to Cocaine.
“The termination of parental rights will now be a slam dunk. That’s the good news; the not so good news is my boss isn’t too happy about Sean being placed with you because of your age. We are fine for the next 90 days, but after that things may not be so smooth sailing.”
“Katharine, that may not be a problem, as I’m still not sure that this is going to be in his best interest. I’m really torn with making this commitment long term. I’m quite willing to get him over this hump and get him going in the right direction, and I certainly want to remain in his life in some capacity. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.”
I was surprised by her reaction when she said, “Whatever you say Uncle Alan….whatever you say.” as she chuckled.
She suggested I get in touch with my childhood friend who was a prominent lawyer in the major city about an hour away. Ray Mueller and I still kept in touch, golfing and skiing together a few times a year. He had been a lawyer with a 7 figure income and had just retired.
“Bringing in the big guns when the time comes will help you overcome my boss’ little obstacle,” She said.
‘Am I talking to the wall, or am I losing my communication skills. Didn’t she hear me say I wasn’t sure about the long term?’ I gave up and said, “Goodbye Katharine.”
Sean and I finished lunch, and were getting ready to go to Dr. Barnet’s when he asked, “Do I really gotta go to see this doctor. Can’t I just skip this?”
“Sean, you owe it to yourself to confront your problems. Dr. Barnet will help you with that. He’s a really nice guy, and he helps kids like you all the time, some with bigger issues than yours.”
“How do you know I don’t have big issues too?” he said with indignation in his voice.
“Just trust me Sean. Give it a chance.”
Phil Barnet was a short overweight guy in his 60’s. He was very good natured, and looked like a kind grandfatherly type. He looked a little like Danny DeVito, but he was a lot softer spoken than him. He did however have a good sense of humour, and loved to tease. He was also known for his ability to work magic with some very troubled youth. He was also another of my golf partners at the club that I played with frequently throughout the season.
“Hello Al. I hope you are going to golf school at the club this winter. I don’t want to have to take too much money from you next season. So this must be Sean,” he said as he turned to Sean and shook his hand. “So has Mr. Burger got you brainwashed yet about that awful hockey team of his?” he said as he laughed.
“Let’s go into my office Sean so we don’t have to listen to him whine about how they lost on the weekend again.” Phil put his hand on Sean’s back and directed him to his office while he kept up his trash talking.
I made my trip to the school to pick up the books and resources then arrived back at Phil’s office a couple of minutes before Sean and he came out into the waiting room. Phil had his arm around Sean, and it didn’t look like Sean was too happy.
Phil was still chatting to him and finally said, “I’m sure my receptionist has some candy in that jar on the counter that you might like. Why don’t you take a look, while I talk to your pop for a few minutes?”
We sat down and he filled me in on the session. He told me that Sean related to him that he had been sexually abused on one occasion by Greeves. As far as Phil knew that was the only time it happened. It involved anal intercourse and Sean was devastated that it happened. Last Wednesday Greeves tried again when Sean’s mother was out of the house, but he was able to fight him off before Greeves went crazy.
He told me to have as much ‘tactile interaction’ with Sean as I could. “Phil, why don’t you just say give him lots of hugs? Come back down to earth here, you’re not delivering a workshop presentation,” I said as I chuckled.
He smiled, and went on. He said that Sean needed some structure in his life, as he hadn’t had much to this point. Also, he told me that he needed good male role models, as he really hadn’t had any.
“He needs to know that he’s wanted, as his self esteem is pretty low at this point.”
I related what Katharine said about the mother stopping the assault the other day because she was concerned about the welfare stipend not about Sean. I also told him we agreed that we wouldn’t tell Sean about that.
Phil angrily said, “He already knows that Al. His mother used to tell him about that all the time. That’s one of the sources of his low self esteem.”
He calmed down and went on, “You need to be patient with him as he’s still in a state of mild shock. Give him as much positive feedback as you can, but make sure you are sincere. I think he’s fairly intelligent, from what I can see, and he would see through you if you were patronizing him.”
He continued, “I should also tell you that he is very attached to you, which doesn’t surprise me. I can’t think of a better person to be looking after him. Keep doing what you are doing… except stop brainwashing the kid about the Leafs,” he said as he laughed.
Just then the door opened and his receptionist was frantic as she told us Sean bolted out the door without his coat on and took off. She told us they tried to stop him but he was out the door before they knew it.
I got up, ran into the waiting room, grabbed my coat and darted through the front door of the building. I got onto the sidewalk, and looked up the street and saw him a block away. Thank goodness his ankle was still sore or he would have been out of sight.
I lived in a sleepy little town so there wasn’t anyone on the street, as I ran after him. When I got into hearing range I called out, “Please stop Sean. Stop and let’s talk. Nothing is that bad that you need to run away.”
Finally I got closer to him and I could see he was slowing down. I was pretty sure it wasn’t because he was running out of breath, but because he was having second thoughts about what he was doing.
I grabbed his arm with a firm grip and said, “You shouldn’t make an old man run so hard. You might give me a heart attack. It’s a little cold out here, why don’t we go back to Dr. Barnet’s office and we can talk?"
I tried to gently turn him around and direct him back to Phil’s office but he didn’t budge. “What’s wrong, Sean? It’s pop, you can tell me.”
He looked down at the sidewalk and whimpered, “I knew you wouldn’t want me when Dr. Barnet told you about the stuff I did. I was just saving you the hassle of getting rid of me.”
I put my arms around him and hugged him and said, “What you said couldn’t be further from the truth young man. I have no intention of letting you slip out of my life…and that’s a promise.”
By now Phil had caught up with us and was huffing and puffing, “I think you might need your coat young man, it’s a little cold out here. I guess you must have forgotten it since you were in such a hurry to get away from me,” he said as he smiled at Sean. “I didn’t think I was that nasty, I was on my good behaviour today.”
I got the coat on him and we turned to walk back to the office with my arm around his shoulder. I wasn’t taking any more chances on him changing his mind and trying to take off. Phil turned to us when we got to the front door of the building and said, “Why don’t I see you next week Sean, same time. I’ll promise not to be so nasty next week. Now you two go to the Dairy Queen on the way home and get a couple of Blizzards. That’s my prescription for today.”
Sean looked at Phil and me and gave a weak smile.
We did as Phil said, and got Blizzards at the Dairy Queen. That was quite ironic, as it was snowing like crazy, and 5 centimetres (2 inches) of snow had accumulated in the hour we had spent at Dr. Barnet’s. We got home and sat down in the kitchen at the Breakfast counter and worked away at the calorie laden treat.
Sean seemed to have recovered his spirits a little, as he was certainly enjoying his snack. We finished up and I suggested we move to the couch in the living room, as I told him we needed to talk.
I pulled him into my side with my arm around his shoulder and said, “Sean, I know that you are devastated by what that creep did to you, but that’s not going to change the way I feel about you. What happened to you was beyond your control, and you did nothing wrong. Adults shouldn’t have sex with kids.”
He turned and looked at me and paused as he was trying to find the words he wanted to say. Finally he said, “I thought you would think I was dirty, that I was just a boy slut. I thought you’d throw me out when you found out.”
He buried his head in my chest and started to sob. I started to think about the words he just said, and I found the phrases odd for a young boy to have said. Finally I said, “Did someone tell you those things you just said to me Sean?”
“That’s what my mom told me. She said I wasn’t good for anything but screwing and her welfare cheque.”
I hugged him tighter as I got very angry at what I just heard. ‘I bet I can add misuse of welfare funds to the mother’s charges if I get a private detective to do some digging.’ I knew exactly who to call, and after we were finished here Katharine would be my first call and the second would be to the private detective.
We stayed like that for about 10 minutes, and I suggested I needed to get going on making supper, as I was sure he was getting hungry. Since the snow was coming down hard and the driving looked treacherous, I suggested I BBQ some strip loin steaks I had in the freezer rather than going shopping at the food store. That met with a firm nod of approval from Sean.
After supper, Sean went down to the media room and watched the show Two and Half Men and some other shows that were not my cup of tea. While he was doing that I made my calls.
Katharine thanked me for the tidbit about what Sean’s mother said, and I told her I’d be getting a private detective to dig up what I could about her misuse of her welfare funds. Judging from what I had seen it was obvious she wasn’t providing for Sean’s needs.
The call to the detective was quite productive, as he said he had a lot of experience with this type of investigation, and a lot of success.
I had just hung up when a call came in. I could see on the call display that it was Scott.
“Hey Burgs (my nickname), not playing hockey tonight?”
“Nope, nobody called looking for a 60 year old goalie,” I chuckled. “Before I tell you about Sean’s appointment with Phil why don’t you tell me what you discovered today?”
He told me that Sean was in fairly good physical shape despite what he had been through. There were no breaks, so the ribs were bruised and the ankle was a bad sprain. The cheek was also just bruised and there was no damage to the right eye. He was a little concerned about the slight anemia, and some blood that had appeared in his urine sample. He wanted to have him back next Monday and have a fresh round of blood work done. He also said that his testosterone levels were on the low side of normal, and that he was just starting puberty. His weight and height (5’ 1”, 85 lbs) were on the low side but at this point he wasn’t concerned. He also told me he was certain from the rectal exam he did on Sean that someone had had anal intercourse with him. He didn’t think that it had occurred too many times though.
“Is his appetite Ok?” Scott asked.
“I’m giving him the nickname ‘hoover’. He’s going to eat me out of house and home!” I said as I laughed.
He asked if I needed a refill on the pain killer, and I said that he was managing with just Tylenol, so that wouldn’t be necessary.
I filled him in on the events after the appointment with Dr. Barnet, and what Phil related to me that he had been violated by Greeves on one occasion. I told him Phil’s comments about being patient and boosting up his self esteem and that he was in a state of mild shock.
“You should book some more sessions with Phil until he thinks Sean is out of the woods.”
I told him we were booked in to see Dr. Barnet again next Monday afternoon and that we would see him Monday morning after we do the blood work.
Sean came up some time later and said he was tired and was going to get ready for bed. I told him to call me when he was ready.
He called me up and I sat on the side of the bed. “Are you feeling better now sport?”
He nodded his head yes and said, “I’m Ok, I don’t hurt that much no more. My ankle is the worst, but it only hurts when I walk on it a lot….or when I’m trying to run away,” he said with a smile.
“I sort of meant your mental state. Are you feeling better now that you know I’m not going to bail on you young fellow?”
He thought about that for a few seconds and finally said,” I’m Ok now. I guess I’m just not used to someone like you.”
“Listen Sean, whatever happened to you is in the past. I won’t ever ask you about any of the details, because I don’t want to know unless you want me to. That’s your private business. It doesn’t make any difference to how I feel about you. I want you to know that whatever is bothering you I want you to talk to me. That’s part of growing up.”
I got up and tucked him in, and leaned down and kissed his forehead.
“I love you young man. Sleep tight.”
“I love you too, Pop.”
‘My goodness, that decision I have to make at at the end of the 90 days is going to be a tough one. ’