“My dad is a jerk.”
On the weekend I took Beetle and her friend – a roly-poly, moon-faced little boy I’ll call Weevil – out to the beach. We don’t exactly have a beach here, but we have a lake in which, for about four months out of every year, you can paddle. The other eight months, it will kill fully grown boar hounds at ten paces.
I have to say that Weevil is my kind of kid. Whereas Beetle, sweet as she is, is kind of monosyllabic, Weevil is extremely chatty and has the imagination of a natural liar. As a verbal person (and liar) myself, I warm to that.
On the way to the beach, Weevil pointed out to Beetle at least three alien space ships, and explained that we’d better not stop in the pine forests we were passing because he knew for a fact that the Slender Man lived there and would chop us up into bits.
He said that his back yard was full of ghosts, which he’d often seen out his window at night, and that next year he was planning to buy a hologram camera, create a hologram of a pterodactyl, and ride it to school.
He suggested that the headless horseman was a bit of a traffic hazard at night, so we’d better not be late home. When I suggested that the headless horseman had a tendency to get lost, due to not having any eyes, he laughed, and explained that he’d teamed up with an evil pumpkin who provided the vision while the headless one provided the transport.
Both kids had a good time, but on the way back home, Weevil became visibly anxious. When I asked him what was the matter, he said that he was afraid that his dad might be drunk when he got back. He was scared of his dad, when drunk. Matter of factly, he told me that his dad was ‘a jerk’ – a direct quote from mum, I’d say. When we drove up to the house, he wouldn’t go in until we’d listened for signs of ‘loud music’ – which apparently meant his dad would be downing the tinnies.
Made me think, when kids have to cope with trouble at home, they come up with various ways and means. Beetle’s way involves turning inwards, silence. Weevil’s way is to immerse himself in a fantasy world.
An African friend once told me that in his village, children choose their parents. If they don’t like the ones they were born with, they gravitate to adults they like better, with the consent of both parties. I think Weevil and I would probably gravitate. He fantasises (about aliens). I fantasise (about being published). He chatters. I blog. We both like telling horror stories.
Have you ever been drawn to a kid that wasn’t yours?