October 27, 2008

Abject Terror

The morning schedule is pretty set & usually follows like this... Julie gets up at a bit before six, I get up at six thirty, Patrick gets up between six and six thirty. Julie leaves at about the same time I get up. Then I get ready and mill around. Most days James is asleep and I have to wake him up at about seven thirty to get him ready for school, he has to be there by eight, so we usually leave for school between seven thirty and seven forty five...

This morning James was awake when I got up, I went in the front room to dig for clothes in the "laundry chair" Patrick was watching tv and James was watching cartoons on the computer while eating microwave biscuits.. James asked me if I was going to take a shower, answering in the affirmative, I headed on.. I was in the bathroom when I heard Patrick tell James goodbye and head out to catch the bus.. I then followed my standard routine and when I was finished with the shower and drying my hair I headed to the bedroom to get dressed. That went normally and I ended as always, sitting on the edge of the bed, putting on my shoes and thinking of the schedule before me for the morning.

I came out of the bedroom to find the computer off, the tv off, the stereo off, (the sound for the tv is run through the stereo since James washed the tv with about half a bottle of Windex & the volume doesn't work) I saw no sign of James, no big deal... he sometimes goes into Patrick's room to watch cartoons & lay on his bed.. so I called for him as I began digging for clothes for him to wear... no answer.. after I got the clothes together and had been calling for him I headed back to Patrick's room & he wasn't there.. then I looked into James room, he wasn't there, I began calling for him, just under panic volume, I walked to the bathroom, our room, he wasn't there, I went back to the bathroom between his room & Patrick's room, he wasn't there, I went outside to look & he wasn't there, sometimes he will go outside to pee if I'm in the bathroom.. now panic began to set in.. I started yelling in earnest for him and began to run from room to room turning over things and looking in hidey holes, no James, no answer, I looked behind all the doors, under the beds, in the shower... no James..

I picked up the phone and began dialing 911 as I kept calling for him, our phone is pretty jacked up from constant dog chewing and you have to keep dialing over & over for it to finally work - repeating the pattern, dial tone ...911...wait..dial tone 911 wait... over & over, the entire time I'm yelling inside & out, flitting from room to room, with visions of him being held in the back of a van, tortured, molested, murdered, lost in the woods, freezing in a creek after a fall, I'm inside, I'm outside, yelling... now screaming, "James, where are you buddy?!??!" I'm beginning to lose it. I can see cops asking questions, crawling all over the house, pointing fingers, I can see no sleep and sickness as I try to live not ever finding out where my son went, rage is mounting, fury - white like none Ive ever known, I'm ready to find who took him and kill them outright with my hands and teeth. I see Julie's face as she looks at me when she gets here.. I run inside, cursing the dogs and the phone, continuing to dial 911, then Julies work, then my moms, my brothers... I can hear nothing except blood rushing through my head and the constant throb of my heart beat, I feel pain in my chest and know I'm beginning to suffer a heart attack, I flash on Patrick & Julie alone, without James or me... I begin to toss furniture around to see if he may be behind something, my chair goes, I'm at a dead run with nothing in my mind except his face dead on a slab somewhere as I i.d. him.. I grabbed the edge of the couch and began to pull it away to see if he had gone back there... & there he is... hiding from me under the table next to the couch.. crouched down with his head in his hands... I stopped cold... he was looking at me with plain fear on his face, he knew he had gone too far. It was plainly written on his face that he was afraid. I sat down, or rather collapsed onto the floor.. I just sat there and stared at him, he stared at me. My rage was so complete and total that I was frozen and fixed, I couldn't move. No matter how I tried my body wouldn't allow it. I could only breathe heavily and look him in the eyes.. he was staring at me, afraid, knowing that he had done wrong. I finally got up and righted my chair, sat down and called him calmly over to begin getting him dressed. I told him in a stern voice, never getting loud, I was still to angry to even think straight, that he will never do that again, that when me or his mother called him, he was to answer immediately. His only reply was a meek "yes sir". I finally got him dressed and headed to the car. I put him in his seat, he never said a word, he just looked at me as if he was about to get the spanking of a lifetime. I stared straight ahead as I drove him to school, he never argued, never said anything. He followed my every direction. Where he would usually play and act like he was sleeping when it came time for him to get out of the car... He hopped out and stood dutifully by, waiting for me to remove his car seat.. and head for the door. He didn't talk, at this point he is usually a nonstop chatter box. He didn't make a sound as we walked down the hall to his classroom. I patted him on the head and told him to be good as I walked back to the office to pay the weeks tuition... drained, spent, exhausted, frazzled... and still so thankful he's alive and yet so angry that it merged itself into my very psyche... swallowed into the fiber of my being and rests now in a deep pit waiting to come out in the form of a stressed based panic attack or full blown cardiac scene, or roll out down my arm to throttle the first person unlucky enough to cross me today...


Eve said...

Wow! I could totally feel the myriad of emotions that you so truly felt. Man, I think he learned a very important lesson(s). Glad that he is still alive though. You should really write novels or something.

Anonymous said...

At least you can find comfort in knowing that he's mature enough to know he went too far and acted accordingly. If he could write, I wonder what range of motions he would tell us about. At first a little fun, then "Hey, let dad sweat it a bit.", then "Uh oh, I'm in trouble. I'll wait here till dad cools down.", then "Oh shit! I'm in real trouble! There's no way in hell I'm going out there. Dad's gonna beat my ass!", then just freezing out of his own abject terror.
That just had to be scary. I'm not a parent, but even I can imagine how terrifying it could be.

Lauren said...

There was one time, when I was babysitting him, that I thought Grandpa had an eye on him, and Grandpa thought I had an eye on him. He ended up having gone off with the dogs. He came stumbling after them when I called them to me. I didn't think of it until now, but red and oreo ran just slowly enough for a wobbly 2 year old to follow them close by.

I thought I was going to throw up and die all at the same time when I saw he wasn't near us.

Patrick said...

I wonder if I did anything like that when I was a kid?

Jules said...

No Patrick, you never wandered off. You were to busy trying to stay up my butt...you didn't ever wander far from me.
I remember that Lola...I felt the same.

LADY ROOTS said...

Idren Clay,

What a powerful way you have with words! I felt the mounting tension, felt my breath getting shallow and then felt my heart break for James. Fear can paralyze a child.

As an adult survivor of extreme child abuse, I applaud you for not using your rage as an excuse to lash out physically at James.

Yes, make him aware of his error, but thru it all, ensure James of your steadfast love for him.

Bless Up,
Lady Roots
ps I should be able to get the bracelet to you soon.

Junebug said...

Wow this was almost like when Laurie wrote what she did.Grandpa came into the house and said is the little guy in here?I felt myself go into panic mode as I was talking to Julie on the phone.I calmly told her I would call her back when we FOUND HIM.She said it'd better be quick.We called James and it was the sweetest thing to hear him giggle in the woods.God bless Oreo because that little dog who did not appreciate this little 2 year old pulling her tail or making her move from grandpa's side so HE could sit there never left his side.She was barking as he giggled as to say we are over here.
We know how you felt that morning Clay.It's a feeling we NEVER want again.
We will all be blessed when this little boy grows up.We will also be greatful if he doesn't give us a heart attack in the process.
I personally think he will never do this again to you.I can only imagine what was going on in his mind.He thought it was a prank.When he saw and felt your concern it was something else.