An example of why I avoid conflict
I dont like conflict. It takes me to a dangerous place. I’m coming down from that place right now.
There’s a kid in the neighborhood—well call him J. He came over a few days ago when everybody was here playing XBox, and we invited him in, too. He had fun, and it was all good. Except there was a little something between him and one of the girls—call her R. R said J “touches her on the bus”. I don’t know exactly what kind of touching was involved, and J denies it. So who do I believe? Well, at the time, it didn’t matter, but it sets the stage for…
A few days later, another boy, who’s a good friend of my son—call him D—comes to the door looking for R, who was over playing with my son and a couple of other kids. Yeah, pretty much all the kids come hang out over here. Anyway, D says he needs to talk to R, so she goes out and talks to him, then let’s me know she’s going with D for a few minutes. When she comes back, she tells me J and two others had been playing with a lighter.
Earlier in the day, a neighbor had come over to tell me he had found burnt paper blowing around that was still warm. He took pictures. I don’t know if he reported it, but it made R’s story very significant. R had also previously said that J had made some remarks at school about not wanting to be friends with my son, just using him for his XBox.
So, fine, this kid is no longer welcome in my house. That was maybe a week ago? I don’t keep track of the days too well.
Anyway, today he comes to our door. R’s little brother and two other kids were here with my son. (R was at home.) He looks in and says, “Oh, everybody’s here…” fishing for an invitation to come in.
So, here comes the conflict. I confront him about what R said. He kind of slips up, though. I said I heard he had been starting fires over by the pool area, and he says, “No, I was at home with a friend Thursday.” Now, I don’t even remember if this was a Thursday that all this happened, but that’s not the best way to deny something, dude. We had more back and forth, but he couldn’t give me a good reason why I should believe him and not R. He said he didn’t do it, “swear to God”. I ask him again why I should believe him instead of R, and he says, “Hold on, I’ll be back.” I figure he’s going to R’s house to bring her over so we can hash out the truth.
I kind of want to believe the kid, because he’s a person of color, and he’s going to have enough old white men hating on him for no good reason in his life. I’m trying to make sure that the white story about you black city boys doesn’t prejudice me against him. I ecognize that it’s there in my head, and I need to counterbalance it.
While he’s gone, I ask the other kids here about him. I ask, “Who should I believe, J or R?” And there is a resounding chorus about how he’s always lying about things. I made a comment about not having time for this shit, then had to apologize to the kids for saying “shit” in front of them. Letting profanity slip in front of the kids is a sign I’m getting near the Danger Zone.
So, he comes back, a little winded. Without R. And tells me, “Okay I searched all around the pool and didn’t find any fires.” Well, duh. Not today. WTF? And rather than engage in any more nonsense, I tell him he needs to get away from my door, because I’m getting pissed. And when he leaves, I again have to apologize to the kids.
So, I’ve been writing this to keep me occupied while I calm down. Because that put me seriously on edge. I hate the feeling I had. I don’t even know how to put it into words. But it’s the kind of feeling you get when you think someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, combined with territorialness and protectiveness of one’s child. I suppose one step short of blind, insane rage would encapsulate it.
Seriously, don’t mess with my child. Don’t be a threat to him in any way, shape or form, whether emotionally (making him think you’re a friend when just using him) or starting fires that might burn down someone’s house, possibly ours.
And don’t lie to me. Or if you do at least be skilled enough at it that I never find out. I was raised by an alcoholic who was disconnected enough from reality that she believed her own lies. I’ve had enough lies for a lifetime.
I’m calmed down now, but I do wish that I had a button I could push that would just reset my emotions after the threat is gone. I get scared that it’s going to stick to me, like depression does, and not pass for days or weeks. And ain’t nobody got time for that.