I was out for a walk this morning and decided to go through the city’s wealthiest neighbourhood. I saw a very sad sight. There were two police cars there and a third was arriving on the scene. A well dressed woman was standing at the end of the driveway but there didn’t appear to have been a traffic accident or anything. And then I noticed something else. The police had a young boy – maybe 16 or 17 – handcuffed with his hands behind his back.
I will never forget the look on that kid’s face. It wasn’t fear, it was pain. His face looked like tragedy of the comedy/tragedy masks. He was trying very hard not to cry.
I wanted to go over but with now six policemen there I didn’t think there was any point.
The kid looked so incredulous and in so much pain that I wondered if the woman was his mother and she was throwing him out of the house. He was also well dressed and there was that look of disbelief. I moved along because I didn’t want to appear to be a voyeur but I thought about it a lot as I walked back home. My son’s adoptive parents threw him out of the house when he was about that age. In fact, he was still in that state when I found him. That’s probably why this scene had such an impact on me.
It also made me think of something else that happened this week. I was at an award ceremony and one of the writers who was receiving an award made it clear in his acceptance speech that he was a success in spite of, not because of, his father. Now this guy was getting an award for his body of work so he was no kid. Perhaps in his early or mid-fifties. And yet he still felt compelled to give the finger to the old man in a mighty public way. The wounds of childhood and adolescence run deep.
How important it is to tell our children that we believe in them.
I’ll be thinking about him for a while – that boy in the handcuffs at the end of a laneway in one of Canada’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.
I hope he is OK.