Pulling Together


18 months

I write this 18 months to the hour after I last saw R. Then he was my step-son, and I had spent many hours alone with him over the previous 10 months. In that time I had come to know him better and appreciate his many good and often underestimated qualities. He was determined, and if thwarted that could become stubbornness, but he was also a wise listener to advice and good at looking after himself if given enough information to assess risks. In fact, I learned information and delegation were often the best ways to help him and build trust.

I need not dwell now on the circumstances which led to him leaving the household or ceasing to be my step-son. I have no right to see him because I was never his legal guardian, but I do miss him badly. No day passes without thinking about him and wondering how he is. Apparently he is still around locally. A local shopkeeper told me she’d seen him walk past with a carer only a week or two ago, and that he is now much bigger. How I would like to see him again and ask him how he is. I believe he could answer if he wanted to do so.

People assure me he will remember me. I hope so, but I have no idea. I would like him to know he is not forgotten. Perhaps one day he will read this and be comforted. I do hope he will learn to read. I hope someone will spot his abilities and give him the encouragement he needs, for so many do not do so.

I will never forget his look of consternation that Wednesday in September 2022 when his father came unexpectedly to collect him. It was the first any of us knew of his reckoning of the days of the week. His father never collected him on a Wednesday, only on Thursdays or Fridays, and it was obvious he knew it was not one of those. He looked confused and anxious, whereas he would usually be excited to see his father. It was obvious he realised something was seriously amiss. In a few seconds he was gone, and I never saw him again. I thought it was just for a few days, to get us past the weekend until things calmed down and it was safe for him to return, for I didn’t think he was safe as things were that week, but it was to last around six months until his mother could be found a house and I was no longer part of the arrangement.

I have memories of a child who was difficult to manage, mainly, I suspect, because he was not allowed to develop as he could, but could show signs of his seven years of experience when given the opportunity and not frustrated by micro-management. He’ll be nine in a few weeks and I hope he’s been allowed to move on. He has so much potential, at least, he did when I knew him.

I still worry about his circumstances and just hope he is looked after well. He is no longer my responsibility but I still worry about him. Things were so bad when I first met him and were still bad when I last saw him. I just hope somehow they’re better now.

That’s all I can do now. Maybe one day he’ll be able to come and see me, if he remembers who I am. 18 months! Well, well, there we are.

About the Author

K J Petrie has a Full Technological Certificate in Radio, TV and Electronics, an HNC in Digital Electronics and a BA(Hons) in Theological Studies.

His interests include Christian and societal unity, Diverse Diversity, and freedoms from want, from fear, of speech, and of association. He is a member of the Social Democratic Party.

The views expressed here are entirely personal and unconnected with any body to which he belongs.

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