I’m so tired. I want to go back to the days when I was young enough to know everything – when everything was right or wrong and there were no blurred lines. There was nothing that didn’t fit into one box or another. It was so easy knowing it all, or to put it more accurately, being in a state of blissful ignorance.
My son has been on the run for just under a week, sleeping rough and hiding from the police. On Monday he was jumped by C.I.D. In the High Street, but somehow managed to convince them that they’d made a mistake, and he was Mark, my grandson. That’s how persuasive he is.
Paul said he would give himself up on Monday, but but when Monday came there was something he had to do, so he decided to defer his arrest until yesterday, which was Tuesday. But yesterday the thing that had to be done didn’t happen, so he convinced himself he’d give himself up today. I knew he wouldn’t have the courage – he’s just keep putting it off until he was either arrested or accidentally killed himself.
A couple of days ago he jumped/fell in the river Taw and had a lot of trouble wading out of the notoriously sticky mud. It was the second time it had happened in a few days, and it frightened him.He turned up last night because he was hungry – he was in a bad way, covered in cuts and bruises from running and hiding. Every day of freedom was putting him in more danger, physically and mentally, so I let him stay the night. I wanted him to have a decent sleep before I sent for the police to pick him up.
Yes, that’s right – I shopped him to the police. They’ve been searching for him in every nook and cranny since last Friday, and yet it took them three hours to arrive at my home this morning. I rang them, and after waiting an interminable time for them I called them back and gave them a telling-off. I told them he may wake up and leave at any moment, but they took a further hour to arrive.
Have you ever waited in a one-bedroom flat for the police to come and take your son back to prison? Have you ever tried to shut yourself in your bedroom for that length of time; feeling guilty, your stomach churning; unable to even read a book, because the words don’t make sense; waiting for the moment when you have to go into the living room and wake your son to tell him the police are in your hall, and they’re going to take him away?
As of this morning, I have, and I hope I never need to do it again, but I’m pretty sure it was the right thing to do.
©Jane Paterson Basil