Friday, February 03, 2017

The Greaving Mother

The Greaving Mother
by Rob Cottignies

            This is a bizarre story. Many of my friends don't even know about it but I assure you it's real. I wish I was clever enough to make something like this up. Also, I did not change names to protect anyone.

            My friend and I were destroying robots, running from dinosaurs, and battling each other. It was the coolest gaming system around.
            My father interrupted the fantasy worlds by calling and telling me to "Come home NOW". Then he hung up. He was clearly angry but what could a good 12-year-old have done to make that so?
            My friend obviously asked why I was leaving.
            "I don't know."
            I really didn't.
            As soon as I got home, I desperately asked what was going on but was told it would wait until my mother got there. So I sat, confused, in the living room with my furious dad. Seconds, minutes, hours. The whole time I was wondering what I'd done. No alcohol, no drugs, no girls, no bad grades. I just sat there, without the faintest of clues but frightened to ask why again.
            My mom arrived and they stood above me as I sat on the couch. Intimidating. One of them firmly said, "Is there anything you'd like to tell us?" I could think of nothing so I remained speechless.
            "Mrs. Greaves stopped by a little while ago. Why do you think she would do that?"
            Mrs. Greaves was the mother of twins my age- Brian and Paul. They were notorious in town for consistently acting fragile during elementary school sports. In soccer, the slightest touch would send either one of them flying and crying, which prompted the mom to run onto the field screaming at the ref, the coaches, the kids, anyone. After a while of this (and not realizing the kids were certainly not to blame), everyone started viciously hitting the boys. If chaos and a penalty would ensue regardless, why not earn it?
            Back at my house, I had no idea why Mrs. Greaves would stop by. I wasn't friends with the boys and our parents had never met before.
            Once more, "Is there anything you'd like to tell us?"
            I still had nothing to express but confused rage so I demanded to know what was going on.
            Mrs. Greaves had brought Paul with her and there were finger marks on his neck. He had clearly been choked. And I was accused of doing it. I did not and told my parents as much. To my frustration, they didn't believe me. Why would they? Sure, I was their son but an upset mother had more clout than an adolescent.
            So I was grounded indefinitely and sent to my room while they sorted out the details. I was so scared that I wondered how I could have strangled someone then forgotten about it. It was the only thing that made sense. Obviously I did it. His mother was crying, there were marks on his neck, and they both accused me. But I didn't remember doing it! And it would've just happened!!!
            After another indeterminate amount of time, my parents came in. They gave me one last chance: I was in trouble regardless but if I confessed instead of them finding out later, my punishment would be less-severe. I'd taken that road a few times in my youth but not this time; there was no way I choked this kid. I said as much and probably because I'd been so honest in the past, I could tell they believed me, at least a little bit. Plus I likely seemed shaken and nervous instead of defiant.
            The night went on and I was asked a few more times, though more-casually. They were angry, I felt helpless, and everybody was confused.
            The next day, my parents took me to school to meet with the principal. They explained what happened and I explained what didn't happen. Surprisingly, she did not seem alarmed. Situations like this had happened before with the twins and their mother. The principal had a thick folder of accusations and investigations. Most of them went nowhere or were deemed false.
            There was no proof but we all determined that Mrs. Greaves herself had choked Paul then blamed it on me, who had no issues with Paul but instead some opposition with Brian, which was known. Her fatal flaw was picking the wrong kid. Regardless, a grown woman strangled her own son then blamed it on a 6th-grader without any apparent motive.
            The whole thing made no sense but it was the only theory that did make sense.
            My parents profusely apologized to me but I understood their predicament. Though a stranger, Mrs. Greaves had a strong case and I was twelve- naturally wired to cause mischief and deny it to save myself.
            Two more years went by without incident until the twins went for schooling elsewhere. I've heard they're doing alright now so I guess the crazy old witch didn't affect them as negatively as predicted. I wonder if Paul remembers this story or if it just got archived along with other unimaginable lunacy.

            My point here is that you should trust yourself in every situation like I did but weigh the facts like my parents did because you just never know what people will do. Oh yeah, and don't strangle your kids. Unless they deserve it.

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