Friday, June 20, 2014

Entering From Stage Left, May I Introduce...

Through out Thomas' teen years he managed to "collect" an eclectic group of friends. They range from his very best friend Patrick who is an all-around good kid and cares a great deal about Thomas and is respectful and kind about Thomas' illness and accompanying quirks. Then there are Zac and T-Mac who come from good Christian homes who are smart kids with bright futures and there is Jon...Hmmm...what can I say about him. He's a good friend to Thomas but he's very immature so when Thomas is around him his maturity age drops from 19 to about 12. And then there is Cole. Today I want to introduce you to Cole. First, though, let me give you a history.

Cole is a sullen kid with long blonde hair who walks around with his head down. He's over weight and kind of a loner. To his credit he has always been polite and respectful to me and my house and he's always willing to have a conversation with me. Plus, my dog likes him which, to me, is a good measure of whether or not someone has a good spirit. I know, that sounds crazy but I have always trusted my animals to tell me if someone is a bad person. What my dog doesn't pick up on is the darkness that I know about Cole and the places he and Thomas go together in their minds and in their "goals" for the future.

Cole comes from a broken family that is in chaos and Cole's dad seems to be a real jerk to his son and to everyone who gets in his way. Cole's dad also collects guns. Lots of them and he leaves them in the home, out in the open, unlocked, with bullets laying on the floor. Supposedly he sells the guns at gun shows but his arsenal (and it is an arsenal) are readily accessible to Cole and by extension Thomas when he is at Cole's house. This fact has always scared me to death. I have had many talks with Thomas about not touching those guns and asking him to please stay away from the house. I have since found out that not only has Thomas been at that house but he has held and played with a gun or two. Kids will be kids right? I mean, you can't control everything about them without turning into a nutcase yourself.

Now, when it became obvious to me that Thomas might be beginning to show signs of schizophrenia I began to keep a closer eye on the two boys. At times Cole would show up at our house in full camouflage regalia complete with patches that I didn't understand what they symbolized. I looked them up and found their meaning, I stalked his Facebook and learned about what he was involved in and ultimately I called the school because I didn't like what this kid was involved in and what those patches on his camouflage meant and I thought the administration should know about him. You see, Thomas had told me in his senior year of high school that Cole was extremely angry with the school administrators for various and mostly unfounded reasons. Notifying the school seemed like my duty. What the school told me is that they already had their eye on Cole for a while and they were very cryptic but ominous about why that might be.

By Thomas' senior year Thomas was quite sick now. He'd been hospitalized twice, was stressed to the max about school work and was becoming increasingly angry at the administration and one teacher in particular. Like a train barreling down the tracks towards me and me unable to step from the tracks, I began to put two and two together and I began to worry that together, Cole and Thomas, with their growing anger and that arsenal of guns available to them, could be planning the unthinkable. I knew my boy was a good kid but with Cole he had become someone different altogether and had (I found out later) mixed his existing delusions into Cole's plans for the world. You see, Cole was a Nazi sympathizer with mixed up government and cultural ideologies contained in an unguided, unchecked brain. He was poison of the worst kind and Thomas called this kid "friend".

As a parent I did what I could to help Thomas, to talk to the school, to inform Thomas' doctors and then was left to stand back and wait for God knows what. Then Thomas got very sick and ended up in his third hospitalization and graduated high school shortly after that and for reasons I don't know, he and Cole parted ways. That was just over a year ago. Until the day before yesterday.

Needless to say, Cole is back in Thomas' life now. I allowed the kids to stay here at my house yesterday because sending Thomas to the "gun house" was a thought I would not entertain. Everything went well and by 3 Thomas and I were sitting in his therapy and his therapist was commenting on how "animated" Thomas was. It was true. The kid sitting there beside me was a young man seemingly reborn from a deep, dark sleep. He was alert, observant and talkative. He was not my Thomas and I couldn't help but draw a dark, looming conclusion as to why he was like that. My guess? It's because his good friend Cole is back in his life. Dark, seemingly dangerous, sullen, withdrawn Cole is back and my greatest fear is what he brings with him to fill Thomas' already delusional mind with.

So, entering from stage left, after over a year, may I introduce you to Cole. To me, by far, the most dangerous and toxic kid I have ever known in all of Thomas' years of "collected" friends. I am scared to death but don't know what to do. My best solution is to allow the kids to be here in my house, away from the guns and in rooms that I can peek in on at any given time. I can't forbid Thomas from seeing him because they'll connect elsewhere. At least here I have some control over possible outcomes.

However, I am a very worried mom right now.

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