Baffling is the father who declares his undying love for his son to every stranger, but neglects to mention how he lost custody and refuses to seek treatment or change. He blames the system that conspires to separate his family and sets his jaw with grim determination in his crusade to right the wrongs done to his clan by others.
He would give anything, including his right hand, to bring his boy home. He explains this to the judge when asked what he has been doing to rehabilitate over the past few months.
“That’s not what I asked,” the judge says.
The baffling father clarifies, “I would climb Mt. Everest or swim in shark infested waters if that would prove my dedication to bringing my boy home.”
The judge shakes his head with sadness. Frustration left him years ago for a level of acceptance just before apathy. He has seen this case before and will see it again many times before he retires and takes up deep sea fishing in Florida. Sometimes the thought of riding in a boat over the open sea, smelling the salty, fresh air and feeling the spray of warm water and sun on his face is the only thing that gets him from one moment to the next.
“A boy’s place is home with his parents.”
The judge wants to laugh as he scans the room for the boy’s mother, already knowing that she is not to be found. The baffling father is alone in his battle with the state while his partner is out on streets, engaged in a fight of her own and losing on a daily basis to her demons.
These are the same demons that plague the baffling father and the same ones that brought him to this place, alone in a room full of people.
In just a few minutes, the judge sets a date for the next hearing, straightens out a stack of papers and prepares for the next case. He has heard more than enough.
Pleased with the power of his convincing speech, the baffling father discreetly slips out back to the parking lot where a man wearing dark sunglasses waits inside of a blue pick-up truck with tinted windows. The baffling father walks around to the passenger side and hops into the vehicle. An efficient transaction takes place; few words are needed for their business.
He returns inside after all of the morning cases are completed to pick up his paperwork from the clerk, his eyes are glossy and his pupils have taken on a black-hole like appearance, massive and destructive.
Wanda, the clerk, purses her lips as she stamps and staples his papers.
Baffling father excitedly exclaims, “I am so close to getting my son back, I can feel it in the air.”
In truth, he is feeling the benefit of air conditioning on a hot day and the rush of whatever just travelled up his nose or into a vein. Apparently, the combination can feel like the false hope of a man in denial about the reunification process.
Fragile are the hearts and minds held together with a wad of pink bubble gum.