Bernard was…a bit odd. I hadn’t noticed it before, but now that he was older it was really starting to shine through. For example, on day I was writing music in my bedroom when I could have sworn I heard him talking to someone.
He was getting really angry so I wanted to make sure he was alright.
When I got out there, he was completely alone. I thought he just had an imaginary friend, but he kept calling it ‘Grim.’ Grim…it was too eerie to ignore.
I had to bring up my concerns to his mother. She just had to do something for Bernard.
I repeated myself two or three times because of the lost look she had in her eyes, like she wasn’t even paying attention.
“He’s always talking to himself. In his room, in the kitchen, everywhere. When I ask him about it, he just shrugs and goes about his day. And…when I just listen in on the conversation, he calls…he calls what he’s talking to ‘Grim’.”
“He really needs help, Harriet. One of my friends knows a good child psychiatrist…”
“They might even be able to help get us a discount…”
“It’s your fault.” Uhm? “You’re always going out of your way to make life hard on us! With your…promiscuous ways. Don’t think people didn’t notice Mr. Goth’s car here. The whole town knows about that affair! You just can’t keep to yourself, can you?!”
“Harriet, this isn’t about me…”
“Don’t you cut me off. I’m his mother and I’ll decide what’s best for him. And I’ve decided that we’re going to move.” And that was the end of that. I figured there was no way she could go through with this move, she didn’t have near enough money. So I went to work.
When I got home that evening, they were both gone. The neighbor’s later told me she had an odd look on her face. She looked like she’d gone completely mad.
I can only imagine the new world Bernard would face, around her. I found their forwarding address, a home across town, but contact was certainly out of the question. She went so far as to take a restraining order out on me, because I called her house phone twice. It was maddening. But all I could do was sit back and wait.
I was angry. Furious. She put her image in front of her son’s sanity. Who did that sort of thing?
Still, what did I expect from the likes of her?
After a whole weekend of thinking things over, I realized that the best I could do was hope I’d instilled a good core in his life during the three and a half years he’d lived with me.
Which is where we come back to the great finale of this whole incident:
Gunther was still on the outs with his wife, so I offered to let him stay at my house again. This time for as long as he wanted.
He jumped on that offer in a heartbeat.
I knew why though. I tried to ignore it at first, but it was hard to deny him.
He’d gotten everything he wanted out of life, and I knew what he wanted from me. I just wasn’t completely sure that was what I wanted for myself.
“Are you alright?”
He stayed at my house for nearly four months before making any more advances. But when it did happen, I still wasn’t sure how to handle myself.
“Kitty, you’re wonderful. A truly amazing person…”
“It’s nothing, really.”
“I want to pay you back. With all the love and affection you’ve shown me. You see, Kitty…”
“I believe I’ve fallen in love with you.” He lingered by my ear for a moment, letting my heart race and my cheeks flush.
“I’ll take care of you.”
I knew he would.
I felt safe in his arms. Protected.
Everything would be alright.