I knew from the moment I walked into the room, and saw his piercing blue eyes carefully following my every move that something was not right. His mother was extremely nervous even though this was not our first time meeting. We know each other through a shared friendship with another woman who I haven’t had contact with in almost two years. She sat on the couch across from me wringing her hands uncomfortably with a look of uncertainty over asking me to come.
I’m not sure she wants me to know her secret, but I’m sure she must be at the end of her rope over her strained relationship with her nine-year old son by her nervous demeanor. I am also very sure that she is not telling me everything about what’s going on with her son. He stood there surveying his mother’s every interaction with me, and I had the distinct feeling that even though she can’t read this child’s behavior he has no trouble reading her’s.
I met this boy when he was four almost five. He was a high-spirited, mile a minute happy little boy, not at all the same child who stood there looking at his mother with the disgust of a much older person’s demeanor. Then he turned his deep gaze from her direction, and went back to following mine. He told me that his dog still loved him even if he was mean to him sometimes. It was a verbal gauntlet thrown to my feet, his way of testing my reaction. I was taken aback by what felt like an extremely calculated move coming from this tiny frame with the most piercing blue eyes.
It was clear to both his mother, and I that she was essentially being dismissed. She stood nervously telling me that her older daughter would be in her room, and could call her if I needed her help. Her daughter never said a word. She shyly acknowledged me before heading back to her room. Then her mother looked at me, and said she has a lock on her door to ensure some privacy from her brother when he becomes too much.
Then she left us for what was undoubtedly the most unusual four hours of my working career. For the sake of my client’s privacy, and the deep blue eyes we will call him “Frank.”