I pulled into the driveway a little leery of going inside after our last encounter. It was raining, and as I headed up the walkway to the front door I saw him staring out the front window watching me as I made my way to the front door. He isn’t like any other child I’ve ever known. His intensity is almost unnerving. Even though he could see that I was at his front door he did not leave his spot at the front window to greet me. He just stood there watching me through the large front window while the rain continued to steadily fall.
I thought about all of the comments everyone had made to me on my last post, creepy, scene from “Criminal Minds,” “The Good Son.” I thought about my daughter who said not to leave my water bottle unattended. I thought about his own comment about how his dog still liked him even though he had hurt him. For a brief moment as he, and I stared at each other through the window I thought about getting back into my car, and leaving.
Then the front door opened, and an odd-looking woman who was neither his mother, or his sister stood there looking me over almost in the same way “Frank” had been staring at me through the window. She said “He’s been waiting for you.” She picked up her bag, and left. “Frank” came around the corner still peering at me with his intense blue eyes. I said hello, he nodded then he motioned for me to follow him. Then I asked him who the woman was that had answered the door. He looked me in the eye while making a shrugging gesture. So I asked him again, this time he said “She’s my aunt.” If I didn’t know that he had been adopted that statement would have made a lot of sense. Her demeanor was equally as odd as “Frank’s.”
Then he led me to his dinning room table where he had carefully placed several objects for me to see. I was still grasping to make conversation with him about his day when he abruptly changed the subject by pointing to the first object that was on the table. I was still determined to get an answer from him about his day when he put up his small hand motioning me to stop talking. Then he said “My day was like every day. It was boring, and I really don’t want to talk any more about that, I just want to show you some things.”
So I sat down at the table, and he handed me a wooden board. It was the tray from a Mancala game. Then he told me to smell it. My normal inclination is not to smell things that 9 year-old boys tell you to smell, but this time I did. It smelled like wood. I asked him if he would like to play Mancala, to which I was again shown the hand signal to wait. He looked me in the eye, and said “No I just like to smell the wood, I think it’s Birch.”
Then he picked up a small plastic container filled with various stones inside it, amethyst, jade, onyx, agate, and his favorite was a small stone that looked like a shiny piece of gold. He told me it was not real, and that he wanted to mine for real gold. He asked me if I knew what an ingot was, and I told him I didn’t. His brow furrowed, he looked at me with disbelief, then went on to explain to me what an ingot was. Next he handed me what looked like a tiny circuit board he had removed from some electronic appliance he had smashed in the back yard. This is how he spends most of his time. He takes old appliances, and breaks them open with an anvil (his word) that he made out of a rather large rock.
I asked him who his friends were, and he told me he only had one. A girl from his class. I asked him what he liked about her, and he said he liked her because she brings him things from home that he can smash. He gave me a list of items to try to find, and bring with me the next time I come. He wants to smash things with me. Then he wants to remove the inner parts to make new inventions. He also wants to make potions, and paints from the petals of flowers.
He was very ritualistic about where, and how each item he showed me needed to be placed. He continuously smelled his treasures, and asked me to do the same. He told me that he could smell me. I did not ask him how I smelled to him. His mother called to check in saying she would be home shortly. “Frank” told her not to come too quickly because we needed more time. When he hung up he looked me directly in the eye, and instructed me not to mention our conversation to his mother. I asked him why, and he said” That she didn’t understand.”
When our time was up he asked me to remember the list for the next time when see each other. These are the items on his list-a clock with cogs & springs, a calculator, a vice, funnels, candles,an ax, beakers, and a metal mallet. Then his mother arrived. She came into the dinning room looked at the objects on the table, surveyed the rest of the room, and handed me a check. She asked me if I would be able to come again next Monday for the same amount of time. I said “yes.” Then nothing more was said, she simply walked me to the door.
As I left I looked up at the large window where “Frank” stood. He was staring at me in the exact same way he had when I arrived. Then I glanced over my shoulder at the front door, and saw his mother staring at me. I am convinced that there is a secret she doesn’t want me to know.