I replied, "You will not say that to me again, or this relationship is over."
He stated back, "What the fuck?! Goodbye."
I didn't say anything back. I just walked away. My kid had the nerve to tell me those foul words, and I knew it might come one day. I knew because he said he used to be bad and tell his parents off. Furthermore, his parents told me the same. So, I figured it would come, but I didn't think it would come like this.
The day before he was acting strange. I gave him a bag of small hot, flaming cheetos. Trash food. He opened it up and scarfed it like a seagull does at the beach when it steals a bag of potato chips. Odd, I thought. I asked him where he wanted to go. He said nowhere. I drove him around town, but he didn't want to do anything or say anything. So, I dropped him back home. I had a lot to do if he was going to be having one of his moods.
The coach at the gym said I should make up. I didn't know what to do, but all the signs looked like reconciliation wasn't going to happen unless I made the first move. I called and talked to my trusted group of friends, generally on an individual level. Each gave me different advice that ranged from making things right with him to kicking him to the curb.
I remember my head going through a schism of warring opinions and voices, arguing on what to do. I didn't know. Why did decision making have to be so hard? Why did weighing up the advantages and consequences for him and me have to riddle my mind? At the end, I took a Hegelian approach. Hegel advocated that two opposing views or theories could be harmonized into one with thought and work. That's what I did. I harmonized the theories. I might give him another chance on the condition though he come back first and apologize. But I was not going to control the situation.
The coach was wrong. I was right. Over the coming days, he acted more and more like a little ape. He disrespected the head coach as well by telling all his friends how bad my coach was. He began burning all his bridges, and then the truth came out. The junior coach had seen the cops pick him up for drug use.
My heart broke, and it all made sense. His arrest happened the day before he came into my car. This explained the erratic behavior.
But all the more - the words - fuck you made more sense to me. When he made the choice to start again, that was already the message to me. His words just materialized what was already in his heart and mind.
And then we saw him starting to come to the gym, high. Sometimes on coke. Sometimes on weed. Either way, he couldn't box anymore if his life depended on it to save him. His nine months of training wasted away to nothing in days. What took months to acquire took only a few days to be destroyed.
I looked at the head coach and said, "That's it. He's done."
"Probably, huh? He'll either end up dead or in jail. I mean, we can accept him if he really changes and apologizes."
"And you see that his life is moving in that direction?"
"I heard once, that pigs go feral in one generation. Know what feral is?"
"You know, man has taken a lot of effort to domesticate pigs, cats, and dogs. Like hundreds of years. Feral is when the animal returns back to it's natural, wild state. Pigs apparently go feral the fastest. Then cats take two generations. And dogs take three."
"I think I found an animal that goes feral faster. The kid."
"Just took a few weeks."
We were both angry and frustrated. The head coach and his other coach asked themselves why they invested so much into someone so useless.
I asked myself two questions: how come I didn't see the warning signs? And, what in the hell actually caused him to make the decision to start up again?
I don't really know the answer to either of these questions.
I overheard the kid on a phone conversation, in which he said he was suspended. We have one eighteen-year-old who already has a felon for having sex with a minor. We caught him trying again. And in my own state of brokenness, I, recently, told myself the worst thing I could think of. "It's impossible for these people to change." Sadly, I haven't changed my opinion on this new thought.