I started painting again, after the trial ended. When I began my mandatory therapy program. I take the therapy seriously. It would be a waste of time if I didn’t. But I can’t tell if Dr. Mayes does. For her, meeting with me seems like a chore. Like it’s her sentence as well as mine. She suggested painting might be a good way to express my feelings. Better than talking to the children in my neighborhood. Plus, no more talking with children, one of the terms of my probation.
Painting gives me something to do. I’m good at it. Dr. Mayes calls it “dark” and says “it effectively captures my feelings of oppression.” She thinks too much. They’re just pictures. Illustrations of the books and stories I read. I like Greek mythology. Icarus, the boy who flies up to the sun. Sisyphus, forever rolling his stone up a hill. Odysseus, his adventures with the Sirens, with the Cyclops. Jayden and Marcus like those stories too. And Tolkien. And Star Trek Deep Space Nine – so much better than the Next Generation. I really miss them, Marcus and Jayden.
Dr. Mayes asked me why I painted a picture of a tiny man pushing a huge rock up a hill. What was the man going to do, let the rock go? Cause destruction? Like I said, she thinks too much. I told her it was Sisyphus, from the myth. A scene from the story. She asked me if I feel like society is trying to crush me. Or am I preparing to crush society? Is my life a burden? Like pushing a heavy rock?
She wanted to know if the kidnapping was about gaining control – control over the boys. Or over their parents, maybe? I hate that word, kidnapping. It was in the newspaper, on the TV news. Everyone called it a crime. But they weren’t there. It was only the three of us. That day was a highlight of their lives. The highlight of my life. Dr. Mayes asked what I’d planned to do if the police hadn’t come.
I see them in the neighborhood, sitting on the curb together. Looking through a book or playing on an iPad. The other kids buzz by on their bikes, on their scooters. Throwing insults at them like rocks. Geeks. Losers. Queers. At least Jayden and Marcus have each other. I’m all alone. Me with my paints. Me with my books, my TV, and Dr. Mayes. No one talks to me at work. They really don’t even look at me. But I’m sure they talk about me. Their silence is louder than insults.
Star Trek is boring when I watch it by myself. I’ve seen them all. Going to the space museum without the guys seems lonely. Dr. Mayes says I need to make adult friends. She says there are people who share my interests, but when I ask her where, she just sighs. She tells me it’s time to grow up.
I knew it was a mistake. But if I asked their parents, they’d have said no. Their parents never talked to me – except to comment on the length of my lawn, or how I needed to wash my car. The only time they paid any attention to me at all was when I was talking with their kids. They don’t understand me. They don’t understand Jayden or Marcus either.
Dr. Mayes wants to know if I’m the rock or the tiny man.