In the first installment of this series, The proper care and feeding of elephants, Part 1, I mentioned that I would be sharing a few examples of the unseen elephants in the room and how to insure said elephants continue to thrive and live indefinitely. The first characteristic mentioned in last week’s post was that the owner of the elephant is rarely its master. In the following short story, the roles of master and owner cross over and change.
The stack of magazines, once hidden carefully between the boy’s mattress and box spring now lies atop his neatly made bed. His mother discovered them while changing the bedding this morning. Her initial shock gives way to uncomfortable understanding. He’s not her little boy anymore. After her mind processes the whys of the situation, she begins to wonder about the where and the who. There will be hell to pay for any cashier who sold pornography to a child who is obviously under 21. She looks at the pub dates on the magazines. They’re 3 or 4 months old. Did he buy them or were they given to him? Or maybe he found them. But found them where?
The separation was difficult on everyone, but her oldest son seemed to take it the hardest. Filing for a divorce was not something she did lightly, but after discovery of the second affair, his promises seemed as empty as his side of the bed. She knew her boys needed a positive male role model in their lives. Unfortunately, their father wasn’t fulfilling that role. She grabbed the phone and dialed her soon to be ex-husband’s office. When she heard her voice–affair number two–she immediately hung up.
No, she would handle it herself. But what could she say to her son that wouldn’t cause them both embarrassment? That’s when she got the idea of putting the magazines on top of his bed. She reasoned that he would know that she knew. Surely that would put a stop to it.
When the kids got home from school, she asked them about their day just as she always did. She also mentioned she had changed the sheets on their beds, her eyes catching her oldest son’s gaze and holding it just a fraction longer than usual. As a cold sweat broke out on the back of his neck, her son said he was going to his room to play video games. He opened the door, his mind racing as he saw the stack of magazines placed so neatly on the center of his bed. What now? What would he possibly say to his mother? Then it occurred to him that she hadn’t said anything to him about them, even though it was clear she was the one who put them there. He knew his mother well enough to understand that there was often more meaning in the things she didn’t say than the things she did. And her message was clear: I know what you’re doing. Stop it now and we won’t have to talk about it. We can pretend that it never happened.
So that’s exactly what he did. He gave the magazines back to his mother’s new boyfriend and told him it was probably not a good idea to leave them at her house anymore. He also asked if he could get some tickets to the ball game. They’re all going together this weekend. Mom’s really excited that her boys seem to be bonding with her new boyfriend.
Good roles models are so hard to find these days.
Her son doesn’t look at pornographic magazines anymore. Not since his dad got him a new computer for his birthday. There’s so much more to choose from on the Internet.