I hardly knew him when he walked into the visitors room. He looked older already since Saturday. And harder somehow. And when he spoke, I knew he was coming from a dark and distant place in himself. It is not a part of him I have seen often, even in the jail. It scares and saddens me beyond words to see him this way. Some of it is the wall he must hide behind to survive in that place. And some of it is bravado, I think. A push-pull, a dare. "Will you keep coming if I act in this way.....you won't....will you....but oh, please do." I told him every way I knew how that I, that his community, that his God, were not going to abandon him, no matter what! He said a lot of things that were so heart-breaking, so painful to hear him say. Things I know that live within him but that I believe are not his deepest and most authentic self. He told me a voice in his head tells him "Not even God can save you now." He thinks that might be true. I truly believe there is a battle going on in and for that boy's soul.
He has ninety days to serve. But he says there is some other charge out there from "before" that may add some time. He says he doesn't care. He says he won't go back to CH or any other program. He wants his own place and to make it in the world his own way. We did agree that maybe he would consider staying with someone temporarily when he gets out "to get on your feet." "But NO PROGRAMS!" he says. Ok, L, no programs, we won't die in that ditch today. One day at a time, I told him. One day at a time.