Tuesday, February 01, 2005

in the wake of a tragedy

Marcos was sent home from school early today. The official word is that he was causing a 'commotion', but the facts seem to vary. Some reports say that he was getting into fights, while others say that he was having some sort of emotional breakdown; I guess that's pretty much the same thing when you're five. I've been watching this build up over the last few days, but I didn't know how to head it off.

About a week ago, the mother of one of Marcos' friends was found dead a few blocks from our house. Her neck was slit open... it happened right in the middle of the day, and her body was placed behind some bushes in someone's driveway. She wasn't found until the next morning. Nobody knows how or why this happened.

As you can imagine, it's been very hard on the entire neighborhood. The schools took too long to figure out how to approach the topic with the kids, which allowed them to hear it from the television news programs first... can you imagine being so young, hearing about the murder of a woman that you knew from an unconcerned news reporter? Most of these kids hadn't even encountered death before, let alone one that seems so senseless.

The six-year-old son of the victim, Charlie, is in Marcos' class. They're very close - hell, we've even had Charlie and his family over to the house on numerous occasions. Charlie had been staying home from school to grieve, but wasn't making any progress, so it was suggested to his father that he be sent back to school, so that he could be around his friends. Rumor has it that he's cried once or twice, but overall, he's had a very distant and stoic demeanor since the funeral.

Megan and I sat both Marcos and Maria down to explain what happened and how hard it was going to be on Charlie, but I don't think that Marcos really understood until he saw Charlie at school today. I think that despite Charlie's repression of emotion, Marcos can tell that something's very wrong. Marcos is extremely protective of his friends; I think he's mad at Charlie's mother for leaving Charlie so wounded, but also feels guilty for putting blame on someone who was just a victim. He wants so much to help his friend, but doesn't know how; that's exactly how I feel toward Marcos right now. It's such a shame that this had to happen to these boys at such a young age.

Marcos is furious, and doesn't know where to place his anger. When I picked him up from school, the second I asked what happened, he started hitting me and trying to rip himself out of his seatbelt; the poor kid's just a wreck. I let him wear himself out on me, until he finally slumped back into his seat and started crying and spilling his guts.

He told me that he had heard that Charlie was supposed to cry, and couldn't understand why he wouldn't. Marcos wanted him to cry so that he would get better, but Charlie refused to; Marcos started yelling at him and hitting him. According to Marcos, he beat the shit out of this poor kid (I'm sure that he's fine, because their teacher didn't mention any bruises or anything), but no matter how much pain Marcos dished out, Charlie wouldn't cry... Charlie just looked at Marcos helplessly, and kept asking why Marcos hated him so much.