Andre Expresses His Fears And Concerns
Peace On Earth
In this, the third and final installment, I remind the readers that Sol and May agreed to confer with their foster son, Andre, about meeting for a home visit. The expectation of a full meeting was interrupted due to Andre sleeping. We sat and drank tea when suddenly Andre awoke startled by a nightmare. Once fully awake, we spoke about the discussion we had with his foster parents about my home visit. He was open to some inquiries from me.
Andre was unable to recollect his nightmares, thus eliminating an interpretation. However, I wondered silently if we might break free what had been impeding Andre’s psyche. Fear of sleep due to the current state of the Corona-virus was clearly stated by Andre. Not sleeping, not going outdoors, something else was playing an underlying part in this disturbance. I kept this appointment short with time allotted for an introduction. No powerful rationale for pushing Andre beyond the limits of his boundaries. We secured another scheduled home visit.
Again, Sol and May warmly greeted me for this next home visit. Though we made a mid-day appointment, Andre had been awaken to avail him to this time. A light lunch was served along with some tea on this cool day. Hi everyone. Thanks again for inviting me to your home. What a treat to offer some lunch and to break bread with this family. Thank you, too, Andre, who smiled. How did you sleep? Did you dream or have a nightmare, Andre? What do you do when you can’t sleep?
“I just got up. May woke me up so we could have this meeting. No, I didn’t sleep. I tossed and turned. I play computer games or watch television. I like movies.” What types of movies do you like, Andre? “I used to like crime-type movies but now I like comedies.” Really?? “Yeah, I like to laugh. I watch them with my foster parents. I like to watch them laugh. Sometimes we watch stand-up comics. I like the ones where they talk about regular life, hard life things, you know?” No, I don’t know. Can you say more about things comedians might say that has an effect on you? “Well, I like when they talk about family life. What it means to them.” Wow, that’s very insightful, Andre. Any particular comedians stand out for you?
“I like the black comics. I know they cuss a lot. M-f this and M-f that, but that’s the lingo that black people like to hear. Like, it’s our own language.” Andre, you said ‘our.’ How does that fit for you? Andre laughs aloud. “Well, maybe you haven’t noticed but I’m black. My biological parents were a mixed race. My dad is white, my mom is black.” Andre thanks for pointing this out. Do you happen to know their whereabouts? Are they alive? Do you know any history of your biological parents?
“Yeah, I was told they were both sick. They couldn’t take care of me. Social services got into our home and took me to my grandparents’ home. That was all right until they got sick, too. Then I had no choice.” What do you mean no choice? “I had no choice man. Andre’s body begins to tighten up. His jaw clenches. I had no brothers or sisters. No one was there for me. There were no other relatives to take me in. That’s when social services brought me to my first foster home. I was seven.”
What was that like? “They were okay, I guess. They were a black couple with no kids of their own. I had a good time. They tried to love me. I think I was confused. They turned me on to black music. We’d sit and dance around the home. We laughed a lot. I ate good food. I went to school with lots of black kids and some white kids. I made some friends. We played soccer and hoops at the local field.” Wow, it sounds great, Andre. Why aren’t’ you still with them?
“Cause my foster mom’s parents were in Florida. They needed help from my foster parents. My foster dad took care of me while my foster mom stayed with her parents.” For how long, Andre? “About a month. Then she called my foster father and said they needed to relocate to Florida. They had to sell their home and take care of her folks.” What about you, Andre? “Yeah, what about me? They told me that I couldn’t go with them. No room for me there. We cried a lot. That’s how I ended up here. These people are alright. I’ve been here ever since.” Andre, when you lived with the Black family, did you experience sleep problems or nightmares? “Hell no…oh sorry! No I didn’t.” Andre gets teary and May goes to his aid. They hug as he shakes and sobs. “It’s alright Andre, honey” May says to him. “No, it’s not all right, May. It’s not all right Sol.” What isn’t all right, Andre?” I ask him.
“When am I going to leave your home, Sol and May? You may be my foster parents but you are more like my grandparents. How long ’til I get tossed out? Who’ll take me in?” May and Sol join Andre in a tearful moment. “Oh, honey, I didn’t even think to ask you about your last foster home. You must really miss them. They sound like good people.” “Yes, they were. I learned a lot of Black culture. They taught me a lot. Your place is okay. I like you both, but being held up in this place with the virus…I’m scared. What if you get sick? Who’ll take care of me? I’m afraid of dying from this virus. If I die, you’ll still be around. Maybe you’ll be sad, but if you all die, then what will happen to me? Will I be locked up?”
Sol jumps in. “You know, you’re a really smart kid, Andre. You, May and I…we’ve got some serious talking to do. You ask lots of good questions. Maybe this gentleman here can offer some help and guidance for us all. I realize now that you say it; we’ve not enriched your life with Black culture. We’re not black. Guess even at our age, we can still learn. I also realize how few black families live near us. Wow, we thought we were doing a good job raising you, Andre. You’re a brave young man to point out our flaws. We can all learn together, can’t we?”
“I guess so. One other thing…when I look at the news and see black men being killed…is someone (Andre cries out) going to kill me or shoot me?” “Oh, dear, Andre” May says, “We won’t let that happen.” Tears abound.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.