His mother said,
Would it help
if I gave you some family history?
My father was schizophrenic. He spent
the last quarter of his life in a VA hospital.
They gave him a lobotomy.
There are others in my family.
And he — he was a beautiful child, brilliant, he was
the captain of the debate team, so brilliant he wanted
to become a lawyer and work in public policy, to do
work for the environment.
Such a good child, so smart, so brilliant.
His first semester of college, he took challenging
classes, advanced math, advanced science. He got a 3.65
during the break he fell apart.
He got expelled from college after he threatened his roommate,
with a knife, a knife with a serrated edge
up to his throat.
He smokes pot. He genuinely thinks
marijuana is god.
We tried. We made contracts with him,
contracts he could never keep.
Each time it takes longer.
He’s killed brain cells.
He stayed at my house once, for a little while, but
because he causes damage, because I have younger
children, I really couldn’t have him stay when I left.
We talked and talked, and it was a good day together.
So he agreed, and
I got ready to go and put my hand on his shoulder. Then —
he — he hurt me. I’m still — I’m still, no —
I am recovering, but the injuries will never,
they are still there.
When I brought him the housing paperwork in jail,
I was trying to tell him that I had talked to his parents
and that they were willing to help, to send his birth certificate.
He was giggling; he was psychotic.
I said, I have two things to tell you.
One is that your parents will help out.
The other is that even if you have to go to the hospital, you
are still on the list for housing.
He kept laughing, saying things I couldn’t understand, but
between phrases, he’d say carefully,
“You are trying to tell me two things.”
“One is that my parents will send the documents.”
“The other is that I am still high priority for a housing placement.”
The guard stood nearby the entire time, and then just took him away.
He was hearing you through all the interference.
He — he’s still there.
I tell her that he didn’t want to sign the release, that he refused medication,
so I asked him, “What do you want? What is your ideal?”
He said, “I want to go back to school. I want to finish college.”
She begins to cry.
He’s still there.