Tuesday and Friday mornings are a team effort at the Smith House because these are garbage pickup days on our street. We must be among the first houses they come to because they're always here really early. David's always wanting to be at the office early and it's a sprint of breakfast, clean socks, coffee making, trash can and out the door!
The past two days we've had trash pickup, I've been on the front porch throwing the last of the trash into the can when a woman and her children have come walking down the street. I first saw them a few weeks ago during one of my walks with Corduroy. Their family is a little boy about 6, a little baby girl about 14 months and their mom.
The thing is that every morning, the little boy is lagging behind the mom and the baby girl and the mom is SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS at him. He's a little bit nerdy. He's got thick glasses and he looks like his hair could stand to be washed and cut. He wears a Birmingham City School uniform that looks a little rumpled. He looks shy. He looks at me out of the corner of his eyes as he walks by. He doesn't smile, but I don't think it would take much to get him to.
I know his name because the mom will say things to him like "Derrick, if you didn't drag your damn feet all over the house, you might have been able to get some breakfast, but you don't get any because you're too slow!" or "Derrick hurry up. If you weren't so damn stupid, you'd be ready in time."
This morning, Corduroy dog heard the mom yelling and she ran out on to the porch and barked. Loudly. And growled. It scared Derrick, but I think what Corduroy meant to do was to scare the mom. If we had one of those dog-bark/English translators, I think Old Cord Dog would be saying something like "Bitch, if you don't shut up, I'm going to eat your friggen face off." That's what I like to think of Cord Dog.
My prayers these days go like this: God, please let someone at school make sure Derrick gets some breakfast. God, please let someone say something kind to him today. God, please let him get a bath and a haircut. God, please make sure that Derrick gets some love from someone today. God, please do something to make his mom's life less overwhelming. God, let me know them better so I can do something. God, show me what to do..
I guess what bothers me most is that there is really nothing in the world I'd rather have than a little boy or girl. This woman has both and she doesn't seem to want them. But I want them. Especially Derrick. I'd let him eat breakfast twice every morning.
The world is an unfair place and it's hard to understand sometimes.