Clareified

Where does the good go

Gratitude eternal

My mother decided to take in my teenage cousin, Kue, rather than let the girl end up in a foster home.

Kue probably doesn’t remember this, but it’s the second time she has lived with my mother. She was no more than seven months old the last time. I was away at college and my aunt had thrown her, her four-year-old sister and her mother out of the house in the middle of December upon discovering she was once again pregnant. This would be her fourth child in five years.

My mother let the three of them stay in my room until I returned for Winter break.

Kue and my mother butted heads from the very beginning. She wasn’t doing her homework, she wanted to leave at 10 pm to go to parties on a Wednesday, she has a 40 year old “boyfriend,” who may or may not be her pimp… yeah, no bueno. But my mother tried to make her feel comfortable. She got the computer in her room fixed, stocked the house with her favorite foods, bought her a new winter coat.

But the whole arrangement was just supposed to be temporary. Kue’s court date was on Monday and she would likely be returned to her mother’s custody. Last Wednesday, her “boyfriend” called to say he was taking her upstate for the holidays. My mother informed him that trip would probably be uncomfortable with her foot up his ass and suggested he never call her house again if he enjoyed chewing solid foods.

Kue threw a temper tantrum, but my mother placated her by deciding to have an impromptu Thanksgiving dinner – complete with a whole turkey, which Kue said she’d never seen in real life. (It was thusly, I ended up eating two Thanksgiving dinners on Thursday and pleading for a swift death on Thursday night.) Everything seemed fine. They were in the home stretch and nobody had gotten stabbed! And then, on Friday, Kue left to go to her “uncle’s house.” And never returned.

By Saturday night, my mom was calling the police to report her missing. On Sunday, Kue called from her “boyfriend’s” number to say she was fine and my mother “better not call any fucking cops or else.” On Monday, she showed up with a posse of teens and threatened to kill my mother. Neighbors called the police. Kue and her friends ran.

Ironically, I had spent much of the weekend thinking about whether I was an ungrateful person. I’m not quite sure I had come to a definitive conclusion before talking to my mom about Kue last night. I’ll tell you where I got stuck: If someone is kind to you for a month and cruel for a week, are you still to be grateful? The good is never undone, but now that bad has been done, what are your options? I don’t have it in me to be this guy. But I couldn’t quite figure out where the line was. I suppose Kue felt justified attacking my mother once she felt cornered… still makes her ungrateful, doesn’t it?

Is that simply a function of how close in time my mother’s kindness was to Kue’s hostility? I don’t know.

Anyway, the whole train of thought reminded me of a poem I read in college… shortly before I abandoned the English portion of my double major in political science and English.

I can’t believe I’ve been doing poetry Wednesdays for about two years and not yet done a Shakespeare poem. Crazypants! Well, with four weeks to go, I remedy that oversight. All hail El Bardo.

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind
William Shakespeare

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remember’d not.
Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly.

19 Responses to “Gratitude eternal”

  1. VinNay Says:

    Wow. I had a crappy thanksgiving too. There was no whipped cream for the pumpkin pie! #whitepeopleproblems

  2. Pearatty Says:

    Doesn’t New York have statutory rape laws?

  3. Dawn Summers Says:

    Yes, Im guessing that’s why she didnt want the cops called.

  4. Alceste Says:

    Pearatty: That was my first reaction too. (In NY, it’s rape if one party is 15-16 and other party is over 20.) I’m guessing that’s why she was adamant that the police not be called.

  5. F-Train Says:

    I think you folks might be giving the girl too much credit. Teenage dropout runaways usually aren’t worried about statutory rape laws (if they are even aware of them).

  6. Dawn Summers Says:

    But Im sure their middle aged pimps are.

  7. Pearatty Says:

    I will add that I don’t see any unkindness from your mother to Kue at all, at least from what you’ve written here. A teenager won’t *like* their guardian telling their middle-aged pimp to take a hike, and setting reasonable boundaries, but it is a kindness to the teenager.

    She’s therefore just completely ungrateful, although I wouldn’t expect a teenager to see it that way. If she makes it to adulthood, she may look back and see what your mom was trying to do.

  8. Pearatty Says:

    Also, I am astonished that she was brave enough to threaten your mom, and surprised that she survived to run. Are you sure that’s what happened? Have you heard from her since? Checked the trash chute at your mom’s place?

  9. Dawn Summers Says:

    As my mother’s counsel, it’s best if I don’t do that.

  10. VinNay Says:

    I find it curious that Alceste knows all the statutory rape laws of NY.

  11. Dawn Summers Says:

    LOL. As Alceste’s counsel, I advise him to remain silent.

  12. Pearatty Says:

    You’ve got some pretty sketchy clients there counselor.

  13. Alceste Says:

    haha. between memorizing the penal code in crim law and the debates in my 3L sexuality and the law class, it’s one of the code sections that has been burned in to my brain…

  14. Pi Says:

    but my turkey was better, right? What happened on the court date? Was that the same time Kue came back with the posse?

  15. Smokey Says:

    I agree with Pearatty, there was only kindness on your mom’s part here — unless a check of the chute does turn out bad. There’s a difference between kind and nice. Nice is buying someone a drink. Kind is cutting them off when they’ve had too much.

  16. dawn Says:

    oooh, smokey is dropping wisdom! How did you get so smart? (Pearatty is soooo about to take credit isn’t she?) :)

  17. Pearatty Says:

    Wow, I don’t know that I can take credit for that little pearl of wisdom. I’d like to though.

  18. Smokey Says:

    That’s right. I rock. 😉

  19. Pearatty Says:

    You do rock!

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