By BERN MORLEY
My 6 year old is upstairs reading. It’s a glorious day outside and usually he’d be out there, kicking a ball or playing some made up game with sticks but today is different. Today he has been grounded. Yup. I have grounded my 6 year old. This is why.
I suppose I should set the scene. We live on a sprawling estate that was once a ‘Lunatic Asylum’. Fitting really. Anyway, as such, it is quite a social place to live.
The kids always find someone to play with outside, the adults, if they want, can always find a friendly face. Usually. Last Sunday there I was, sitting on my couch, minding my own business watching something vaguely trashy on the TV when I heard a knock on the door.
I got up, opened the door and was greeted by a young couple with anxious smiles on their faces. They launched into their reason for being at my door and it turned out that they believed Jack, my 6 year old son, had been involved, in get this, a ‘chalking incident’. Apparently a “pack of boys” had been walking around the estate and she was positive that my son had drawn a line, A LINE of chalk on the wall outside of their stairwell.
Fair enough, whilst probably excessive in their approach, perhaps they were right to call out this behaviour. Maybe chalking is the gateway to fully fledged graffiti. Seriously though, I didn’t like that he’d been messing around with public property so I called him down and questioned him. I mean, it was a possibility, he’d been running around outside all day with his mates.
I asked him, outright, along with the other boys, if they had been drawing on walls. They all convincingly told me no. Jack’s ability to lie is pretty poor, he just doesn’t have the composure or forethought to do it very well and usually I can pick it a mile away when he does. Yet this time, I was sure he was telling me the truth. So did the parents of the other children. We made them turn over their palms and inspect for chalk residue, CSI style – nada.
We comprehensively defended our children to this couple, making sure that they knew we found it quite insulting that they’d been insinuating our children were nothing more than common hood rats. We made the kids clean it up anyway which due to their protests that it was ‘unfair’ made me even more convinced that they weren’t lying.
But Harry, his mate, later on that night, cracked. Admitted it was Josh, the oldest one, that had drawn the line. And that Jack had written the words ‘Top Gun’ on the wall around the corner. Tom fucking Cruise. He ruins EVERYTHING. So after I’d gone into bat for him, I was the one looking like one of those parents that believes her child can do wrong. I was just, and I hated this, but I was disappointed.