To this day he was afraid of the dude who had threatened to kill him. During those three years at the ‘school’ he sent letters to his mother begging her to move him. He could not risk explaining why. The dude was clear, tell anyone and it’s over. He was ten years old and afraid, and he believed.
In his mother’s replies it was always the same, Darling, Mama is busy.
One day in art class which is what they called it although there was no one doing any art, a radio played and the disc jockey announced the engagement of the boy’s mother and a movie star. The biggest movie star of the day. This was the first the boy knew about this union. When he met the paramour he liked him very much. He gave in easily to kindness.
This was a good person and the boy was greatly comforted by his presence. His sense of humor, his honesty. Here's a famous actor who spoke only of his disdain for his craft. He would've so much preferred to have been a literature professor. Unfortunately he was a drunk so the union dissolved and the boy never saw this paternal figure again. The unbuckling was the hardest part.
Years later as a young man he lunched with his mother in a restaurant. He had come prepared to ask a question. He delivered it as the soup was served, ‘Why did you put me in that ‘school?’
She dipped her spoon and lifting a mouthful and blowing softly on it so it was perfect, she said, ‘Darling, I'm sure it was character building.’
He never mentioned the bad guy and the threats. She tittered about nothing and he nodded along. When he walked away he could've felt unsatisfied, resentful even, instead for him this crystallized exactly who they were. His mother was an entity whom he needed to protect. Even if that meant protecting her from him.