Part I can be found here: Eric John
Wednesday morning Eric John woke up late. His mother had not knocked on the door with her regular greeting, his door was still shut, his room quiet. With trepidation he rose from his bed and headed for his mother’s room to check on her.
Her bedroom door was still open from the night prior, her bed untouched.
Now he was really worried, the whole situation was so alien to him and a monkey wrench into his life. He wasn’t sure what to do now, this was such an extraordinary circumstance he had never imagined his mother wouldn’t be here.
The only thing it seemed he should do is go to school and hope by some circumstance his mother would be home when he returned. He dressed and brushed his teeth, heading downstairs and realized he didn’t know exactly how his mother made eggs and bacon. Toast it would have to be and there was still juice and milk to start his day off.
The walk to the bus stop was less magical without his mother by his side, nothing seemed as bright and there was nothing but dread in his heart. The bench that was normally wet with the morning dew was occupied by a homeless person sleeping underneath some newspapers. The bus though was right on time, if a later schedule than he usually was prepared for. The trip to school he peered out the windows hoping against hope that he would catch a glimpse of his mother heading home or waving to him.
He was late of course and when he opened the door to his classroom all the other children stared at him, some mouths open others with smirks. Mrs. Wirsing rushed over to him with her smile and expressed that she was happy to see him asking him for a note. A quick lie came to his lips – he had forgotten the note his mother wrote on the table at home, the thought of his mother made his eyes well up with tears. Mrs. Wirsing misunderstanding the reason put a hand on his shoulder and assured him it was ok if he brought it tomorrow or the next day. Eric John forced a smile and wondered if he’d have a note by then or if his life would continue to spiral away from him.
The day at school was a blur – he didn’t raise his hand when questions were posed nor did he smile at Mrs Wirsing during the day, he was entirely focused on his mother and what might have happened. When the end of the day bell rang he was both grateful and anxious to see what he would find at home.
He thought that maybe he forgot to do something yesterday, maybe not putting his shoes just right in the foray or forgetting to wash place his knapsack in its usual space – today he would do everything just the right way and his mother would appear. He would never again have a thing out of place or forget to do the usual mundane tasks that he loved to do with his mother. Surely she would sense his determination for her to come back, she would rush back to him and reset his life as it was.
The afternoon soon turned to evening, the quiet of the house only seemed to make his heart beat drum in his ears. There was no sound of his mothers key in the door or her melodic voice apologizing for being late. Some deep part of him hoped this was a nightmare, the worst nightmare ever as far as he could tell. But the rationale side of his brain told him he was was in trouble, a lot of trouble.
Not knowing what else to do – Eric John headed to his room to prepare for bed. The tears flowed freely now and the fear seemed to overwhelm him. He was alone, for the first time in his life truly alone. He cried himself to sleep that night, nothing but fear as a blanket and nightmares in his head.
He woke early, restless sleep not providing any true rest in the night. His remembered dreams were of ghosts of his mother crying out to him, always just out of reach from his extended hand. He shivered remembering and listened for any noise in the house to indicate her return. Silence greeted him.
As he awoke early he was able to make it to his bus on time, the dew filled bench unoccupied as normal, the absence of his mother gave pause to the bus driver who was used to greeting her each day. He asked Eric John about it but who mumbled an inaudible response.
At school Mrs Wirsing noticed he was not his normal self – his clothes weren’t as tidy his hair not brushed. When she passed his desk she heard his stomach rumble and she decided she needed to find out what was going on. At recess she held him back.
After just a few questions she found herself holding the bawling young man as he tried to tell her what had happened. She couldn’t understand him through all the pain in his voice and started to escort him to the guidance counselor’s office. Many people in the hallway stopped to glance at the mournful sound from the boy, but Mrs. Wirsing shooed them away.
In the guidance counselor’s office after many minutes, Eric John calmed down to just loud sniffs and the occasional choking up. He did manage to get out that he wasn’t sure where his mother was and that she’d not been home for two days. Mrs. Wirsing feared for the worst and still admired the boy coming to school two days and not falling apart sooner – he was her favorite student with the most promise.
Mrs Wirsing stayed with him as the guidance office reached out to the emergency numbers provided by his mother when she enrolled him.He felt immensely grateful that she was staying with him, wondering what would happen to his classmates and studies.
Despite the information provided the staff couldn’t seem to reach anyone that knew Eric John or his mother, none of the numbers were as they seemed to be, one or two were stores in a nearby town, not a relative as his mother had indicated.
The only number they did manage to get through to who it should have been was his mothers work, they confirmed they hadn’t seen her or heard from her in two days and the information and numbers they had also were inaccurate. The work and school folks wondered together what was going on and what to do now with this young boy.
They called out to child services, knowing it was the best option for Eric John at this point. Wanting to provide food and shelter for the boy and then find someone to locate his mother. This would be a sleepless night for many people, not just Eric John.
His mother had already been found, two nights ago, but it would be a long time before someone would identify her, if ever.
The next Chapter is here: Part III