Glass

The first time Robert, four years old at that time, ran toward a glass patio doors I screamed hysterically .  “Robert, Stop! NO! Robert NO!. But Robert didn’t stop.  He bumped into the  door.  “No Robert.  You cannot do that.  NO! It is dangerous.  Never do that again!”  I was approaching him quickly, nonetheless he managed to take a step or two from the door and bump into it again.  I screamed again, “No, Robert, no” .  He turned to me to, I am sure of that, examine my facial expression. I reacted strongly to what he did and he did notice.

I moved the sofa placing it in front of the patio door. Robert found a replacement object for bumping: the front door.   He bumped into the door a few times.  I didn’t mind. It was  NOT made of glass.  Soon, Robert lost interest in bumping into flat, vertical  surfaces, so after a few weeks, when Robert was at school, I put the  sofa back into its old place.

Wrong.

When Robert came from school he took off his shoes and a  jacket and…ran into the glass door.  I saw him running, but my legs were no match for his. I couldn’t catch him.  Well, I  could scream.  But by then, I knew better.  My scream would not stop Robert.  If anything it would have propelled him and strengthen his resolve to bump into glass panel.  So I kept quiet and preparing myself for the next move.  Immediately after hitting the glass Robert, as I anticipated,  looked at me to check my reaction.

I offered him the most uninterested expression I could create.  As if I didn’t notice that forceful, energetic wallop.  I made a face which emitted dull indifference.  I think that for a fraction of a second, just a fraction, I observed a confused disenchantment on Robert’s face.

But maybe I am exaggerating my acting skills.

Robert never repeated that behavior again.  It helped that I kept the sofa in front of the patio door for another year.

Ten years later, when Robert was in the Collaborative Program, he was left alone in a large room.  He seemed to be in distress.  Maybe from pain.  Maybe from feeling like a big disappointment.  He bang on the window of the temporary, modular classroom.  He broke the glass.  He didn’t hurt himself.  Today, I think that he begged for help.  Then, I didn’t know what to think.  I knew that the teacher treated  Robert with exasperated exhaustion and that never bodes well for the object of such feelings. Oh, well…

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