“I hate how things change,” Biker Boy said to me. We were sitting at the pond yesterday, watching ducks swim on a summer day that had trickled into November by mistake. The scene was peaceful, but that’s not what was going on inside Biker Boy's eleven-year-old head.
Longtime readers know that Biker Boy used to live on my street. I’ve known him for four years. When he lived nearby, he and his little sister used to come visit me every day, escaping from a home in which he was not safe. A smart reader told me once that I should teach him my phone number – and I did. “I’ve got your phone number in my heart,” Biker Boy always says.
For the last nine months, Biker Boy has been living in a foster home on the other side of the city. It’s been a safe place for him. But it wasn’t a permanent situation. This week he will move again – to a new foster home in a small town about 25 miles away from me. The change was sudden news for him: he found out at school on Friday.
Yesterday, Biker Boy and I ate pizza because that’s our tradition. Then I asked what he wanted to do. He wanted first to come to my house. For a little while, he acted like his old self – joking around while we took zombie photos to put on twitter. Then he wanted to drive to the railroad track that we used to walk to. Then we stopped to see the little house that my older two kids rent so he could say hello to them. Then we stopped at my parents’ house.
Biker Boy is usually a high-energy kid, but yesterday he was not. After we visited everyone in my family, we drove to the duck pond and took a walk. He didn’t run around like crazy the way he usually does. I didn’t have to tell him even once not to chase the swans. He sat quietly in the sun and leaned his head against me.
“I hate change too,” I told him. I rubbed his back. Then we kept walking around the pond.