"Kinsey, I love Ghost, you know I do. I've loved him since I first met him, in one way or another. But, damn, it's so frustrating sometimes to get Ghost to focus on anything! You go somewhere, or maybe not even anywhere, just at home, but, it's worse when we go somewhere. It doesn't matter where. Everything is a distraction to him. You go to get what you came for and twenty things will catch his eye on the way, and he'll have to stop and look at it, or touch it, and tell me a story about it, and make up a song on the spot about it. Over and over it happens. I grab his wrist or shove him from behind to get him to move along, but then he gets pouty about it, drags his feet, then a second later something else grabs his attention and I have to do it all over again. He's like a damned little kid you have to reprimand and then bribe him with something to get him out of there. Meantime, I've forgotten whatever it was I was needing to get. I just want to get out of there." Steve finally took a much needed breath and looked over at Ghost.
Kinsey could feel the emotion coming from Steve in waves. Fierce love and a need to be Ghost's protector always. He thought that was all Steve had to say, but then he was stunned again by his next revelation.
"You know," Steve said quietly, "Ghost has ADD don't you?"
"What?" Kinsey looked at Steve incredulously.
"Yeah, since he was a little kid." Steve looked down at the floor. "I don't think he wants people to know about it, but I sometimes just need to vent about stuff, ya know?"
"Damn," Kinsey said, not knowing what else to say.
"Yeah, back in school they evaluated him and contacted his Grandmother about it, but she basically told them to fuck off...that she'd give him some herbs and potions and work her magic and Ghost would be fine. Well, guess it didn't help him much."
Kinsey glanced over at Ghost, who was still happily writing on the wall and humming to himself. His mind was reeling with theis information. He'd known Miz Deliverance for many years, and had considered her a valued friend. Some folks called her a kook and avoided her, but he'd overlooked her eccentric ways for the most part. She'd never in all those years mentioned a word about her Grandson's problems.
He tried to remember if he'd ever noticed any behavior in Ghost that was ADD related. He couldn't pinpoint anything. Ghost seemed like every other active and imaginative kid. He always knew Ghost had a gift of empathy, and could sometimes seem psychic, but he wasn't even sure he believed any of that. Maybe this explained why Ghost always had a hard time in school, along with being bullied by the other kids. He was thinking of something reassuring to say to Steve, who'd been quiet for a bit, when Steve started talking again in a softer tone than before.
"You know, I think that's probably when the worst started for Ghost," Steve went on. "When he first came here, the kids all thought he was kinda weird, because of his name and all. They'd tease him about it. They'd make fun of him, didn't want to include him in any of their groups. When he started bragging about how his Grandmother was gonna cure him with her mountain medicine, it got worse...so much worse."
Steve put a hand over his eyes at the remembrance of it. "I'm ashamed to admit this, but I went along with the teasing, too...for a while. I wanted to be liked by the kids. Peer pressure I guess you'd call it now. But, back then all I knew was you stay within your group or be outcast. I was already on thin ice as it was, what with my situation at home. Well, you know about all that, anyway."
Kinsey nodded. He knew of Steve's family and how they were, He knew Steve must have tried very hard to fit in, and didn't want to do anything to upset the way things were for him, tenuous as it was.
Steve went on, a faraway look in his eyes as he recounted his and Ghost's early years. "The kids all now had even more reason to come after Ghost. Not only with their hateful, hurtful words, but real, painful ammuntion. They'd throw stuff at him, like pinecones at first, and rocks, and sometimes garbage. Called him names...white trash, liar, spook..." Steve swallowed hard and was silent for a minute.
Kinsey just waited. He didn't know if Steve would continue. In a way he hoped this was all to the story. Then Steve squinched his dark eyes closed for a long moment. Kinsey was transfixed looking at Steve's face. Rough, tough, Steve Finn was on the verge of crying. His bottom lip quivered and his voice shook as he began talking again.
"Steve," Kinsey said, stopping him. He touched Steve's shoulder. "Man, you don't have to go on. I think I understand."
Steve made a keening sound in his throat and shook his head, trying to get control of his emotions. "I have to, Kinsey, I have to. I have to tell somebody. It's been eating me alive all these years, all these memories." He brushed a tear off his cheek and continued. Kinsey was feeling afraid of what else he would hear...then he was horrified.
next installment coming soon...
Peace, Love, & Writing