A Banker's Lament
By Parson Thru
Oh Lord, why us?
We did all the right things. We cared, we planned, we furnished a comfortable home; provided an education second to none for the area, commensurate with income.
How could it go so wrong?
What did we miss that we might have picked up?
He was normal.
Healthy, plenty of mates, was encouraged at rugby, at which he excelled. He enjoyed his music, as they all do, did his homework and swatted for exams, followed his sporting interests.
Generally a busy, talented, well-adjusted young man.
His mother is devastated, of course. I thought they were meant to be close to their mothers – a symptom, if you like. We haven’t said anything to family and friends, but how long can you keep something like this quiet? There will come a point, inevitably, when someone asks:
‘So how about Mark, then? Has he introduced you to anyone yet? Brought anyone nice home?’
Well, actually, now I think about it, he probably has.
God help us – it makes me shudder.
But, questions will be asked. And what do you say? Play a straight bat? Well someone around here ought to, I suppose. But we value our friends and why should we embarrass them?
Where on earth does one go from here? The worst parents’ fear, manifest. Neither his mother nor I have any particular urge to speak with him just now and, frankly, I can’t see a time when we would. What is there to say? What does one ask about? Talk about an elephant in the room. I know that he enjoys university, but I’m not altogether sure it’s for the best reasons. Oh, his results are predictably good, but maybe could be better with a little less emphasis on social life. And his university friends?
Well, you just don’t know, do you?
That, I suppose, is the problem. How do you live with and ignore that disgust?
I don’t think his brother knows. But we don’t see a lot of him, working out in China and Hong Kong. Just as well, really. Now, I thought he was the wild and reckless one, but he has channelled it usefully. Telecoms is a profitable game if you get into the right deals at the right time – and Peter has. To think that we worried about him and took our eye off Mark, who appeared sensible, self-contained, home-loving.
How wrong can you be?
Was it our fault? Was there something more that we could have done? Maybe Boarding is the problem: too distant. We thought we were giving him the best.
How much more love can you give a child than a fine education?
Didn’t do Peter any harm – ultimately. Perhaps we could have ensured there was more contact with girls. Bit of a distraction at too young an age, when a young man ought to be preparing for his future but, maybe, carefully managed.
Friends always remarked on his qualities:
Is it a sickness?
How on earth could he do this to us? How could he bring us such shame?
Oh Lord, why us?