A teen finds a way to work toward his parents' reconciliation.
|Lenny was facing a decision that was heavy duty. His future depended on what he chose to do. His parents were separated for reasons he could not understand, and he had to do something that would get them back together before it was too late.
Watching from the sidelines was tearing him up. It was like being at a sporting event where his favorite team was losing. It was like having a happy dream where events took a turn for the worst, and he awoke with a sense of foreboding. Lenny knew his parents were still in love despite how it looked on the surface, and he felt it was up to him to bring them back together.
It was a separation that had happened suddenly, without any quarreling that led up to it. Lenny did not know why his parents were living independently, and that was the reason he was perplexed. His confusion was exceeded only by his heartache.
No matter what they said or didn't say, Lenny knew that what was wrong was not serious enough for them to be apart. He felt it was up to him to come up with circumstances where they would see that life apart was not the route to take.
He had tried to intervene openly, but it had not changed a thing. The only course of action open to him now was to come up with a sting operation, one which would show his parents the inevitability of reconciling.
He called it a sting operation because it would come out of the blue, with a force like the impact of a sudden giant sting. Lenny felt he had no other choice, if he was to get their undivided attention.
The sting was planned, and Lenny congratulated himself on his planning. It would entail a trip to the family's summer cottage so he would be out of pocket, and his parents would have to work together to figure out where he was.
It might have been nice, thought Lenny, to have an older brother who drove, but he was an only child who did not yet drive. He would have to take a bus to the cottage, but that was not a problem. He got a big enough allowance to pay for his bus fare. And there was always food at the cottage, so he didn't have to worry about that either.
He had to leave a note, so they wouldn't think someone had abducted him. The note said simply that he couldn't accept the separation and needed some time alone to come to grips with it. Lenny packed his duffel bag and checked to see if his Mom was home. She wasn't. After finding the cottage key, he headed toward the bus station.
On the bus Lenny relaxed a bit, sure that he would have enough money left over from his ticket to buy lunch at the bus station cafe. He hadn't eaten any breakfast, and waiting until he got to the cottage to eat was out of the question.
He was not about to go hungry any longer than necessary. There was a two-mile walk from the station to the cottage, and he needed to eat and drink before tackling those two miles.
The cafe had decent fare. Lenny was glad because there was nothing worse than trying to eat unappetizing food. He ordered a second coke. It was in the nineties so he didn't want to chance becoming dehydrated.
Reaching the cottage, Lenny unlocked the front door and entered, relieved to be there at last. He loved this place. Many happy family memories flooded his mind. The for sale sign out front, though, had taken him by surprise. He hadn't known his parents were selling the place.
Lenny made himself comfortable in the overstuffed chair in the living room, and turned on the TV. He was tired and drifted off to sleep. When he awoke it was mid-afternoon, and there was a knock at the door. He wondered if he should hide upstairs. More than likely it was a realtor with a customer in tow.
If anyone saw him there, who knows what would happen next? The realtor might call the police, thinking he was a runaway. That would be the ultimate irony, to be detained for running away when that was exactly what he was doing. It was running away with a purpose in mind, to make his parents aware of just how incongruous the separation was, but it was running away nonetheless.
He went upstairs and looked out one of the windows, hoping to see whether there was a car out front. There was one he didn't recognize at first, but it wasn't one with a realtor's logo on the side. Lenny decided that hiding was juvenile, so he went downstairs and opened the front door.
A stranger stood there smiling. He extended his hand, and Lenny shook it.
“I'm Paul Breedlove, and I have a cottage near here. My parents want to get a place near mine, and I saw the for sale sign yesterday. I was supposed to meet a realtor, but she just called to postpone our meeting. I thought I would knock to see if anyone just happened to be here.”
Lenny liked this man right away. He invited Paul inside, and asked him to sit down. After about twenty minutes of detailed conversation, Paul told Lenny he was a marriage counselor and gave him a business card to give to his parents. Lenny knew his parents had not sought help, so he took the card and put it in his wallet.
Paul asked Lenny if he thought his parents would be interested in reconciliation, and Lenny said that he thought they might be willing to try it. He wasn't at all certain, though, since he had tried once to intervene with no success. It might have gone better had he suggested marriage counseling, but it had not been part of his intervention.
Paul suggested that Lenny end the runaway routine and speak to his parents again. Paul stressed how not letting them know where he was would just add more stress to the overall stressful situation, so calling them was advisable.
Lenny thanked Paul for his good advice. Before Paul left, he said he would be on call in this instance, in case when his parents came to get him they wanted to speak with Paul right then.
Lenny sat in the overstuffed chair once again, mulling over what he would say to make his parents want to try counseling. The first thing he would say was that he wanted both of them to come get him. That was his condition for coming home.
He felt that they needed to make this concession if there was to be any hope of reconciliation. Riding to the cottage together would be the perfect opportunity for them to discuss all of what had transpired since the separation.
Lenny called his Mom, told her where he was, and asked for her and his Dad to come together to get him. She agreed, saying that she and he needed to talk anyway, and the ride to the cottage would be the perfect opportunity to air and discuss issues that had caused the split up. Lenny was heartened.
While waiting for his parents, Lenny ate dinner and called Paul to tell him what was up. When his parents arrived, they appeared to be in jovial spirits and told Lenny they had decided to work out their differences of opinion with help from a professional counselor.
Lenny handed them Paul's business card. He told them how he and Paul had met, and suggested they speak to Paul right then to arrange for sessions at their earliest convenience. His parents looked at each other and both of them smiled. Lenny's persistence wore them down, and his Dad made the call. He got off the phone, and told Lenny and his Mom that the first session would be tomorrow morning.
“Being here brings back fond memories,” said Lenny's Mom, “and serves as reassurance that we're doing the right thing. I give you credit for bringing us to this point, Lenny, for seeing the necessity to toss recent chaos away.”