Thursday, 8 April 2010
When Angels go home
No one said I had to like the teenagers I took in from courts and youth justice. In fact there were several that I actively disliked, but who had no where to go so for their own sakes and that of their hard working legal teams I would babysit them until their court dates. One such irksome boy who lied every time he opened his mouth brought back a friend to stay. I wasn't supposed to notice him living with us but as he was quiet and obviously needed a roof over his head at 15 then I chose to look the other way instead of losing the young lad to those that would lead him to harm and destruction. My first task was to separate him from the boy who had brought him as this one was destined for jail and certainly no good influence on my boy with haunting features and a kindness about him.
After a few days of winning Richards trust,I found out that he was up for a multitude of car theft and burglary charges but hadn't attended court.There was something about him that struck a chord with me. His sweetness and politeness. He wasn't evil,he wasnt nasty so there had to be a reason why he had carried out all these acts.
I set about finding courts and court dates persuading Richard that if I went to court and stood up for him like no one else ever had and it went wrong,I would drive him to Bournemouth and leave him there so he would be free. We made a pact and never once did he ever lie to me or not do as he said and I was exactly the same in my behaviour towards him. I took him shopping and bought him things in Top Shop that he had never had before. He smiled all the time. He was such a pleasure to have around that he became my Richard and to my daughter he became a brother.
We had an immaculate suit that we used for court appearances if new kids didn't possess presentable clothes and so Richard was dressed and polished within an inch of his life. We attended youth court sitting downstairs on the meagre chairs in Basingstoke court. A large man was talking to the bailiff saying that Richard Ayres hadn't bothered to show again. I stood up and corrected him. Richard smiled because just once he had done something right and he had someone with him who was going to tell the court that he was doing it right. He was bailed to me. Everyone was happy because a problem had gone away. A senior police officer once confided to me that Richard was a prolific car thief as a child. He would find a car and take it to where he wanted to go. He would rob to find food and then he would sleep in either that car or another that had fuel in. It never once dawned on him that the consequences of his behaviour had a catastrophic affect on his victims. He simply saw what he did as a means of survival. It was possible to follow the trail of Richard from Basingstoke to Cove,Frimley,Farnborough,Odiham. Finally he had a roof over his head and as much food as he wanted. We used to go night rallying and he adored it. Totally legally being out in a car having fun without harming anyone. He was literally bailed to me and on a curfew so as long as he was actually in my presence he was fine and out of trouble. There were those that tried to pull him back into a bad way of life but he was smart enough to know he had been given a big break.
He dealt with youth justice and and life was looking good for him. He still did crazy things but not bad things. He once played chicken with a knife with the idiot that had brought him to me and ended up severing a tendon in his hand. His fingers flopped and I had to take him to see a specialist to get the tendons reattached. I have nerves of steel but Richards nerves were far ,far stronger. He refused pain relief and watched avidly as the specialist put tweezers inside his hand and pulled the tendon ends. He reattached layer after layer until apart from surface stitches nothing showed.
Richard had years of tradition behind him and taught me a lot about the true travelling way of life. Once after a party he insisted on searching for a hedgehog to bake in clay,just for me to try. He got told in no uncertain terms not to and he flashed his wonderful dark eyes showing he had just got one up on me.
Richard used to visit his little brother Dwayne who was a miniature version of his elder brother and equally beautiful in manners and looks. He reestablished contact with his family and finally made the decision to live with his sister. He had a lot of loyalty and would stand up for any of us and one day he did. Sadly a fight turned into a serious injury and Richard once again faced court and a jail sentence. I was absolutely gutted and there was nothing I could do to get him home safe.
He served a sentence and when he got out his father Freddy brought him to see me. I cried as I hugged him and he just laughed and smiled hugging me back.
He came and saw me several times telling me about his girlfriend and staying out of trouble.He had a red trials bike and I begged him to be careful. He just laughed that same white teethed huge friendly smile. I moved to Wales and got caught up in stuff that smashed my life to bits but always I tried to find out how Rich was and his adorable little mini me brother Dwayne.
Richard once tied tape to the leg of an antique table for whatever reason and it will remain there forever. He used to play a song over and over "save the best till last " by a unknown artist and every time I hear that song I will go back to that time of being lucky enough to have spent time with someone so so special who taught me about loyalty.
On the 16th September 2005 Richard died in a motor cycle accident.
I would never see the boy I chose to be part of my family again. Dwayne survived another 3 years until he was murdered in a cowardly attack. Stabbed until his life drained away.
Never could their be two sweeter natured boys who had overcome so much and gone on to raise good families and make good relationships. Never will there be another Richard and Dwayne because they were both as special as special could ever be.
Wherever they are in heaven I know they will be dishing out sweetness to everyone around them and every now and again swooping down to wrap their wings round any of us feeling sad or needing help. When the sun shines I know its them smiling at us encouraging us all to live our lives to the full until we meet again as I know we all will.