In Search of the Truth
Nancy had reported back to the school head she couldn’t be certain of any physical abuse for the child. What could have been threatening signals to Sven’s wife could also be interpreted as being upset the mother had not supervised her child climbing a tree. If the father was interested enough to build play equipment for his son there’d have to be some love for the child, and the mother being from another country it was probable she felt uncomfortable being questioned about her son as she’d not fully understand her new cultural environment yet or motives of people asking questions.
Sven understood the reason for Nancy’s visit so was careful from that time onward not to touch the child as he knew teachers would be looking for any evidence of child abuse. But he substituted psychological abuse instead of physical violence.
Sven had a violent childhood experience and was modelling things he’d learned. His father had been an upright father in the eyes of the public but at home it was quite different when out of the view of people who looked up to him. Sven’s father had been viewed as a pillar of the community and they misinterpreted his mother’s reticence to show herself in public as a form of dysfunctional personality that Sven’s father should be pitied for. Sven was just repeating what he’d learned from his father and had deliberately chosen a Filipina bride reasoning being a cultural implant she’d not have the means to fight back. He was a tortured man inside and his condition made him dangerous.
Sven was not able to get his mind off Nancy’s visit. It both alarmed him and simultaneously prompted a yearning in him that became an obsession. He insisted on delivering Virgilio to school. The mother in Dalisay sensed danger and resisted but was beaten to the point where she could resist no longer. She sent up a prayer to her patron Saint for protection but could do no more. She began to consider getting help and she too thought of Miss Nancy the teacher who’d shown empathy for her. But how could she meet her when she was even denied the privilege of taking her son to school?
For several days Sven sat in the parking lot of the school not releasing Virgilio daily until he saw Nancy arrive and park in the teachers parking lot. He’d deliver Virgilio personally to her effusing charm as he did and hoping to manipulate her. He wanted to neutralize any danger and perhaps make Nancy another of his long list of conquests and discards. But Nancy was well educated and insightful and while careful and courteous she felt a clear sense of caution. She was beginning to have second thoughts about those bruises and even though there was no present evidence she sensed the boy was unhappy and withdrawn.
Virgilio felt safe in the company of Miss Nancy and she cultivated this feeling hoping to draw out the truth of his family situation. During recesses over the next few weeks she inquired about his life in the Philippines showing enthusiasm for the things that obviously had happy memories for him. He delighted in her responses and slowly came out of his cacoon. She helped him catch up with others in his class until she could see him growing in confidence, Then, during one of those recesses she asked him whether he was still climbing trees in his backyard.
Virgilio continued working on his assignment. He preferred being near Miss Nancy during recess rather than playing with the other kids and under normal circumstances this would not be allowed. But Nancy’s suspicions had been discussed in confidence with her superior and it was understood this may be necessary for the present. They had to be sure their suspicions had foundation before taking the matter up with authorities.
In that the child had not answered she tried again. “Did you fall out of the tree and get hurt? You had a lot of bruises on your body that time I visited in your home.”
Virgilio continued with his workbook. “Didn’t fall out of the tree, I was trying to stop Sven from beating my Mom and he hit me.” He said it without thinking about it and without any emotion as he continued to give full attention to his workbook.
Nancy patted him on the head. “You’re a good boy Virgilio, I think you should play with the other children sometimes, don’t you? They must be sad you don’t spend time with them out of class.”
Virgilio looked up in surprise. “But Sven said you all hate foreigners and will never want to be friends with us but have to so the children may not like me.”
Tears formed in Nancy’s eyes. “I hope you don’t think I hate you Virgilio because I don’t. In fact, I like you very much!”
Virgilio saw the tears in Nancy’s eyes and felt bad. He came over and held onto her until Nancy stood up. “Come on, let’s go out and join the other children playing.”
To be continued.
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