As I mentioned, I've been spending some time every week with Maxim. In order to avoid Presbyterian Church, and to have an opportunity to get things out of me, he thoughtfully decided that he'd go to Mass with us each week. His "order" was that he wanted to go with "just you, Mrs. Kitching - no kids". Well, I am silly enough to have complied with this absurd request for a couple of weeks - ignoring totally the underlying idea that Mass is all about unity and community. However, I fondly figured that he just "wanted my undivided attention". Sure. He wanted me alone all right, so he could terrorize me at will as described in this previous post about a Sunday Mass excursion gone awry. So, rather than go to Mass twice a weekend just to accommodate this young criminal, Sunday before last I just picked him up with kids in the car. He wasn't happy, but he came along.
Mass was fine; I dropped Sergei off at home, and kept Anastasia and Zhen with me as I drove to drop Maxim off, figuring he'd have to "behave himself" with them in the car. This was not the way it worked out, unfortunately. In fact, we had a near reenactment of the horrific episode I described in that last post....except it lasted longer since he didn't accelerate the nastiness of his behavior quite as quickly due to the witnesses. I'd actually pulled up in his family's driveway this time, too.... But I was persistent and he eventually got very ugly, upping the ante in terms of threat. Finally, when he began to use profanity every other word, became threatening, and refused to get out of the car, I told the kids to get out and go up to the P's and I grabbed my purse and ran after them.
I didn't tell the P's the whole story, but frankly was too upset to be able to pretend I was just dropping by to say "hi". As I stood in their vestibule I was wondering if we'd need the police to eject him from the car....but no. As we talked I saw him get out and walk away. I could certainly understand why he didn't want to come in!
We left, I dropped the kids off at home, and as is my constant burden this time of year headed back to my office. I dropped by the church first to pick something up - and realized.....my church keys were not where I thought they'd been. In the console. Well.....I'm not the most organized person. They could be anywhere. I checked the purse, under the seats.
Actually, I hadn't really finished checking the car before the vision came to me - that is all I can say. A fully-formed vision of Maxim taking my keys with him from the car, with the intention of holding them ransom. I even knew somehow where he'd taken them - he'd taken them to the empty house next door. But my conscious mind told myself I was hallucinating; that was crazy.
I spent the next couple of days with the periodic fearful lurch of my stomach at the idea of having lost the church keys (I'd just put those three bright, shiny new ones on this ring, mind you) and the memory of the relief of finding them again was still new - HOW could they be gone AGAIN????? I searched all over, but frankly, I did in a perfunctory way. Because that vision was so clear. Maxim and the keys. I knew why he'd taken them; I knew that hadn't worked out for him (holding them ransom for cigarettes, because I'd left and he wasn't going to do something like that over the phone.) I was fearful that he might just throw the evidence in the P's dumpster. Yet, in my other life I was also looking under couch cushions all over my office, etc.
I went to far as to call the P's. Mrs. P hesitated to ask him about them, as she'd just had a wonderful talk with him, felt close to him and didn't want to jeopardize that. Believe me, I'd been there and understood. A day or two later I asked Mr. P if he'd happened to have seen them, or mentioned it. No. Finally, my distress was out of bounds. And I was having trouble doing my work as I could only be in my church office during office hours (I have to tell you there is no way I can get my work done during office hours!) So, one night I called and asked to speak to Maxim. As they went to call him to the phone I could hear his cheerful voice in the background. Good.
"Uh, Maxim...[pause] Any chance you've seen my church keys?" I somehow knew he'd confess and he did. I asked, "Are they where you could give them to me?" He said they were; I came and got them. I saw him run out of his house and lope (yes) to the house next door where he retrieved them from the porch. I nicely thanked him and gave him a coke and a bag of candy. To my surprise, he gave me a handful of Russian candies. That was big. Quite a sacrificial "sorry" from him.
I do not know why in retrospect this episode amuses me. I think it is just because I realize that I know him so well. I knew he took them. I knew why. I was pretty sure he'd give them back, if possible. And it all worked out just that way.