The Boy in the Bin

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Somehow Raphael waded through his early childhood without dying from the cold or being smothered by his parents love. His nature might be described as cute and charming and he learned at a young age how to think with effective accuracy. When he didn’t agree with something Natasha put him through, he would accept her while she hovered around. He knew full well he could cajole his desires from either mommy or daddy when they came home.

The day came when Natasha and Sylvia discussed Raphael’s education. Even though his life centered on the home environment, he became aware his parents planned to send him somewhere away for schooling.

“I don’t want to go.” He told his mom.

“Raphael”, Sylvia bubbled, “school is fun and you will meet a lot of friends. Both your daddy and I went to school and now Raphael will get his turn.”

“I won’t be home nwith nyou,” he moaned, “I want to nstay here with nyou.”

Sylvia had a mini-crisis with all this. Being a natural and nurturing person, she wanted to hug Raphael and tell him everything would be OK. However, reality dictated her little boy needed to fly on his own and going to school existed as a big part of life experience.

“Oh baby,” she whooshed, “school is so important. You will learn wonderful things and you can come home at night and tell us all the neat things you learned. You are a smart little boy and we want you to be smarter.”

“What if nyou could home nschool me”, Raphael stated with a nasal twang. “I think some parents do nthat for their kids.”

“Raphael,” his mom told him, “home schooling is not an option in this house because your daddy and I both work full time. If I worked as a housewife and didn’t take my obligations in a serious manner, things would be much different. Anyway honey, going to school will be fun for you.”

“If nyou loved me nyou wouldn’t make me do this,” Raphael stated, “so I guess nyou don’t love me.”

“RAPHAEL!” his mother barked, “Don’t you ever, ever repeat those words again! Daddy and I love you and when you say mean things like what you said, you hurt us. Now you are going to school and I want no more conversation about how you don’t want to go! I don’t want to find out about any more arguments.”

“All leetle boys go to school,” Natasha chimed in. “You can play games and be with other leetle boys and girls and I’ll be here when you come home.”

Raphael, now at the ripe old age of five years old, didn’t like this. For the first time in his short life, he didn’t get his own way and this became a brutal lesson. After a minute , he came up with a new plan. He dropped the topic until his daddy came home and he could take him aside; alone. Daddy understood, and Raphael would get around Raul by hugging him and telling him how much he loved him. He intended to get his way.

Raul came waltzing in the house at after 6 P.M. His face glowed with a smile and he continued whistling a tune; which told Sylvia her husband loved being the benefactor of a good day at work.

Sylvia kissed him and said “You must take the time to talk with your son; seems he doesn’t want to start going to school.”

Raul went into the living room and found Raphael sitting watching TV. He sneaked up behind Raphael and cuddled him in a big hug.

“Hey,” he whispered in Raphael’s ear, “how’s my big boy today.”

“DADDY!” Raphael hollered.

Raphael turned around and wrapped his arms around Raul’s neck and kissed him. “I’m so glad you are here. Did you enjoy a good day at work?”

Raul’s eyes beamed at the obvious love from his son. He worked long hours and stayed away at the office for the majority of time. Coming home to an appreciative family made the day worthwhile.

“Daddy did enjoy a fantastic day at work,” Raul confirmed. “So good in fact, I brought you a little surprise.”

Raphael got pumped up with the thought of getting a new toy. His daddy, occasionally, brought home presents for him and he enjoyed them. Would this be a toy car, an airplane or possibly even a bike to ride around the neighborhood? No matter what, he convinced himself the gift would be special. His thoughts centered on the fact he wouldn’t be going to school. He planned on getting into a deep conversation with Raul, but he got sidetracked at the thought of a new toy.

“What kind of present daddy?” Raphael wondered. “I can’t wait for your surprise because you always bring me the nicest presents.”

“After dinner Son,” Raul laughed. “I want the excitement to build a little bit more.”

Even though Raphael became disappointed his immediate gratification existed beyond reach, he still pulled Raul down and gave him a big hug.

“Okay Daddy,” he agreed, “I’ll wait until after dinner. Will nyou promise not to keep me waiting too long?”

“No Raphael,” Raul assured, “Right after dinner.”

The three sat down to a delicious meal of Sirloin Tips on rice, green bean casserole and cornbread. Most of the meal Natasha prepared earlier and popped in the refrigerator. This way, Sylvia only needed to put everything in the oven when she came home from work. Sylvia considered Natasha a real Godsend because she did so many tasks around the house. She wished Natasha behaved a little more flexible with her treatment of Raphael because she thought she acted harsh towards her loving baby boy.

Snippets of conversations and statements Natasha made caused her some concern, but they came from love and not malice. She accepted her attitude because deep down she realized her Raphael needed a little more discipline. Natasha took much of the weight off of Raul and her.

She once asked Raphael if Natasha ever spanked him and he said no. He said sometimes she would be mean and not let him eat snacks;. Sometimes he couldn’t play the TV until after his nap or something of a similar order. This gave Sylvia a real sense of relief because she liked her. She didn’t want to think what would happen if Natasha got too carried away with her authority.

After dinner, Raul retired to read the paper. Sylvia set about cleaning the dishes and putting away the remnants of the evening meal. Predictably, Raphael dashed into the room to join his father; crawling up on his lap.

“Raphael,” Raul complained, “I’m trying to read the paper.” “Where’s my surprise nyou promised?”

“What surprise are you talking about son?” Raul questioned with innocence.

“Oh daddy,” Raphael chortled, “nyou’re fooling me.” Raul got up out of his chair and placed Raphael in the seat.

“You must sit here and close your eyes,” he commanded, “and I will go and get your present.”

Raphael sat all aglow with anticipation. He put his hands up to cover his eyes and proclaimed, “OK Daddy, I’m ready.”

He envisioned a new bike and thought of all his enjoyment, riding around the neighborhood and showing his present off to the neighbor kids.

Raul peeked around the corner and made sure Raphael still covered his eyes. He came into the room and said, “OK son, you can open your eyes.”

Raphael opened his eyes and flashed an expression of total shock. His father held a brand new briefcase.

“A BRIEFCASE?” Raphael stuttered. “What am I going to do nwith a briefcase?”

“Raphael,” Raul remarked, “this is for your school papers and books. You will grow up to be a fine young executive, and every executive should own a professional briefcase.”

Raphael was distraught on two counts. The first being the fact he didn’t get the toy he thought he deserved to get. Raul informed him he would go to school. Raphael didn’t want to go to school, but the discussion with daddy about his surprise distracted him. Now he had no chance of convincing Raul to home school him.

“Daddy,” he mourned, “I don’t want to go to nschool. I thought nyou and mommy might home nschool me.”

“No son,” Raul spoke with a calm demeanor, “home schooling is not good enough for my boy. We want you to getting the finest education money can buy. The administrator and I talked and I arranged for you to get special attention. Going to school will be a good time for you son; trust me.


The level of Raphael’s rage came as sort of a shock to Raul. So much so, Sylvia came flying in to investigate what caused the problem. Upon seeing her little baby boy all puffed up and red with anger, she had an urge to run to Raphael and cuddle him. But Raul stood like a tower between Raphael and Sylvia and took the majority of flack Raphael spewed out.

“Honey,” she queried, “Why don’t you want to go to school?”

“Because,” Raphael answered, “I want to hstay home and play. Besides, I don’t like some of the neighbor kids who would be in my class. They ntease me and push me around.”

“Well I’m sorry you don’t agree with us Son,” Raul interjected, “but you are going to school and you are going to make your mom and I proud. Understand this; life is not all play. Life offers a time for play and a time for work. I work and your mommy works. Now you will go to school and that’s your work.”

Raphael pulled his last trick out of the bag. Tears welled up in his eyes and he peered at his father.

“If nyou loved me, nyou wouldn’t make me go. So I guess nyou don’t love me.”

This was the same line he used on his mother earlier. The effect of his outburst resulted in the same response.

“RAPHAEL! Raul shouted, “I don’t ever want to be made aware of you saying those words again!”

Raphael clutched his new briefcase and ran down the hallway to his bedroom. When he got inside, he slammed the door three times, if only to emphasize his feelings. Sylvia followed him when Raul said to her,

“No dear, I will take care of things. He must learn rules are in place and those rules must be followed.”

“But,” Sylvia uttered.

“No Buts,” he argued. “This is the first time we’ve experienced him acting out and I’m going to nip the problem right in the bud.”

Raul charged down the hallway and swung open the door to Raphael’s bedroom. He expected to get into a stern conversation with his son but what he glimpsed, shocked him beyond all belief.

Perched on the sill of the window looking down, stood Raphael. Forty feet below him, the cold hard pavement of the alley loomed like Black Death. Lightning flashed through Raul’s brain as he took in the sight before him.

His son intended to jump.

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