Ms. Sillow was sound asleep in her bedroom when she was awoken in the wee hours one morning by a loud stream of water filling up the bathtub in the bathroom down the hall from her room. Certain that an intruder had made their way into the decrepit cottage - perhaps mistaking it for an abandoned building in the middle of the woods - she scooped up the oak cane that used to belong to her father from beside her bed and hurriedly made her way down the hall to beset whomever was inside her home uninvited. When she entered the bathroom with the cane raised high over her head, fully prepared to protect the lives of her and Presley; the culprit spat out these words speedily in self-defense: “Please don’t beat me again.” Ms. Sillow stopped instantly in her tracks. Her jaw almost touched the ground when she saw her grandson with his arms crossed over one another in the front of his face in the form of an X, quaking at the thought of being battered like an animal once again. After all, all he was guilty of was trying to set some water so that he could take his first bath in a little over a month’s time. He didn’t think that something so trivial should warrant a lashing.
His grandmother surely would have struck him with the cane repeatedly for disrupting her sleep if she hadn’t seen what she saw upon entering the bathroom. With all of her grandson’s clothes removed, Ms. Sillow was mortified to see just how badly she had damaged that little boy’s body. For a woman who had been so apathetic to sympathy as of late, she couldn’t help but be moved at the sight of the ghastly alterations she had made to his exterior. Her facial features cringed as she saw large blue and purplish circular welts splotched all over his body as a result of her overly-forceful blows to his fragile frame. Also clearly visible were half-healed areas of flesh where she had ruthlessly torn his skin away from with the dry, cracked leather belt. But the most horrendous thing of all that Ms. Sillow observed was the damage to her grandson’s private parts and its surround areas. After steeping in his bodily waste for so long, fungal and bacterial infections inevitably made their mark. Nasty-looking blemishes that had initially covered Presley’s lower body had by now spread all the way to the middle of his stomach. Had he been bedridden for a bit longer, his face and scalp would have inevitably been covered in rashes, too.
When the cane had fallen out of Ms. Sillow’s hands, she hadn’t even realized it. Seeing her grandson in the condition that he was in, she couldn’t help but want to assist him in any way that she possibly could. And that was exactly what she did. That morning, she bathe him and began tending to his numerous bodily detriments. Crazy or not, she just wanted to help a child in need. She just wanted to do the right thing.
Presley wasn’t too enthused about the act that he believed his grandma was putting on, though. He kicked and screamed and hollered and cussed as she bathe him, convinced that at some point or another she was going to try and drown him. His erratic behavior didn’t change as she treated his wounds and skin infections. He plain didn’t trust the woman. And who could blame him? Certainly Ms. Sillow couldn’t. She knew that she had screwed up, but she was adamant about making the relationship between her and the boy a good one once more.
She restrained herself from getting riled up when he would call her names or shoot derogatory comments her way. She made it her duty to tell him that she loved him every so often. She was preparing him meals that she knew he would have enjoyed rather than feeding him what she wanted to feed him. She was doing everything that she could have possibly thought of to win her grandson’s love back over. But there was one thing that Presley would do that would make her efforts seem all for naught. There was that one thing that Ms. Sillow had great difficulty tolerating: Anytime that Presley made mention of his mother, she would have to work extra hard at keeping herself from overreacting. Sometimes she just couldn’t help herself, though. On occasion she would find herself involved in little back and forth tiffs with her grandson concerning Sondra’s capabilities as a parent. From there, things escalated to the point where if she heard anything in regards to Sondra, it was sure to get some sort of fervid reaction out of her. Once Presley found this out, he made light of the situation and would bring up his mother’s name on purpose just to piss his grandmother off. Revenge was the most gratifying feeling in the world for the boy. That was until he got socked in the mouth one day after repetitively speaking about his mother for that whole entire day. And just like that, Presley learned the hard way that he had to maintain a level of respect for his fickle grandmother.