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There’s Patience And Then There’s… Whatever This Is

, , , , , | Legal | December 13, 2020

When I am in high school, I have a classmate who is growing up in foster care, bouncing around from home to home. With all the constant switching, he learns that he can get away with pretty much anything because nobody actually punishes him for it. They just ship him off to the next foster home and let the new family worry about him.

One of my cousins, who lives in the same town, feels really sorry for this guy because of his “rough life” and thinks that if he only had a friend, he would realize how mean he is being and start being nice, instead. She is determined to be his friend no matter what he does.

One day, when all three of us — [Cousin], [Classmate], and I — are about sixteen, [Cousin] and I go to a fast food restaurant together. To our surprise, [Classmate] is working behind the counter.

Cousin: “Hey, [Classmate], I didn’t know you worked here.”

Classmate: “Yeah, it’s only temporary. I only got a job because my new foster family thinks I need to learn responsibility or something. I hate it, and my boss hates me, but I’m getting paid, so whatever.”

Cousin: “Well… it’s nice that your new foster family cares about you and that you have some money now.”

Classmate: “Nah, they don’t care. They just caught me smoking weed and told me that I could either get a job or go to juvie.”

Cousin: “Oh… Well… that’s nice of them to not call the police, I guess.”

Classmate: “Whatever. I’m trying to get fired and blame it on my boss. As long as I can convince my foster family that my boss is just rude, they’ll stay off my back about it.”

Cousin: “What do you mean, trying to get fired?”

Classmate: “You know, spitting in the fryer and licking the hamburger buns and stuff. I’ve been doing stuff like that all week, but my manager hasn’t caught me yet.”

I finally drag [Cousin] out of the restaurant, and when I tell my parents what [Classmate] said, my mom calls the restaurant to tell the manager what is going on. [Classmate] is immediately fired, and his foster family ships him off to another family in a different part of the county. A few months later, [Classmate] shows up back at school. [Cousin] and I run into him in the hallway, and after asking him about the last few months, [Cousin] apologizes for getting him fired from his job at the fast food restaurant.

Classmate: “Don’t worry about it. I found a new way to get some money.”

Cousin: “Oh, you got another job?”

Classmate: “Nah, f*** that. My new foster dad had surgery a few months ago. He has some pain pills left over, so I brought them to school to sell to kids.”

Cousin: “You’re… selling medicine?”

Classmate: “Yeah, $10 a pill. You guys want any?”

Once again, I dragged [Cousin] away from this guy. [Classmate] ended up getting caught selling the pills and was finally sent to juvenile detention for a year. [Cousin] tried to stay in touch with him; her parents banned her from visiting him in person, but she called him on the phone and wrote him letters.

Because of her optimism, [Cousin] and I drifted apart pretty quickly and stopped talking to each other.

[Classmate] was released from juvenile detention after serving his sentence. By then, [Cousin], [Classmate], and I were all seventeen or eighteen years old, and [Cousin] decided to get [Classmate] a gift to celebrate his release. Before she could give it to him, [Classmate] was arrested while trying to break into a pharmacy to steal prescription drugs. He was arrested, tried as an adult, and sent to prison.

[Cousin] STILL thought he was a good guy and started visiting him in prison. When he was released, he proposed to [Cousin] “because she cared so much about him,” and of course, [Cousin] said yes. Not even a week after he was released from prison, he was arrested AGAIN — this time for pulling a gun on a pharmacy cashier and demanding money and drugs. He and [Cousin] got married while he was in prison, and [Cousin] STILL thinks he’s a good guy who just needs a friend.

I guess some people are just meant for each other?

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