Missing From Care
Harold first realised something was wrong when Mrs Seeger walked into his office with a towel covering her blouse. He finished the mouthful of sandwich he was eating, letting the last few tastes of chocolate spread fade from his tongue.
"Visit went well, did it? Let me guess. Aaron's done a runner again."
"Afraid so," Mrs Seeger said, rolling her eyes. "I had a feeling it would go badly."
"And you still wore a white blouse?"
“I know! Rookie mistake! But I’m in court this afternoon and I wanted to make a good impression. I’ve got a spare suit in the car though.”
“Okay, so what happened?” Harold felt for the right form in his desk drawer. “Might as well get the paperwork done before we go and get him.”
“You don’t want to drag him back from the bus stop again then?”
Harold paused, and then shook his head. Unfortunately this wasn’t his first runaway. Or even his hundredth. “No, he needs to cool down. Last time we picked him up too soon was when he smashed his window and snuck out again in the middle of the night...”
Mrs Seeger sighed, “I remember. Thank goodness the train conductor had seen our appeal on twitter!”
“Precisely, so if you agree I think we should let him calm down, he’ll get the bus into town and hang around with his mates from the chip shop, and we’ll check he’s okay in a couple of hours.”
“There’s the risk he’ll go somewhere else though,” said Mrs Seeger.
Harold knew she was just playing devil’s advocate. Aaron always went to the same place, and she knew he was safe there. “Yeah but we take the same risk every time we send him to school. I think it’s the best option for Aaron.”
“Agreed. So can one of your staff pick him up later? I’m the last person he’d want to see at the moment.”
“No problem.” Harold filled in Aaron’s name and address at the top of the form. He reached a box that was simply labelled “circumstances”.
“So why did he run this time? You told him about his dad?”
“That’s the one. He did not take it well.”
Harold sniffed. “Poor kid. He’s a little brat but he’s a good lad.”
“He is.” Mrs Seeger smiled. “I’ve got high hopes for that boy. Anyway I’d best get to court. Let me know when he’s safely home. I’ll come round tomorrow and try to smooth things over. I don’t want him thinking I’ve abandoned him.”
“He likes you. We can all tell.”
“I hope so.” Mrs Seeger smiled. “See you tomorrow.”
“See ya,” said Harold, returning to his form. “Oh, and Harmony. Good luck in court.”