Pedophile or Just Papa?
What’s the truth?
I wait, for what seems like far too long, outside the bathroom door at a private party. A man and a young boy, probably his son, had enter ahead of me. (The boy appeared old enough to go in alone, but maybe he needed help.)
I chat with others in line. After perhaps five minutes, I start to feel uneasy. I step to the door and knock. No response. I fall back into line and talk about the celebration that has brought us all together. A few more minutes pass, and my concern grows.
There could be a dozen reasons why they are in the bathroom so long, but I feel like something is amiss.
The door swings open. The man is helping the boy put on his dress-up suit coat. (Why did he need to remove his coat to use the toilet?) The boy’s eyes are lowered as he steps past the line. (Boys are allowed to be shy. Walking out of a bathroom is a private time.) The man doesn’t look our way or stop to make conversation. (Nothing wrong with his behavior.)
OK, this stuff rolls through my head and haunts me for days afterward. Can I trust my gut? Was that boy groomed or abused behind the closed door? What in the world could I have done about it anyway?
I wonder repeatedly, why was his coat off? There’s nothing solid to grab onto in this scene. There’s nothing to report. Feelings aren’t evidence.
So, I’m going to believe that the boy had spilled food on his nice, new jacket, and his dad was helping him to clean it.
I hope this is the truth.