I'm now finally through three episodes of Season 4, and I swear, Dukie is almost exactly like Mike was when I first met him - dirty, smart, funny. He even looks like him, and his home life (was) how I imagined it to be.
Since he moved in with a distant relative over the summer, Mike has continued to do well. He stops by and sees me most days after school. He has intelligence and wit that most adults don't yet have, so my colleague and I trade jokes with him and he's always ready with a humorous reply. He's a fun kid to talk to and to root for. I often give him a ride home and sometimes try to stop by McDonald's and get him some dinner, since the 2nd cousin he lives with works nights. I took him Christmas shopping to Wal-Mart so he could get her something, and I bet we were an odd pair, looking at bathroom soaps in baskets, him chatting up every older woman passerby about what to buy and the older women being taken in by his charm and then looking at me, the white guy, standing with the cart.
Now, he's even happier than he was in the winter; he has a girlfriend that he can't stop goofily grinning about, he is doing well academically, and he is even thinking about joining the track team. At face value, he is a normal, well-adjusted kid.
On Feb. 1, a date I've been dreading for a while, he is set to go to a court date, and the adult 2nd cousin who has been caring for him is set to give him up. Barring someting unforeseen, he'll go into foster care. He's been in and out of them before - hates it, never wants to go back, says he might not really come to school much if that happens. I don't know how someone who is family could do something like this cousin is doing - to provide stability, and then to yank it away (though I admit I don't know all their business). My colleague jokes that she has the paperwork already ready for me to begin the adoption process; she knows the situation with "Bobby" a few years back, when he stayed in my basement for the last few months of his senior year until his full-ride scholarship kicked in at the University of Maryland (where, by the way, he is a sophomore and excelling... maybe I'll post a photo of him soon since he's so far out of high school - he is the American Dream to me). But I'm in a different living situation now, and it would just be impossible. Send good thoughts Mike's way. I don't know what happens to Dukie in The Wire (maybe by the end of the weekend, I'll have it all watched), but if it's what I think is coming, I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle it, or handle watching Mike going into foster care.
NL Central Notes: Hart, Choo, Arroyo, Cardinals - Brewers GM Doug Melvin indirectly shed some light on the philosophical differences which led to trading Brett Lawrie to the Blue Jays. Lawrie's name came up ...
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