The next day I received a text from Bird about 11:00 am.
Hi Jess, Can I ask you a question?
“Of course,” I responded without thinking.
And then it occurred to me that this text message was nothing like any I had ever received from Bird in the past. For one, Bird rarely, if ever calls me by my name. She would never ask me if she could ask a question, because for her, asking a question signifies weakness. And third, Bird has never used a friendly tone in any of her communications with me.
Would you be willing to let Ian stay with me until we can sort this mess out?
I knew instantly who the text messages were from. They had Dylan written all over them. And I knew exactly what he and Bird were doing but I played dumb so that I could let them bury themselves a bit further.
“I don’t understand” I texted back.
I could visualize Bird grabbing the phone from Dylan. He had probably convinced her to let him text me and it wasn’t going as planned. The next text had an entirely different tone and was clearly from Bird.
I just heard from Dylan. He won’t tell me where he is unless I can promise him I can pick him up and he can stay with me. He’s willing to do outpatient care but he does not want to be put back in rehab.
Was this suddenly a hostage situation? Let’s see…Bird and Dylan were asking me to agree to not put Dylan back into treatment and hand him back over to Bird. And in exchange, I would get to know where my son was! I was obviously in some kind of parallel universe of Bird and Dylan’s making. Still, I was relieved to know that Dylan was safe.
Bird kept texting me wanting explicit permission to pick Dylan up but refused to reveal his location. I wasn’t complying. The texts kept coming.
He said he ran because the director told him he couldn’t call me. He said she told him that everything had to go through you. He lost his lifeline and bolted. He wants me to take him home tonight so he can shower….rest….and deal with everything tomorrow.
“His lifeline?” I recoiled at her use of the word. Suddenly the only person on earth that could help Dylan was Bird? Who exactly was I? Just the person who gave birth to Dylan and cared for him for the last 15 years. Apparently I had just been incidental to the process. My vagina begs to differ.
I called the police and gave them the address where Bird was staying. The officer called me back an hour later to tell me that no one had been there. I called Dylan’s substance abuse counselor and told her what was going on. She told me she had some time if I wanted to come in and discuss what to do next. I took her up on it.
We met and talked. I can’t recall now what was said. By the time we were done it was dark and rainy. I drove home and had just set my keys on the counter when the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but given the situation I answered anyway.
A woman’s voice came out of the speaker that I didn’t recognize. She asked for me by my full name. For a second I thought I had been caught by a bill collector.
“This is Carla Liez. I’m an attorney representing Bird. We are filing for temporary emergency custody of Dylan. There is a hearing tomorrow at 11, and you are invited to attend”.
Oh, I’m invited to attend?”, I said, my blood boiling. “I guess you must not look into your cases before you take them on. Did you know Bird has lived in a trailer she pulls behind her truck for most of her adult life? Did you know she is attempting to interfere with him getting medically indicated treatment?!!”
Her voice was annoyingly non-reactive. “You are invited to attend the hearing tomorrow, at 11 o’clock.”
“Oh, I’ll be there,” I said emphatically, and hung up.