I guessed they would have to come. With the headmaster being so ‘worried’ about me and all. He was that kind of guy. If he thought you were a real lost case he’d get your parents in just so he could humiliate you before he chucked you out.
My parents came quite quick. Considering they had been late for every other major event in my life. They were even late when I got in the swim team with old Bradman. His parents got there before we had even got changed. And my parents were so damn late they only got to see me receive a certificate for ‘good effort’.
‘And how are you Mr and Mrs Caulfield? I trust you have been keeping well’. I couldn’t even look at him. Every syllable that exited his mouth was phony. He knew that my folks were devastated. He was just stringing them along, pretending there might be a last minute reprieve.
Then suddenly his phoniness kind of faded away. He didn’t have to be courteous to boy who hadn’t flourished in this great establishment.
‘To be quite honest Holden is a waste of space, he’s socially inept, he’s flunked almost all of his courses and he seems to show no remorse. To be frank the sooner he leaves the better’.
I could take that, but I could see my parents’ faces visibly drop. I thought if Allie had been here they wouldn’t have cared if one son was failing cos Allie was always doing well at school and everyone thought he’d become a scientist or a lawyer or something good like that. Whereas I had been to about seven schools in about eight years.
Right at that moment; with my parents looking like someone had told them I was being taken to jail, and the headmaster giving one of those grins like the coaches at the Olympics when their pupil has just missed out on a medal, I felt like running off and taking the first train to anywhere as long as I didn’t see those three faces again.
After that my parents didn’t speak to me for a bit. It was as if the news that they had just been told had a worse effect on their lives than it did on mine. So for the whole ride home I sat impassive until we arrived at a gas station. It was of those old fashioned ones which you’d see in a real phony movie when the hero comes along and picks up this girl from behind the counter and they go on some kind of adventure together. The thing that killed was that the person behind the counter was this fat old guy. I got a cola and a pack of crisps. My parents said they weren’t hungry, it was as if their lives had just been wrecked. I was supposed to be the one who sulking but I guess they had been through a lot and all.