Had myself a little strategy session with my teacher. She always has the answers when I don't have a clue.
I'm a little pissed at my parents. Dad had called a couple of weeks ago. We talked for an hour and a half and eventually hung up. A little later, mom called. She said she missed talking to her son. So I talk with her, but it's getting late and I have early work the next day. Mom is literally starting to say anything she can think of, just to keep me talking.
And after about twenty minutes, she reveals this little gem --
My sister is getting out of jail and heading for a halfway house.
Suddenly, dad is on the phone, having taken it from my mom. He's talking and spinning.
Mom wasn't supposed to tell me that.
I wasn't supposed to know, period. After all, I had just talked with dad for about an hour and a half and this didn't come up.
I love it when people mistake my silence for not noticing what they are doing. People really think I'm stupid, oblivious, or both.
Mom and dad came back to town, and during dinner, explained how this was going with my sister. Her first week there, she was not allowed to call anyone on the outside. Once she completed "orientation," they took her out clothes shopping and got her a phone card. She can resume normal communications with the family now. Her visiting days are the odd numbered days. She minds her P's and Q's, she gets home release in October with an ankle bracelet.
Mom and dad have kicked a bunch of money for her to get extras. Again. When this whole thing started, mom and dad said they weren't giving her any money and weren't visiting. They saw her nearly every weekend before they went south and have been constantly added funds to her prison commissary card. And it continues now that she is less than an hour away.
My teacher pointed out that, despite ordering my usual amount of food, I hadn't touched much of it. So I was hungry but distracted.
I don't know what to do, I told her.
"What are you trying to figure out?"
First of all, how do I keep my sister from robbing the house?
"You don't have to worry about that."
"She'll have an ankle bracelet. It has a GPS inside."
...really? I thought that was just a plot device for movies.
"Oh, no. It's real. New ones don't need the monitoring station, it just broadcasts on its own. She tries to break in, you have a record of exactly where she's been."
...that's a load off my mind.
"Now, we just have to worry about you."
What about me?
"You need to be nice to your sister."
"No, Peter. You have to."
Why? She's going to fall off the wagon sooner or later, anyway. And I don't want her getting her hooks in me again.
"You have to. Your parents still think your sister will change. They still don't want to admit she's gone. When she does fall off, they are going to look for something to blame."
...which means me.
"Which COULD mean you. You already know your sister is going to try to be friends with you, right?"
Yeah. She buddies up to me, she can hopefully keep me distracted from seeing through her schemes, and it's good PR for mom and dad. They can say she's really improving because their son and her are getting along again. It takes me out of the equation for whatever she's plotting.
"Exactly. You don't want your mom and dad to say, 'If you hadn't been so mean to her, maybe she wouldn't have relapsed.'"
...but I don't want to be friends with her.
"You don't have to be genuine friends. Just be nice to her. Keep your distance. Interact with her, but don't open up. Like you do with your co-workers. If she thinks she's getting what she wants, she won't push any further. Your reputation is clean, and when things fall apart, you're in the clear. And, it will help for when things really go wrong."
My teacher was referring to my biggest concern. My sister will be on probation for three years. But I know she was getting an education while she was in the state pen. She has some new tricks, and I have no doubt she'll be doing them almost as soon as she gets out. My biggest concern is that she'll get caught and mom and dad will bail her out again (they said they wouldn't last time, but they eventually did). The crime will be severe enough that they may find themselves putting up a huge amount of money.
And my sister will skip. Like she almost did last time.
Literally, my only hope is that, as much as mom and dad disregard me, I at least get through to them that one time and keep them from making the biggest, most costly mistake of all.
So I have to swallow my pride and play along.
The only bright side is, if things go the way I expect, I shouldn't have to do this too long. If my sister goes more than two years without getting picked up, I'll be amazed. Remember, they are letting her out without adequate rehab. They are expecting her to fail. And maybe they can get a couple of other fish on the line while they reel her in. They are gambling, and my sister took a sucker bet. And sucker bets don't take long to pay out.
It took a little longer, but I did finish my dinner.