Ch. 8 The Pig Dog shows its presence in a wide variety of ways.

I picked up his school bag one day. He had left it between the desks where I needed to walk.  I had seen him pick this bag up and cheerfully throw it over his shoulder. I had seen him carry it with no indication of its weight. And so, when I picked it up to move it, I was shocked by its weight. I had no idea why it was so heavy and jokingly I asked, “What have you got in here? Everything you own?”.

A look of horror crossed his face. His eyes flashed with a mixture of fear, guilt and grief. The look stunned me. It was not congruent with anything else that was going on. I changed my face to a smile and made some innocuous comment about how I was getting weak in my old age. In that moment I had realised that the bag that I had in my hand actually did hold everything that he owned. His home was not safe enough to leave anything at home; especially not anything precious. His whole world was in that school bag.

He worked so hard at being what everyone expected him to be. If people wanted him to be funny; he would be funny. If people wanted him to be dumb; he would be dumb. If people wanted him to be the violent one; he would be violent. He would do anything to keep his true self hidden; including carrying the heavy bag with a cheerful grin and a well practised confident swagger.

His true self was angry. His true self was intelligent and his true self was sensitive to the needs of others. His true self was protective but how could he protect others when he had struggled to protect himself.

He hid these complexities so comprehensively. He hid his anger and his fear and he carried all of these emotions, along with everything he owned in his school backpack.



Kate Bricknell