Forgive Me Father…
Caleb stood in the corner of his bedroom rubbing his recently strapped fourteen year-old bottom. His father had laid into him with some power and, despite all attempts to do otherwise; he’d been reduced to a very sorry and tearful teenager. His bottom glowed bright red but unfortunately the rubbing wasn’t relieving the pain.
His twin four year-old brothers, Joshua and Daniel, only recently woken, sat huddled together with their mother on their bed completely dumbstruck as their father had punished his eldest son for his misdemeanours.
Punishment was rare in the Jefferson household but when it happened it was done in front of the family so no one would be in any doubt as to what transpired if rules were broken. Joshua and Daniel trembled in their bed dressed in the matching pale blue shorty pyjamas, underneath which they wore their night time diapers.
They’d witnessed their older brother being stripped and bent over the bed, his pale quivering naked bottom in full view. Their father had listed the things Caleb was being punished for and, despite wishing not to have to do so; it was with God’s gracious guidance that he too had to instil such guidance in his son.
Both boys wet their diapers in fear as the watched in horror at the severe punishment their loving brother was being subjected to.
Ever since he was a baby Caleb had worn a diaper under his pyjamas whenever he went to bed. It was a rule his parents had always insisted upon and had become second nature as he grew up. He’d never once questioned why he had to as this was just something he’d always done so wasn’t an issue. Of course the twins now wore them as well and they never questioned the reason, partly because Daniel still occasionally wet as he slept.
Caleb wasn’t made to wear them at any other time just at night when he was sleeping. Both his God-fearing parents believed children were most at risk as they slept and a thick diaper was a way of preventing the Devil from doing his dirty work as their offspring slumbered.
As well as final nightly prayers and being at peace with God, they also felt it was a simple and useful precaution for their children in case they had any kind of nocturnal accident.
Even though Caleb hadn’t wet the bed for many, many years he was still required to wear them in the same way he wore the rest of his PJs, as he’d known no difference it didn’t worry him.
Recently though, the maturing but easily influenced teenager had found out that none of his friends wore such an item to bed, and although he had seen nothing wrong with it in the past, he was now being ridiculed by his school mates once it became known.
He had no idea other parents did not have their children wear such protection to bed, so had innocently admitted to it when asked to write an essay for an English lesson about his home life. This tiny piece of information, in his well-written thesis, was seized upon by the entire class. They demanded to know if he was wearing diapers at that moment and the discussion didn’t calm down until he proved, by shuffling down his chinos, that in fact he wore normal white Y-fronts.
From that moment his normally friendly classmates were relentless in mocking him with baby talk, baby references and sarcastic crying.
However, when he returned home full of embarrassment, he questioned his mother as to why he had to wear such an extra piece of thick material at night, when no others in his class did. His mother’s gentle and understanding explanation, though at first pacifying her son, didn’t completely alleviate it.
His daily growing despair with the constant ridicule at school meant he was very unhappy.
His father had been slightly less understanding, though he too had tried to explain his reasons, though the Devil and his corrupt ways didn’t seem to gain any credence with the young teen. In the end, and despite a few arguments, his father had simply said that whilst he was under his roof, his rules were to be obeyed.
“As it says in the Bible”
His father announced in all solemnity.
“Deuteronomy 5:16 - Honour your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be prolonged and that it may go well with you on the land which the LORD your God gives you.”
As far as his father was concerned that was the end of the matter so no further discussion would be allowed to take place.
Caleb understood this quote from the Bible and had done his best to have respect to everyone not just his own family. He was a nice, polite boy and his religious parental upbringing had made him a tribute to their faith. Slow to anger, always helpful, volunteering, he was so unlike most of the other kids he went to school with.
However, even though he’d been brought up to believe every word in the Bible was the word of God, he was now, because of his classmates, willing to question why he had to wear a diaper to bed. He couldn’t remember any reference to the Devil visiting anyone in the night.
Even though he continued to wear the stipulated item to bed, it began to rankle.
This wasn’t helped by the fact he was now the talk of the school and the object of fun and derision. He still had mates but even they wondered why he simply didn’t refuse to wear such a childish piece of bedtime attire. As a class they all boasted that under no circumstances would they let their parents make them wear such an item for bed (or otherwise) and they called it a matter for his own honour and pride.
The house the Jefferson’s lived in was a small two bedroom affair on the edge of town. They were too poor to have a place of their own so to begin with they had shared the house with Caleb’s mother’s mother, his grandma Mrs Eve Broadstone, his grandpappy being long dead. The tight little family unit occupied one bedroom between them, whilst grandma had the other. So, up until he was eight years old, he shared a room with his parents and only got his own once his grandmother passed away.
His parents then inherited the place, which was just as well as Thomas Jefferson, Caleb’s father, was not a rich man. Oh, he’d say he was rich, though not in a financial way: He had a beautiful wife in Emily, a healthy son in Caleb, wonderful neighbours and had a close relationship with God, so how much richer could he be?
He helped out at the church every week and did odd jobs around the place to stop it falling into ruin. He’d had to do the same with the house they inherited because over the years it had become very rundown. Thomas had been the town’s cobbler, though fashion and affordability of new footwear meant it was an industry on the decline. As it was a business that had never paid well he took to doing odd jobs to make ends meet, so this became his prime means to earn a living.
He was an adequate carpenter and would attempt anything he was asked to undertake, but was self-taught and had no real grounding in joinery or plumbing. One day he could be shoring up a building, the next would find him mowing a lawn or sorting out some noisy radiator, or painting the side of a barn… he was very fluid in what he did. Each job was never too much trouble, no task too small and all done with a smile on his face and an even temper. He was well-liked for his attitude, his prices and availability… his time keeping was impeccable.
As an eight year-old Caleb had loved having his own room but after only two years of such ‘spacious luxury’, the Jefferson’s were visited by a surprise package with the arrival of twins. The small house was once again busy and full so Caleb had to get used to sharing all over again. His twin baby brothers soon took over his space with all the things babies need. His, and his family’s, Christian values meant that he couldn’t begrudge them anything so put up with the crying, the changing, the atmosphere that babies produce as they all had to get along in that small space.
Now, after four years, he still shared the same room and although he understood why the twins should still wear diapers, the conversations he and his school colleagues were having meant the question “Why did he?” was becoming more and more unsettling.
His parents tried to placate their son but he grew tired of their mystifying reasoning, none of it made sense to him and, if they were wrong about this, what else were they wrong about? His mind was in a great deal of turmoil because, as his friends questioned him, so he saw reason to question his parents. Slowly he gravitated more to the way his friends saw things than his parents.
Although his mother and father put the twins to bed and made sure they were suitably wrapped up for the night, Caleb was never checked. It was assumed that after all this time he would not go against what his parents wished and he would wear the appropriate protection. However, for a few nights, after he’d said his prayers and changed into his PJs, the diaper was left off.
His parents didn’t know, or even suspected, that their son would disobey their rules. He never had done, so, despite his recent questions, there was no reason to think he might now. They had complete trust in their son.
It felt strange and the pangs of guilt kept him awake but, because of what his friends had said, he saw no reason to wear such an item anymore. As his brothers slept soundly in their bed opposite, he tossed and turned at defying his parents. It didn’t sit well on his conscience but neither did the constant harassing by his school mates.
His sleeping patterns were all over the place and on the third ‘no diaper’ night the anxiety caused him to do the one thing he never thought would happen - he wet the bed. Not a lot but enough for him to need to change his damp PJs and sheets.
As luck would have it both Joshua and Daniel had also wet themselves that morning. And, because it was a Saturday and everyone’s bedding was changed for wash day, he quickly piled all their laundry together and slipped it into the washing machine before his mother was any the wiser. He breathed a sigh of relief when he got praise from her for getting an early start on the family laundry seeing as how it was going to be such a glorious drying day.
The problem was he forgot to add his own diaper to the mix so when his mother pegged the wet items out she noticed that his larger fabric squares were missing. At the time she didn’t give it much thought, wondering if perhaps, in his haste to get things going, he’d simply forgotten his own dirty linen. However, a quick inspection of his stripped down bed revealed a slight damp patch on his mattress, which raised her suspicions.
Later, whilst Caleb was out for the day playing with his friends, his mother mentioned her misgivings to her husband. Thomas wouldn’t believe his son would flaunt the rules but decided to check on him that night to allay any such worries, though he had to admit the damp bed did raise some questions.
That night, when the twins and Caleb were asleep his father surreptitiously checked his son’s PJs and found the diaper in place. This was a relief to Thomas who hated to think his son would do anything contrary to his instructions.
Mercifully, after the scare the night before, Caleb was taking no chances and had gladly returned to wearing the night time protection as he always had. The comfort it offered meant that he drifted off very quickly and he was able to catch up with all the lost sleep he’d endured whilst not wearing it. He was totally unaware of his father checking on him and was oblivious to the worry he had briefly caused his parents.
Once back at school his friends were still badgering him to know if he’d rebelled at his babyish treatment, as they called it. Caleb lied and said he no longer wore the item to bed and that his parents were now cool with his decision.
The ribbing from his mates began to die down, much to the fourteen year-olds relief.
However, he now found he had another problem. He’d lied and in so doing knew that the Lord would not react well to such effrontery to his parents rules. Not only that… he’d lied to his friends but the continuous taunts of being a ‘wickle baby’ had got to him and despite what the Bible said, he found it hard to turn the other cheek. In fact, the pressure from his peers was getting more intensified and he was being dragged into areas where he was most uncomfortable.
The other problem he had was he desperately wanted to be accepted. This ‘baby thing’ had been a crushing blow to his self-esteem and he knew that it would hang over him if he couldn’t prove he was just as much of a teenager as the rest of the gang. Despite the way he’d been brought up; the loving, forgiving, empathetic rules his parents had always displayed, he found his friend’s ideas and thoughts were beginning to have more influence.
He was agreeing with actions he would once have run a mile from and even found himself in trouble for being a part of the group who’d played a nasty prank on one of the teachers. The rest of the group just laughed it off but he struggled. However, once he’d misbehaved and the acceptance from his peers had been so inclusive, he hung around with them and found he was being involved in more and more teenage revolt as they challenged everything around them.
Caleb was caught up in this revolution. At first he didn’t like it but his fourteen year-old mind, and all his mates, were telling him he needed to be less under his parent’s authority.
Most nights at home he’d stopped wearing his diaper to bed. He’d been lucky that his parents had only checked him that once. However, because he became a little bit surly, and more aggravated by sharing his room with his little brothers, his father told him in no uncertain terms that such attitude to the rest of the family would not be tolerated.
He went to school thoroughly chastised and resentful and when a few of his pals suggested they should just bunk off for the day, despite the fact he knew it was wrong, he agreed to go with them.
They spent the afternoon at one of the boy’s homes, drinking the father’s beer and smoking, neither of which Caleb had ever done before. The other boys laughed as he struggled with both alcohol and tobacco but he wanted desperately to impress. The boy raided his father’s booze cabinet and slipped a large amount of vodka into the beer Caleb was drinking. They urged him to down it in one to prove he wasn’t a wuss and a second bottle of beer was doctored in the same way.
To the amusement of his pals, a slurry and dizzy Caleb found it hard to focus as a game of ‘dare’ developed. With inhibitions down and eager to prove himself he took up the challenges and found himself stealing clothing off a neighbour’s washing line.
He arrived back to his pals giggling as he produced a couple of pairs of girl’s panties, a summer dress, fabric diapers and a variety of colourful kiddie and baby clothes, including a couple of pairs of plastic pants. He had no idea what he’d collected he’d just grabbed the first few things available.
Unfortunately, he’d been spotted.
A knock on the front door and the general mayhem of a group of startled, drunken, frightened boys, hightailed it out an open back window heading in opposite directions.
When he got home he rushed past his mother with barely any acknowledgment and made his way to his bedroom. A slight stumble gave her a chance to notice the smoky smell on his clothes, which also gave her the opportunity to inspect him more closely. Unfortunately for him she detected his insobriety and that he looked nervous and skittish. She didn’t say anything just let him continue to his bed. He crashed out, grateful for being home and able to rest his spinning head. He fell asleep.
Whilst he dozed his father returned home, more or less at the same time the neighbour who’d had clothes stolen off their washing line was explaining the afternoon’s events. She’d also brought the bunch of creased and now dirty washing with her as evidence. Her anger at her next door neighbour’s boy was evident but she couldn’t understand why a respectable boy like Caleb would do such a thing. When Thomas had heard the story he decided to let the boy sleep it off but in the morning he’d be in a great deal of trouble and have a painful lesson to learn.
Although it was late afternoon when Caleb had arrived home he’d completely crashed out and only woke up for a few moments late in the night. Everything was dark and the house quiet as he stumbled to the bathroom. He was still quite unsteady on his feet and felt incredibly light-headed; the unaccustomed alcohol certainly had an effect.
His bladder was almost bursting by the time he’d manoeuvred himself in front of the toilet and it was with pure relief he let things flow. Unfortunately, his aim was ineffective as he missed the bowl and not only pissed all over the floor but down the front of his school chinos. He was unaware of the mess he’d made as he stumbled back to his warm and welcoming bed, attempting not to wake up his sleeping brothers.
He eventually woke up when bright morning light rushed in through the windows as the drapes were pulled back. Groggily Caleb squinted into the day only to see his father looking down at him. Another cursory glance saw his mother hugging his twin brothers as they sat up in bed looking somewhat shocked back at him.
His father’s voice was commanding but he wasn’t shouting.
“Whhhaaaat?” Caleb groaned.
With his head still throbbing he wasn’t at his best this morning and just wanted to sleep a little longer.
“Time to get up Caleb.”
His father was firm but didn’t sound angry.
“Just a few more minutes please papa.” There was a tired whine to his request.
His father’s voice was now very forceful and Caleb knew he needed to do as he was told.
Slowly and with some difficulty he eventually sat up. His eyes still not quite focused but his father told him to stand.
Reluctantly Caleb got to his feet and shrugged. His father launched straight into his questions.
“Where were you yesterday?”
“At school papa.” Caleb mumbled his reply.
“All day?” His father persisted.
“Hu-huh.” He confirmed.
“So, explain this.” His father pointed to the dark wet stain down the front of his trousers.
“Er, mmmm, erm… must have had an accident.”
“Your bed is wet through… did you have an accident there as well?”
None of this was making much sense to the still woozy Caleb who wasn’t thinking straight at all. Indeed, he felt pretty sick in the pit of his stomach and realised desperately needed to pee again.
“Excuse me papa but I think I need the …”
“Not yet my boy. You have some explaining to do.”
He held up the bunch of stolen clothes and asked him to explain what they were.
Caleb just shrugged and slurred he had never seen them before. His mind still wasn’t working right but, from what his friends had said in the past: “Deny everything it’s up to others to prove it.” At that moment, and with that thought in his head, he smiled at his father and denied everything.
He didn’t know that whilst he slept off his drunken binge, a call around the neighbours and to school that evening meant his father had been able to quickly piece together the day’s events.
The stolen washing was still being held and shaken in front of Caleb’s face. He thought he was safe as he suspected no one knew him where he’d been drinking with his pals, except, everyone knew the Jefferson kids and especially Caleb. He was regarded as a polite, honest, industrious type of lad that other parents wished their child could be like. His regular attendance at church and of course his father’s commitment to church affairs and the like, meant they were a very well-liked and respected family in the community.
Caleb found under his father’s questioning his resolve begin to falter. He found it difficult to keep up a lie and suspected he knew more than he was saying. The urge to pee was getting stronger but his queasy stomach was not only a feeling of being sick, it churned with guilt.
Under his father’s interrogation he found himself lying and then having to admit to things that he’d done. In the end Thomas had extracted a complete confession as to what had really taken place and although Caleb had tried to lay the blame at being treated as a child, none of that argument worked.
Eventually his father told him to take off his urine stained trousers. With his mother and brother’s looking on, he slowly removed them. He was left standing in his damp and yellowing briefs when his father told him to remove them also. Reluctantly, he did as requested and stood hiding his boyhood behind his cupped hands. He knew he was in for some kind of punishment but didn’t know exactly how that was going to take place.
“Bend over and smell your bed”
His father’s words were strange and Caleb was slow to do as commanded.
“Smell your sinful bed. This isn’t the first time you’ve wet it is it?”
Caleb realised they must know about the time he hadn’t worn his diaper.
“No papa, I wasn’t wearing a diaper.”
“The rule of this house is, until children leave home… for their protection, safety and to keep them from many of the corruptions of this world… a diaper is worn for sleep. Correct?”
“Er,” He was desperate to find an excuse but nothing was coming and his bladder was getting to hurt. He feared peeing himself but also knew he was in no position to ask for permission to visit the toilet. In the end, to speed things up he agreed that was the rule.
“Now, smell the mattress… the stench of not obeying rules”
He saw he had little option. With his mother and the twins looking on he bent over and inhaled the tainted fabric and the heady smell of his wet crimes.
“Your young brothers don’t wet the bed and nor should you. Take a deep breath…”
Caleb did as he was told and a wave of nausea swept through his body.
“Your diaper would have prevented any such accidents, but you think you’re such a big boy and no longer need either physical or moral protection.”
“No papa… sorry papa.”
He tried to get up but his father pushed him back into position.
The loud crack that followed was unexpected by both Caleb and the twins.
His father had swung a leather strap he’d concealed behind his back and made heavy contact with his son’s pale bottom. The yelp could be heard several blocks away to anyone who had ears.
Caleb, shocked and shaking tried to rise.
“Stay where you are.”
The order wasn’t one he could ignore and a tremble of just what was in store shook his body.
“Forgive me father I…”
Caleb’s words were cut off by the searing pain that ricocheted throughout his body.
He tried to stand again but his father was determined he should stay just where he was. Embarrassed or not by his humiliating position his father delivered more hefty wallops to his son’s rapidly reddening posterior.
With every thundering smack Caleb yelled for forgiveness, whilst his father delivered a litany of religious quotes. His crimes; his smoking, his underage drinking, his truancy, his choice of friends, his stealing, his lack of respect for family and himself – all the things his schoolmates had assured him were positives in his escape from babyhood, were coming back to painfully haunt him.
His father knew he wasn’t by choice a naughty boy but was determined that as the Lord offered guidance to his children, so he had to do the same with his. The strap landed many times and a wailing Caleb was left in no doubt he had done wrong.
His brothers looked scared as they saw their older brother punished in such a fashion but this was Thomas’s idea, to make an example – This is what happens when you don’t follow the rules.
Although it could be contended that at only four years old they wouldn’t necessarily know right from wrong, their parents hoped that such a visual demonstration would have a lifetime effect and keep them on the straight and narrow.
It did have an effect and both Joshua and Daniel wet their diapers as they witnessed the horror of their brother’s brutal treatment. They weren’t the only ones, Caleb also could not hold onto his full bladder and a stream of piss hit the bed and floor as the eleventh stinging strike caused him to cry out louder for forgiveness.
Once the punishment was over Thomas helped his son to his feet and hugged him.
“I don’t like to discipline you… you are a good boy but, and this is why you have been chastised so severely… you are getting influences from the wrong people and you are acting against the family. This I cannot allow.”
He held his son who was sobbing and rubbing his very sore and inflamed bottom.
“Your friends will no doubt be chastised by their parents but you’re my responsibility and I’m not going to let you ruin your life for the benefit of some thoughtless… and Godless young hoodlums.”
He patted his son’s red bottom as if to make the point.
“For the foreseeable future you are banned from meeting with them and at school your contact must be kept to the absolute minimum. Do you understand?”
Caleb couldn’t get any words out he was still shaking in terror at what had just taken place. Never had his father reacted in such a way and he was completely scared of what this man, this man he called papa, might do next.
“There are several things you need to take on board.”
He held up the stolen washing.
“You will wash, press and return these items to the lady you stole them from.”
He waited until he could see his son take notice of what he had said.
“As you appear to like baby clothes…”
Thomas held up the item in an undisguised motion that meant ‘what a strange choice’
“A diaper will be a permanent part of your wardrobe … day and night. If for any reason you are seen without it, and there will be many checks, you will receive double what you have just experienced. Is that clear?”
Caleb was still shaking but he dare not fail to respond so nodded.
“Good. Now, after school, and in any spare time you have, you will read the Bible and reflect on what has happened. I understand you are growing up but there are better influences around than your so-called friends.”
He paused to make sure his shaking son understood what he was saying.
“You will be tested once a week on what you have learned.”
He spoke directly into his son’s tearful face.
“When I think you are capable of understanding the word of God is the only truth and the only guidance you need, then the diaper punishment will be re-thought.”
He hugged his son again.
“Despite not honouring your father and mother… the Lord forgives you and we forgive you. We love you very much Caleb, we want what’s best for you… you should want it for yourself as well.”
The tears that had lessened began to pour once again and Caleb wept inconsolably as his father led him to a corner of the room.
“Now, whilst your mother gets Joshua and Daniel ready for the day you need to think about what you have done and how you are going to make it up to those you have disappointed. When your mother has finished with the twins she will attend to you, no argument, no fuss, you will do what you are told.”
As Mrs Jefferson removed the twins soaked diapers and cleaned them up she wondered if this was what she was going to be doing for her eldest every morning. Caleb tried to rub the pain from his tanned and purple backside but didn’t dare turn round and look at his mother. He was just too ashamed.
Once the twins had been calmed, dressed and sent out to play she began to sort out the rest. She stripped Caleb’s bed and rummaged around in a cupboard until she found what she was looking for. Emily Jefferson sighed, even the twins didn’t need this sort of protection on their beds but her husband had insisted. She pulled a thick plastic sheet over his mattress and then told him to come over. She gave him a cloth so he could mop up the puddle of pee he’d made that hadn’t already been soaked up by his bedding.
He noticed the pile of diapers and stuff normally reserved for the twins was laid out on his bed and knew what was in store for him as he tentatively wiped away at the wet patch he’d made. Once that was all done he winced again as he was told to lie out.
With a deep sigh of resignation he lay on the cool plastic sheet, his bottom reacting to the slinky, cool surface as he tried to get comfortable. Eventually his mother started to clean him up.
Caleb clenched his teeth as she rubbed soothing ointment onto his inflamed buttocks, he knew she wasn’t trying to hurt him but it stung nonetheless.
After a few embarrassing moments she spoke.
“I don’t know what you were thinking…”
She held up her hand as if to say ‘and I don’t want to know’.
“But by stealing those baby’s clothes your father has decreed it must be some kind of cry for help.”
She waited to see if there was any kind of reaction but there wasn’t he just lay with eyes tightly clenched trying to will away the pain in his buttocks.
“Either that or you just want to be babied.”
His mother wasn’t being cruel; she really didn’t know what had happened to her loving and polite son because he’d changed so abruptly.
Through his pain and trembling body that word had come back to haunt him - ‘babied’.
It was the word his friends had used to describe his diaper wearing. It was the term they used constantly to undermine and shut him out of things. It was the word that had driven him to prove himself he was not a baby; he could be as adventurous and mischievous as anyone else.
Tears began streaming down his face once again as he realised things were not going to get better.
“Whatever the reason, it’s diapers permanently for you now.”
His brothers didn’t wear diapers during the day only when they went to bed. So, now he would be treated like the baby of the family and all that entailed.
With purpose she slipped a cloth diaper under his swollen bottom and let the baby powder drift down to mingle with the anti-diaper rash cream before pulling the thick material up between his legs and pinning it into place.
His mind was trying to tune out what was happening but he knew there was no escaping this extra punishment. In some ways he believed what his father had said – the Lord doesn’t take kindly to his, and therefore by inference, his father’s rules being ignored.
“Right, that’s that done.” She said with some pride.
Caleb dare not look down to witness his return to being treated as a toddler. He could feel the thickness between his legs and the tightness of the fabric bunching around his groin. Unfortunately for him keeping his eyes closed wasn’t an option as his mother confirmed by indicating the pile of stolen items.
“You have work to do,” she said with no hint of anger just a simple fact.
Hesitantly, he spun off his bed, the slippery plastic sheet making his transition a great deal easier. The throbbing of his bottom was still quite intense but the padding and creams were going some way to alleviate the pain. He searched around for some trousers to slip over the bulky item making him walk strangely but his mother informed him his father’s instructions were – diaper only.
His protest died on his lips.
He fought back another surge of emotion. Tears appeared but he didn’t want them to fall realising that they would do no good as his father had spoken. Hesitatingly, he took the pile of clothes from his mother and went to the kitchen where the washing machine was and loaded it up.
Thomas was getting his tools ready for another day out fixing and repairing things.
“Sorry papa.” Caleb meekly said as he waddled slowly past his father.
“That’s all right son. Has your mother made clear my instructions?”
“Yes papa, I have to wash, press and return these items and apologise to Mrs Rendle.”
The words caught in his throat as he dreaded having to see his neighbour dressed as he was.
“Papa, might I wear some , er, jeans or er, something when I see her?”
His father thought for a moment.
“Tell me Caleb, why did you steal those items?”
The boy shook his head. He knew he couldn’t use being drunk as an excuse, or that he was goaded by his fellow truants, but he had no idea why he had in fact taken those particular pieces of clothing.
“Why those particular items?” His father insisted.
Caleb assumed that there was no real reason behind the choice; they were just the first things he came to.
He shrugged unable to answer in any concise way.
“Mrs Rendle saw you. She says that you apparently ran past other items before you stopped at these and paused before deciding to take them.”
Thomas paused to see if his words sunk in.
“The lady isn’t the fittest person on the block so wasn’t able to stop you from what you were doing but she is certain that you aimed for those specific things hanging on her line.”
A cool shiver ran down Caleb’s spine.
“She suggested that seeing as you wanted them so much, you should be given some of your own… it didn’t seem a bad idea.”
He turned on the washing machine and looked down at his feet. He comprehended the angry lady’s logic and why diapers were now his only clothes.
Crestfallen he walked back to his father who was just about to leave.
“I’m really very sorry papa.”
Thomas put his hand on his remorseful son’s shoulder and spoke softly.
“I know you are Caleb… and I’m sure you’ll get over this but… you have to understand that all actions have consequences. If you knew what those consequences were going to be… would you still have done them?”
“Read the Bible son… all your answers are there. As it says in Galatians - Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
His father left for his day’s work and Caleb sat at the table thinking about his father’s words. The thickness of his diaper offering some relief to his aching buttocks but he knew it would be another few days before the inflammation would settle down. In the meantime he’d have to get used to walking with a thick, well-padded piece of material between his legs. He knew that everyone would be able to tell and dreaded returning to school but also knew that his father was doing this for a reason and not just to embarrass him.
His mother gathered up the twins and went shopping leaving Caleb on his own to reflect on what had happened over the past few hours.
In the interim, told to study the Bible, and not wishing to be seen anywhere dressed as he was, he settled down to do just that. His bottom still throbbed but there was no doubt about it, the padding certainly helped as he sat on his crinkly bed and read the sacred words.
A tract from the Bible entered his head. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
to be continued…