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Our neighbor's prodigal son has returned

By cody160 ( Updated: 2014-08-06 17:05

When I was studying in college, I remember my mom called me one day just to tell me some bad news, that someone had broken into our house at midnight. Our windows were broken and rooms were ransacked. Fortunately the burglar took nothing, he or she was clearly just looking for some cash and had no interest in carrying away our appliances. What I was really concerned about was my parents' safety once I heard the news. So I told my mom if it happened again, not to confront burglars directly. Instead, she could just make some noise to try to scare them away. I also advised her to cover our windows with a protective grating and had an overall check around our house for security loopholes.

A saw was found near the broken window the next day, which revealed the burglar's amateurism. My parents had the saw examined and didn't have any idea as to where this saw might lead them, until days later, a neighbor came to our home and asked my parents where they found the saw, as it was his. This neighbor's son, named Lei, was in his rebellious years and addicted to online games. He once disappeared from our neighborhood, which led to a massive search in our village. He was found in an Internet cafe days later. When he was in his junior high school, several times he skipped classes to play games. Teachers reported him to his parents. His father was infuriated and wanted to teach him a hard lesson with a bamboo stick. But his mother couldn't bear to see any cruelty to her son and tried her best to protect him from any harm. Punishments were usually avoided thanks to his mother's protection. His game hobby meant he was constantly short of money and he would ask his parents for money every few days. Sometimes, when he asked too soon for it, his parents would simply refuse to give him the money. Given the above facts, my parents had a strong suspicion Lei was the burglar that night. However, my parents didn't tell our neighbor anything about what happened --they still couldn't draw a conclusion.

After roughly a month, I got another call from my mom, telling me the same thing happened to our house. This time the burglar entered from the second floor with a ladder. My mom was awakened in the midnight by some noise, so she immediately turned on the light in her bedroom. The burglar was in a neighboring room at that moment and made a quick exit before my mom could get up from her bed. Again, this time, the burglar was leaving in such a hurry, that he/she had no time to take the ladder out of the crime scene. That ladder was found to be from Lei's home. This time, my parents were pretty sure who the burglar was. But they still chose to keep this a secret. They only told me and asked me to tell no one.

Years later, Lei went to study in a vocational school, which was far from his home, and started to be independent. He only saw his parents a few times every year because of the distance. But every time he came home, his parents could see some little changes taking place in him. He asked for less and less pocket money and would volunteer to help his parents with some family chores. Most important, he's got rid of his addiction to online games and stopped stealing.

My parents did the right thing to keep their mouths shut at that time, for Lei would be living in a shadow left in his past if those incidents had gone public, and everyone should be given a chance to start over.

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