It had been hard work to get him there. Several invitations from peers and members of staff, in fact I know the staff really, really wanted him to be there. And he made it as far as the dinner venue itself, in the school hall. I dropped him off and went to the supermarket on the way home. Then he called me. He couldn't handle it and needed to leave quickly...
"Well you'll have to wait until I've finished at Sainsbury's", I said, followed by silent "Efferty effing eff" over and over again as I finished shopping for the groceries.
I picked him up from the car park just as the Arts Dinner was about to begin. "You should be up there", I said, pointing to the crowd of students chatting, laughing and drinking on the balcony outside the school hall. "Not here. And you KNOW you should be there."
Sorry but I couldn't help adding "If you can't manage 5 minutes of something like this then how the heck are you going to manage going away to University?" Followed by "No way are you going to Uni in September. We're going to concentrate on getting this sorted out and until it is, you won't go to Uni. You can't stay like this; we've got to concentrate on getting you 100% better".
Probably not the best things to say, but I was angry. Angry with the eating disorder for effing up his life and ruining yet another social event, one of the final social events of his school career.
"The dinner wasn't like I thought it was going to be", he muttered. "No-one was talking to me. I was just standing there on my own."
"But all your friends were there! B and E, and what about A, wasn't she there too? Everyone wanted you to be there!"
Fight or flight, and he chose the latter.
We didn't talk about it any more and he was fine when we got home.
But - aarrrggghhh! - he shouldn't be sitting at home with his parents on a Friday night, he should be out there with his friends having fun!
In an ideal world, yes, and in his 'previous life' as a normal teenager before the eating disorder kicked in - but not now.
Not for the time being, anyway.
So I was awake again at 4am this morning, working out how much spare cash I had to pay for private treatment for Ben now the NHS CAMHS treatment has finished and the medical profession no longer consider him to have a problem.
On Saturday he begins a series of sessions with a dietitian-cum-psychologist type lady who specialises in eating disorders - to 'tie up loose ends', whatever they may be.