Charity Hughes is the vivacious and fascinating mother of Ethan Hughes Bryant from the Forbidden Room series. Her life stopped the moment her eight year old son disappeared. For eight long years, she was forced to wonder, forced to imagine what had happened to her beautiful child. It was a miracle when she answered the phone in the dead of night to learn that he had been returned to her. Once they got Ethan home, she realized that he was no longer the boy she had lost, but an angry, damaged, inconsolable teenager. When Ethan left for college, she was sure that she had lost him again, this time for the rest of her life.
Read Charity’s account of her Ethan’s return free at JPBarnaby.com
[J. P. Barnaby] Charity, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. It’s nice to see you again.
[Charity] Trish, you’ve done such a wonderful job helping my Ethan tell his story. Even though it was really hard to read A House of Cards, I think that it really helped my son to purge some of the darkness from his heart. I also learned a lot about him that I never knew.
Okay, aside from his particular brand of sex life, what kinds of things did you learn about him?
I knew that Ethan felt isolated when he finally came home to us, but I didn’t know that he thought we wouldn’t want him. We tried so hard to get him to connect with us again, but I see now that it wasn’t even penetrating his depression. Whether it was because he truly believed what that….that man told him, I don’t know. He was a little boy, being forced to live through horrors that no one should ever have to deal with, but to compound that by telling him that his parents had made it all happen. It was no wonder he never really trusted us again.
I read recently that Ethan’s abductor was murdered in prison, if you don’t mind telling us, how did you feel about that?
I’ve never been much of a religious person, even less so since EJ was taken. Through that first eight years, I talked to God, I prayed that he would keep my son safe. When he came home and we learned the extent of the physical and psychological damage that had been inflicted on him, I knew that those conversations had been a waste of time. If there was a God, one that would let such horrific things happen to an innocent child, I didn’t want to know Him.
When I found out that he was dead, I felt relieved. Ethan would never have anything to fear from him again. When Ethan was younger, I used to hope that the bastard that took him was suffering terribly in prison. I’d always heard that child molesters weren’t terribly popular there, and as horrible as it sounds, I always hoped that his fellow inmates were visiting the same kinds of horrors on him that he had on my son. That feeling lessened somewhat when Ethan came back to Chicago and we reconnected. Even though he was in pain and struggling, he was finally working through it. My empty, broken boy had started to finally live again.
Tell us about Jayden
[Charity picks up a tissue from the box on the table after finally letting the tears fall.]
Jayden… [she laughs a little through the tears] I couldn’t have asked for a better person for Ethan to love. Sweet, compassionate, and wickedly funny, he’s the perfect match for Ethan’s insecurities and sharp wit. I can see when he looks at my son that he has devoted himself fully to Ethan and that’s all a mother can ask.
You told Ethan that passion was best when he was trying to make the decision between Gabriel and Jayden. What did you mean by that?
Ethan had been merely existing for years, since he was a teenager. He had a career, he had a home, he had some kind of life, but he wasn’t really living. I could see that in his face each time we got together. When he started getting closer to Gabriel, I was thrilled. One thing that scared me about Ethan was that he seemed to have lost his ability to love, to have relationships. I couldn’t stand the thought of him being alone forever.
It wasn’t until I saw the way his eyes lit up when he spoke about Jayden that I truly realized Ethan was trying to sort out his feelings. He was working toward that love I had found with his father, that love that each of us has for his or her soul mate. While I knew Gabriel would be good to him and love him, Jayden was the one Ethan needed.
We need to wrap it up here, but is there anything that you’d like to tell fans of the series before we go?
Be good to each other, and always remember before you judge someone else’s life take a minute to walk in their shoes. You might just be surprised at what you find.