I just wanted to get this out of my head. We’re all going to feel like arseholes if his parents are dead or something.
It took 3 days. He remembers that.
The first day was for cleaning. Glass shards were swept up, plaster reapplied, broken furniture taken away and replaced. The blood stains were troublesome, soaked into the carpet and curtains. They scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed until they faded from sight if not memory. The marks on his body were not so easily removed, though the attempt was still made. Long sleeves to hide bruises, bandages on cuts, balm on a broken bottom lip. Careful instruction on what to say if anyone asked, if any one questioned, but no one did.
The second day was for conversations, but not ones he got to hear. They were hushed whispers behind closed doors, multiple phone calls to people whose names he didn’t know. Things were decided and checked and argued but not with him. He got pats on the head and smiles that didn’t seem quite right, spoken words of reassurance that sounded too much like lies to his ears. He hadn’t slept well that night, he knew they hadn’t either. He heard them in the dark and had known it was about him.
The third day was for change. Coming back to a place that was no longer meant to be home, finding packed boxes and bags, his life neatly folded and labeled and put to the side. The trip had been long and silent and he’d stared out the window. The lack of feeling inside himself had been crushing, all too likely to break ribs and tear him apart. He’d focused on breathing because all at once it had seemed more difficult than it ever had before.
On that day there had been no tears. They had told him how proud they were, how brave he was, how capable, how strong, how trusted, how independent, how smart, how much they were sure he was going to be okay. And as they had walked away and the door had been closed and he had been left there in a quiet that was suffocating in it’s completeness he had known that it was true. He was going to be okay. What other choice had he ever had?