Cay's out like a light the moment he reaches a bed. I heave a sigh, leaning on the doorframe, watching him sleep for a moment. Sure, I'm tired, but not that tired. I look around the place, sorting things out as I go, avoiding my bedroom for as long as possible. Cay had ended up in my parent's room, but none of their things remain; the house is almost empty. The cleaner did a good job, but a few things have been moved.
With a sleepy scowl, I correct it all, eventually running out of things to do. I want to go lie with Cay, but my brain is nagging at me to check my room as well and eventually I give in.
I throw open the door to be bitterly greeted by blank cream coloured walls, a bare bed and bedside stand. Even the carpet was taken up. The unpolished floorboards make my footsteps sound loud and unforgiving and I wince, slipping off my shoes, quietly placing them at the end of the bed. I find myself sitting on the mattress, leaning back against the wall with my knees hugged to my chest, my gaze fixed on the floor.
My thoughts fall to my mum and how this room came to be so bare. When I came out, my mum flipped out. I hadn't expected it to go well, but I hadn't expected her to kick me out and try to remove every trace of my being from the house, either. If there was a photo I could be folded out of, I was folded out of it. If I'd left something of mine in the house, it was thrown away. Apparently even a carpet I'd chosen was too much to handle and had to be removed.
Not for the first time in the last week, I begin to wonder if the brother I was supposed to have had would have stuck up for me. Or would he have ended up like Hadley? Being a still born, my brother was never given a name, or a proper grave. My mum had often referred to him as William, though. "You should have been the still born baby, not William. William wouldn't have been such a disappointment," was one of my mum's favourite things to say to me for the year we still had contact after I came out. Of course after nearly seven years, not a lot of it gets to me anymore.
Words fade, after all.
Stripped out bedrooms, however, don't.
I fall asleep like that, sat there with my arms around my legs, my chin resting on one knee. My imagined older brother walks through my dreams, telling me how he approves of Cay and the way I've moved on from my parent's shit.
I'm trying to hug him when I wake up, my arms around someone else entirely. I blink and look up at Cay. At some point, I'd laid down on my side, still curled up. It's from this awkward angle that I've wrapped my arms around Cay in a bear hug. I moan slightly at having been woken up, and close my eyes, but I don't let go of him, instead pulling him down to lie with me.