The boy … the young man sat silently on his bed, staring out of the window. There were no lights dancing on the window now. He still saw nothing with his eyes. Not even the thick darkness around him. The streetlights and headlights of the cars that could be heard, but were not heard, were too far below, and away, from the window to be seen, so the single visible thing was that of the lonesome star in the sky. The one that often shone above to watch Alex and his blank expression as they kept each other company through the night.
For hours they sat together, in the dark, until Mrs Wyatt finally entered the room.
‘Oh, I’m sorry dear.’ She almost whispered through the dark. Then she clicked on the light and it shone brightly above their heads. The golden reflection of the room filled the window and the sight of the single star was drowned out. Alex blinked and squinted in the sudden light. ‘Grandma Joan rang, and I couldn’t get rid of her for a long time.’ She explained, before laughing quietly to herself.
She walked over to Alex and put her arm around his shoulders and hugged him to her. He didn’t move much, though he did blink when she moved a hand in front of his eyes, as she almost always did, every night, just to make sure that part of him was still working, still sensitive. She was almost waiting for it to stop. For it all to stop. For, one day, her to enter the room and find that he was made of stone.
She listened to him breathing for a short while, before untying his shoelaces and pulling off his shoes, putting them under the bed. Slowly and carefully she undressed him. He did not heed her.
When she was just about to push him down into the bed and tuck him in, he shouted. ‘Love? Love? What do I know about love?’
Mrs Wyatt froze for a moment. It had been a long time since this had happened. One of his outbursts. Weeks, even. His body began to tremble. She pressed her hand against his arm but he began to shake reverently, and it shook her off.
‘I love her, I love her, I love her, I lover her …’ he began to chant, over and over again. He was still staring forwards, seeing nothing. He still had a blank expression on his face, though he was trembling.
‘I know, love, I know.’ Whispered his mother, tears welling in her eyes. ‘I know you did.’
‘I love her, I love her, I love her, beautiful, Ayman knows her, knows her, I don’t know her, I can’t see her, I want to see her, I want to see her, love her, I love her …’ his voice began to slow, and to quieten. And then, suddenly, he stopped, but he did not stop shaking.
‘I know you did, dear.’ Mrs Wyatt repeated, stroking his hand on his lap. For the first time in months, she knew a fraction of what he was talking about. She’d wanted this for a long time, but now it pained her heart to know what he was feeling. If he was feeling.
And then, the last thing he said that night, he said in a strange tone, a hopeful, almost happy tone. He almost smiled as he said the words. ‘I will see her soon.’
But at this, a tear spilled from Mrs Wyatt’s eye, followed by another. ‘But … but she’s gone, Alex.’
He stopped shaking, and then he closed his eyes. She pulled him gently to his pillows and tucked his duvet around him, and when she leant over to kiss his forehead, her own hot tears spilled over the face of her son, unseen. ‘Don’t say that, Alex.’ She whispered, and with that she left the room, clicking off the light as she went.
But Alex reopened his eyes once it was dark, and his eyes stared out of the window once again. They met the gaze of that very same star and he watched her until finally drifting off to sleep.