When Alex got to the platform of his treehouse, it was quiet, but a good quiet. He hadn’t been here for a couple days, the longest period of time he had been away from it since moving in. The south side of the building was poorly patched from the years of wear and tear. His workmanship had improved as he aged, but the south side would forever be scared from the beginning when he had moved into the house with his dad.
“Alex.” His dad said, speaking to him for the time in several hours, the time it had taken them to drive to the new place. “I’m going to find the grocery store. You can start unpacking.”
“Okay daddy.” Alex said
He was young and short, his white hair was cropped short, but still managing to stick out at random, his checks were natural flushed. The large pieces of furniture was already in place in the correct rooms and Alex, who had packed everything away in boxes and labelled them with the room they belonged to in his messy hand writing, had an easy time unpacking everything. In his closet his discovered a crawl way in the back corner that lead to a secret room, covered in faded red wallpaper and a small round window in the top wall of his reach. A secret room –something he had always wanted and finally got, just not in the way he expected.
After a few hours his dad still hadn’t come back, so Alex went into the backyard to explore. There was no fence, which was a great disappointment to him, since he wouldn’t be able to have a puppy if there wasn’t a fence. A large tree in the yard looked inviting, as he looked around it, bare feet on the dry grass, he spotted a rope ladder dangling down out of sight from the back door and kitchen window. Looking up, the tree just seemed to tower over him, bending over to squash him as a moment’s notice. Never one to be daunted by such things, Alex began to climb hand over hand and foot over foot by rickety rung making his way up.
At the time there was nothing but the platform, it was sturdy enough and made of rough wood, but it was well constructed. Standing on the platform Alex’s could picture in his overactive imagination the castle he could built with his dad. There would be stairs and rooms and he if he could convince his dad to build it for him. After everything that has happened over the last few years, this could be a welcome break from reality, something positive to turn their attention and efforts into. The sound of a car pulling up send him climbing down the ladder excited to tell his dad about what he had found in the backyard.
“Hi daddy!” Alex squeaked running up to greet his dad, a huge smile painted on his face “Did you found the grocery store?”
“No, Alex, I didn’t.” He dad said feeling tired. It would be one of the last times he would call his son by his name “Did you di as I asked and unpacked everything?”
“I did.” Alex proudly said, walking into the house ready to show off his hard work.
For years Alex had been organizing and cleaning the house, since his mum was sick so often, that it wouldn’t have been done otherwise, so he knew where everything went and were it was meant to be, just like it was in the old house. He loved the way it turned out and couldn’t wait for his dad to see it.
“What have you done?” his dad asked, freezing in the living room, his voice was a dangerously quiet and calm.
“I… I unpacked.” Alex told him, confused, pushing his hair out of his face for the first time, not knowing that he was forming a habit.
The living room looked warm and inviting, pictures were placed around the room, a light brown throw rug was tossed artfully over the chocolate coloured leather sofa.
“No!” his dad screamed, causing Alex to jump back in freight, his dad had never yelled at him like that before “I told you to get rid of these! I never want to see those pictures again… don’t you get that? It’s bad enough that you’re still around… I don’t need more remainders of them, I don’t want to see them everywhere I walk. That’s why we moved!”
“I’m sorry.” Alex cried, he didn’t know why his dad was so upset. After all… he missed his sister and mum as well… but he loved looking at their pictures and being able to see what Seana Oceana Foster and Arianna Noelle Foster looked like… to just have proof that they were real and they livid. “I’ll put them away.”
“You do that.” His dad nodded, his sudden fit of rage seeming to pass as quickly as it had come “I’m going to bed. Good night.”
Alex shrugged to himself and went about removing all of the photos of his family, putting them back into their boxes and then hiding them in his secret red room. Turning on the light switch, the first thing he did was hang a black towel over the window, balancing precariously on an old dresser as he did. Hanging the pictures up and arranging the frames around the room, creating his own hidden shrine of memoires.
“I don’t get it.” Alex whispered to himself, because they was no one to listen, not even the moon since he blocked out its warm glow with a towel “I don’t understand why daddy doesn’t want to see the pictures, I thought he loved mummy and sissy.”
With his dad’s harsh and cruel words replaying in his mind over and over again until he feel asleep there in the red room, curled up in the floor, wishing that they never moved into this new house and knowing that his dad wouldn’t want to do anything with him… not anymore.
“Are you okay?” Tia asked, as she joined him in his sanctuary “I’m sorry if you want to be alone, I was just worried and needed to check up on you. It makes me nervous… having you this close to where he lives and not having you in sight.”
“You know… my dad, he wasn’t always like this.” Alex said, still studying the south wall.
“I’m sure he wasn’t.” Tia practically said “However… he’s like this now, and that’s what matters the most at the moment.”
“He used to be kind.”
“You just used a past tense there Alex.” Tia gentle said, she knew they were walking on fragile ground “How long has it been since he’s done something kind for you or to you.”
“That doesn’t matter.”
“Since we moved here… he’s been different.”
“Then you know what you should do. He’s had he’s time and he’s chance to change and now you owe him nothing. It’s for the best and it’s time for you to let him go, because he’s not your dad anymore. You have to let him go.”
“It’s not that simple. It’s never that simple.”
“No… it’s incredible simple. What I think you mean is it’s never that easy. It’s never going to be easy, he’s still the one who helped create you, he’s all you’ve known as a dad… but Alex you deserve better than what he’s become and what he’s given you.”
Alex sighed, the fight was visible leaving his body as his shoulders slumped down, because deep down in his soul and his hear, he knows that Tia is right…. But that didn’t make it hurt any less and it will never make it hurt any less.