“What are you doing?” Chris asked as he walked into Alex’s bedroom, finding the smaller boy sitting at his desk, the lamp on, but the overhead light off.
“Writing.” Alex told him with a small smile on his face looking up from the piece of paper.
“You write poetry?”
I do… sometimes.” Alex replied “I like to write songs as well, before we moved. A friend of mine wanted to start a band and we started to write songs for it… but at the moment I’m writing a free verse.
“Will you read it to me?” Chris asked
“What’s going on?” Tia asked, as she leaned against the doorframe.
“Alex is going to read me a poem he wrote.” Chris said, as he walked over to the bed and sat on it.
“Oh… he is, is he.” Tia said, joining her brother on the bed, she left a gap between them patting it, signalling for Alex to join them.
The school was out for the week… since the shooter incident yesterday, leaving teenagers with far too much time on their hands.
“Sure I guess I’ll read it.” Alex told them as he sat next to Tia and Chris.
“It’s funny how a smile can hide a thousand tears,
Even a broken one can hide them
When someone is smiling they can fool everyone
They think everything is okay and that person is happy
They don’t brother to look closer
To found the truth,
They want to believe everything is okay
If they were to look closer they could see the truth
The scars on her arms,
They show her true feelings
If someone could see past the smiles
They would be able to save her
But they don’t and they won’t
Until it’s too late
But until then she smiles and laughs
And continues to foul everyone.”
The silence that followed his reading was that thick with anticipation, that someone could of cut it with a knife. It didn’t make sense to Alex, but he desired… no he wanted their approval so much that it hurt.
“Mind you… it’s just a rough draft.” Alex said, when the silence had gotten too much for him.
“And you just wrote that?” Chris slowly asked.
“Yes.” Alex whispered, his voice was so quite that he barely heard himself.
“I think it’s beautiful.” Tia said her tone was comforting and understanding “Sad… but beautiful non the less.”
“I agree.” Chris said, a sad smile on his face.
After that awkward moment, they started to talk about what the missed days would mean for the semester.
“Oh… I’m glad you three are together.” Robert said, entering Alex’s room and finding his children and Alex chatting on his bed. “I wanted to update you on everything.”
“Okay.” Chris said, moving from the bed onto the floor, but continued to lean on the bed.
“Well… it was very lucky that no one was hurt during yesterday’s… events.” Robert slowly said, thinking about how he was going to say each word before he said them “They found Joseph, I know you three asked about him. He went out a different door, which explains why we didn’t know about him to begin with. Also… Antonio Foster, Alex’s father, had been arrested for attempted murder and seven other accounts. That should be enough to get him tossed in jail… but if that isn’t that case, Alex, would you be willing to press charges for abuse and neglect?”
Alex stiffened for a moment before Tia’s hand come to rest on his shoulder, squeezing it softly, bringing him back to the situation at hand.
“Yes.” Alex whispered, nodding his head to make sure everyone understand.
“Okay.” Robert said, inclining his head in thanks. “Hopefully we won’t need to do that, also, we have been given emergency temporary custody of Alex… until the trail happened. Thankfully you kids won’t be taken part in it. After that… it depends on how the trail ends, if he goes to jail then we get full custody and if he doesn’t… we’ll have to see how the abuse and neglect case lead us.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we have to.” Chris said, he sounded very confident that very thing would work out in their favour “It shouldn’t be too hard to get permanent custody of Alex, since you’ve already adopted Tia and Harmony, so that should work out in your favour.”
Robert couldn’t help but smile as his son, who was so blissfully unaware of how much work it was going to take to get Alex away from his father, fondly.
“I need to speak to your mother, but Alex, are you sure you’re okay with all this?” Robert asked the young boy, since he didn’t want to plan everything for him and leave him out of it.
“Yes… I am if you are.”
“We’d like nothing more than to have you out if that environment and with us for good.” Robert told him, while smiling fondly at the, who seemed to put others before himself “Okay… well I’ll see you later.”
With that Robert walked out of the room and towards the stars.
“I’ll be right back.” Alex said, quickly hopping off his bed and rushing down the hallway. Robert was almost at the staircase when Alex caught up with him.
“Robert wait!” Alex said hurrying up and tapping him on the shoulder.
“Yes son?” Robert asked turning to face the boy.
It was the first time that Alex had spoken directly to him without being prompted and the first time he had volunteered to be on his own with the older man.
“I’m sorry.” Alex said, while shifting his feet on the carpet “I’m sorry… that I’m being impossible with you. At lease you know why I’m like that and it’s nothing personal… I swear that it isn’t… it’s just I don’t like being around most adults and I want to thank you for trying to make me relax.”
“Of course, I don’t mind.” Robert said… his heart breaking all over again for this poor damaged boy… who never put himself first, and still didn’t “There’s no rush, just take your time… don’t worry I understand and I can wait.”
Alex gave him a quick hug before running back to his room, without another word being spoken. The hug only last a second, but it was a step forward… a step towards healing old scars and Robert could take what he was given… what he could get, because very step forward showed that they weren’t too late and there was hope… it differently gave Robert hope.