A Touch of Silk

May 1, 2008
I leaned against the alley's wall, dirt and grime covering me from head to toe. My lip bled, and my left eye was swollen shut. I tried to move my hand, and winced as pain from the bruising on my knuckles flashed up my arm. What was I doing in this alleyway, you're wondering? I'll tell you. I'd gotten into another fight, of course. That's what I always did.

Let me explain. I don't really care about what happens to me anymore. I could die for all I care. My parents always work, and never have any time for me. In their absence I grew lonely, being an only child. I'd begun to isolate myself in school, and my grades dropped. I literally stopped caring. I found that the only way to relieve the feelings I kept pent up inside was to fight, ignoring the fact that I was always hurt in the process. The adrenaline rush always served it's purpose, offering me a temporary relief from my miserable existence. I mean, if the people who brought me into this world didn't care, then why should I?

I laughed, a low chuckle, and as I did this, the laugh became a sob, and my shoulders shook as the single sob became many, shaking my frame violently. Soft sounds managed to escape from my throat as I cried, the tears streaking through the muck on my face. I struck out with my foot, and knocked over the nearest garbage can with a clanging sound, debris tumbling out as the lid fell off, and it rolled a few feet before stopping. I cried harder, and began to pound the ground with my fists, heedless of the pain of the bruises.

My lower lip trembled, as my soft noises became louder and louder. Lightning flashed across the sky, and, drop by drop, it began to rain. As the rain got harder, so did my tears, and I lifted shaking hands to my face, covering my eyes. Blood dripped from the heel of my right palm, where I'd split the skin from pounding my hands on the ground. My tears, the rainwater, and my blood mixed, falling is pinkish rivulets down my face.

"What's the matter?"

A voice, that of a little boy, soft as silk, cut through the sound of the rain and my crying. Slowly, I moved my hands from my face, and looked up with my good eye to see a small boy, as I'd suspected, standing in front of me. He wore a jacket and rainboots, a small umbrella in his hand. He stared at me with wide, innocent brown eyes.

"What's the matter?" he repeated. His voice really was like the softest silk, oddly comforting and soothing.

"Nothing," I said, but my voice cracked.

"Yes, there is," he said. "My Mommy says that people don't cry unless they're sad. What's wrong?"

I smiled slightly. "Your mommy says that, huh?"

He nodded. "Yep, that's what Mommy says."

"You're lucky," I said. "Your mommy loves you."

He cocked his head, those beautiful brown eyes squinting in confusion. "And your mommy doesn't?"

I shook my head. "No, I don't think she does."

He came closer, lowering himself so that he sat next to me. He moved the umbrella so it covered us both. "What do you mean?"

"All my Mommy does is work. She's never home, never talks to me, I don't see her." I sighed. "She and my Daddy don't have time for me."

"No." I turned to look at the boy, who was shaking his head enthusiastically. "No, I don't think that's true."

I glared at him. "And how would you know?"

"Because my Mommy works a lot, too," he said. I raised a brow at him. "She says the reason she works so hard is so that I'll be able to have everything she didn't have as a child. So that I can be happy, she says. She does it for me."

I stared at him. "But, what about your dad?"

He smiled up at me. "My Daddy died a year ago."

I blinked. How could this boy openly admit to his father dying, and still be able to smile like that? "Then, aren't you left alone a lot?"

"Yeah, I'm alone sometimes. My neighbor checks up on me when Mommy's at work, though, but it's usually just me."

"B-but," I stuttered, "aren't you lonely?"

He tapped his tiny finger against his mouth. "Sometimes, I guess, but then I just read the notes, and I feel all better."

My brows furrowed. "Notes?"

He nodded, a wide smile crossing his face. "Yeah, yeah! My Mommy and I write notes to each other. Sometimes I draw a picture too!"

"You...you write notes?" I couldn't believe it, they wrote notes to each other? He didn't feel lonely?

"Mm-hm." He looked up at me. "I ask her how she's doing, she asks me how my day was, and she always tells me she loves me at the end."


He nodded. "You should try it with your Mommy!"

I nodded slowly. "I guess."

He stood up. "Sorry, I have to go. Mommy's coming home early today, and she said she'd make my favorite for dinner!" He reached into his jacket pocket, and pulled out a Band-Aid. "For your hand," he said, looking at my, now only slightly bleeding, palm.

I took it from him. "Thank you."

He smiled, and my heart wrenched at the sight. "You're welcome!" He ran to the front of the alley, turning at the last second. "It never hurts to hope, you know? Try a note, it'll work!" he shouted back at me, then, as suddenly as he'd shown up, he was gone.

Hope. It was a word I hadn't heard in a long time.

I picked myself up, and headed home, the little boy's words playing through my mind. I'd planned on taking a bath, then going straight to bed, but before I could crawl under the covers, the stationary and pens on my desk stopped me. It couldn't hurt to try, right?

So I left a note, asking my parents how work was, how their day had gone, on the kitchen table where they'd be sure to find it. I doubted they'd reply, but, hey, I'd promised the kid anyway.

So when I found a note for me on the kitchen table the next morning, I nearly reeled in shock. With shaking fingers, I opened it up to see what was inside.

To our beautiful daughter, it said. How are you? We were surprised to find your note, it's been so long since we've seen each other. Our work is going fine, but we miss you a lot. We wish we could see you more, so we'll try to get a day off, to spend just with you, okay? We can go to the park, or something. If you feel lonely while we're gone, just know that the reason we're working so hard, is because we want you to have everything we couldn't as children. But most importantly, we want you to be happy. Have a nice day, honey. We love you.

Mom and Dad

Water dripped onto the page, and I noticed that I was crying. Only, this time, for the first time in my life, I think, I wasn't crying tears of sadness, but joy. He'd been right. The little boy had been right. They did care about me, they did want me to be happy.

They did love me.

I clutched the note to my chest, as the purest tears I'd ever cried dripped down my face, brought on by the simplest of notes, and a tiny 'we love you'.

Over time, the bruises faded, and I noticed, they never came back. I found a new note every morning, and I wrote back every night. I stopped isolating myself, and my friends came back, and my grades picked back up.

"You know," one such friend said to me one day, "you used to be so dreary and sad. What happened to bring you back to your old self?"

All I could do was smile up at her and say, "Hope."

She merely looked puzzled, but no matter how hard I tried, I knew I'd never be able to adequately describe the events of that day when I'd met the little boy. The little boy who'd taught me that it was okay to hope. The little boy, who had made it possible for me to heal my realtionship with my parents. The little boy, who's voice had been the softest touch of silk on my once wounded heart.

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Shelbadee said...
Dec. 19, 2008 at 11:19 pm
I really like this! Simple, yet powerful. A
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