I entered the house as if freed from bondage. Skye and I made it upstairs and into my room and I stopped. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t known. No one had said anything. My furniture and floor were covered with plastic sheets. The rug was out of there. The walls were painted brown with a contrasting wall in burgundy. It all felt black to me. Dark. Forbidding. Hopeless.
My heart started beating fast, my breathing ragged, I screamed starting to hit the floor when Skye pulled on my sleeve. I remembered the closet and ran there. I yanked open the door and it too had been painted so all my things were gone from it. Nothing remained. It was empty. Even the rug on the floor: Gone.
I sat down in the closet on the bare floor. Skye with me. No MC Bear. Where was she? Was she okay?
Nothing. No shoes. No clothes. I began to rock, my hands over my ears, and sobbing uncontrollably, Skye’s feet on my legs as I rocked, and sobbed and began to say my colors. My life, I felt, had ended. I sat there a long time. Rocking.
Again. Again. Again. I said my colors. This was where the Voice had spoken to me. This was my special closet. This was my room. This was my space. What had happened? Why had it happened? What was I to do? From down the stairs I heard the lady’s voice yell very, very loudly:
“YOU DID WHAT???!!!?”
That’s all I heard.
I rocked and rocked and rocked. The black was inside, coursing through my veins. I felt jumbly. And I didn’t know what to do. But one thought came to me—the lady didn’t know about this either. I said my colors again. The argument was raging below. I said my colors again. And again. And again. And again. Then numbers. Then eleven. Then the phrase “hold you,” again and again and again.
That’s when the closet opened. The lady, tears on her face, entered. She came right in. She had never been inside the closet like that. She just crawled around Skye and sat next to me and pulled my rocking body onto her lap, stroked my hair and listened as I said the words over and over and over again: “hold you…”
“You precious little man. You do have words.”
I realized she had never heard me speak anything before this. I stopped talking.
“No, it’s okay. You can keep using them. I bet they help you feel better don’t they. You can keep talking. Let’s sit just quietly and you can speak as much as you need to until you feel better.”
I rocked on her lap, Skye with his paws again on my let, and said the words “hold you,” again and again and again and the black began to go away.
I got quiet. I stopped rocking and she spoke:
“Honey. I’m so sorry this happened. You deserve a home that is safe. And what you have had with us isn’t that. This time, well, daddy could have made a better choice. He certainly could have warned you, warned us. All your clothes are still in the house, they are in boxes and hung up in our bedroom. So, they are still here. Your shoes are in a box, so you will have to reset them in the order you like when we get them back in. However, I see your dad chose colors that are not your favorite.”
When she said this, I was surprised. I looked up at her. She knew? She knew I had a favorite color? How did she know? Then, I remembered the blue Toyota truck, my pairs of blue shoes, my blue shorts and t-shirts that I liked to choose to wear and I began to see maybe how she knew.
“So, let me ask you a question. Would you like to help choose what colors to paint your room? I know he already painted it, but we can paint it again with the colors you like.”
I stopped breathing. I didn’t know what to do with this. She was speaking to me. She was addressing me like I could understand. She was giving me the chance to have my room the colors I wanted. I was stunned. It so surprised me I just leaned into her. She just waited. That’s when I decided that maybe things might change around here like she had been promising.
“Okay then. For today, we cannot change your room. How about you sleep in the guest room tonight, with Skye, and MC bear, and then tomorrow morning you and I will go to the paint store and choose colors. We can choose a lighter color for three walls and a darker one for the wall that is now burgundy. That sound good?”
I nodded again. And then I started to cry, really cry. Not rocking and afraid, but just tears. I didn’t know why I was crying. I usually cried because the black had pressed into me, and it was too hard. But this time it felt like the happiness was too big to hold. The tears bubbled out of me and I leaned into the lady and hung onto her. And she put her arms around me and embraced me.
“Hold you,” she said.