Thursday, 17 January 2013


JournalWord: Raising an angel.


The farther she walks into the park, the quieter the city bustle sounds. Automobiles disappear behind hedges and bushes, and buildings become obscured by the towering trees. The familiar pavement trampled by thousands scouring the city are momentarily replaced by a cobble stone path edged in grass, with stray leaves peeking through the spaces between the pale stones. 

Sarah inhales deeply as she strolls, replacing the scent of vehicle exhaust and fast-food grease with the leafy and clear air of her escape. She shrugs off the strap of her purse from her shoulder so it slides down her arm and into her palm. She swings her purse by the strap, a bounce in her step as she enjoys her minuet break. 

This is her time to not think about her job or her engagement. This is her time to forget that she's a secretary to an over-demanding boss and that her future mother-in-law is making all the decisions for the wedding. Sarah shakes her head, dispelling the thoughts from her mind as she locates her favorite bench.

She almost runs to the bench when she finds the elaborately carved, wooden seating, gracious for the relief off her heels. Settling in the shade, she tips her head back, allowing her blonde curls to slip from her shoulders and over the back of the bench. "This is relaxing," she whispers to the silence, and addressing the little park, "I hope you never leave me to this noisy, stressful world."

Her mind is completely clear, and she almost succumbs to the invitation to a quick cat nap when an angry squawking interrupts her silence. Pinching her lips and furrowing her brow at the noise, she pops open her eyelids and is startled by what she witnesses between the trees. 

A cluster of grey birds tumble from the sky, like a living asteroid cascading to the Earth. The flurry of feathers lands, in a flash, in the bushes meters in front of her, after tumbling through tree branches. Feathers and snapped leaves flutter from where the mass has landed in the hedges.

Sarah is back on her heels in an instant, her lip worrying between her teeth as she attempts to process what just happened. Her love of animals, however, decides to intervene and she heads for the direction of the birds escaping the collision. She pries open the bushes and hedges to slip through the foliage, scowling lightly when branches and twigs scratch at her arms and legs. As she gets closer, she recognizes the birds that are slowly trickling out of the bushes as simple, city pigeons.

Prying through a hedge, she is surprised to find that she isn't alone with the birds. A boy sits, surrounded by tufts of feathers and a bed of leaves, his legs splayed underneath him with pigeons preening around him. Two pigeons preen his light brown hair as they nestle like a crown on his head. He gently strokes the feathers of a pigeon on his lap, eyes downcast as another gray pigeon pecks at his foot. 

In her surprise, Sarah snaps a branch from the hedge she is holding away from her and effectively startles the pigeons, sending them fluttering off and into the sky with a series of discouraged coos. More feathers cascade down and as she stumbles through the bush, brushing off the leaves from her coat, she is caught in a gaze of the bluest eyes she has ever seen.

"Are you alright?" she ask and gasps when she intakes his appearance. She rushes to him, avoiding his captivating, beautiful gaze, and fingers the white bandages on his shoulders. The bandages cover up his body from his neck to his wrists and ankles. "Are you hurt?" 

She lifts her head and he lifts his as well to meet her concerned gaze. He shakes his head and she expels a breath, although she furrows her eyebrows as she suspects he is lying. She inspects his face and is momentarily stunned by his beauty. 

His cropped, light brown hair softly frames his heart-shaped face, curling at the ends against his jaw. His features are delicate and his skin is smooth and light. The blue irises of his eyes are azure pools that sparkle lightly like a newborns. He tilts his head slightly to the left and lifts his bud lips into a small smile at her stare.

She stutters, embarrassed for staring for too long. "W-where are your parents? I'm sure they're very worried about you," she says and his answer is a blank stare. His smile doesn't waver, but abruptly, he swings his arms around her neck and latches her into a hug. 

She doesn't know what to do. The last time she dealt with children was in high school when she babysat her neighbor's children on Saturdays, and they wanted everything but hugs. For a moment, she waves her arms so they hover around him in uncertainty. 

"Um," she says, lightly placing her hands on his shoulders to push him off, cautiously scanning for someone to help. Surely a hug doesn't last this long, she wonders when no one yells at her to leave the kid alone. "I should take you to the police so they can find your parents," she says, hopeful, but he doesn't respond or loosen his hold on her. "How about you tell me where you live so I can take you home," she persuades, yielding the same response. 

Sighing, she takes a second to think. He's covered in bandages and doesn't want to go home or to the police. And he doesn't want to let go of me, she adds, summing up the situation. Maybe he's being abused? Sarah frowns at the memory of her her own runaway experience in the past and decides he must have a reason, like she did, to leave home.

Feeling empathy for the kid, she softly whispers, defeated, "Do you want to come home with me? You can stay the night and tomorrow we'll deal with police and your parents."

He pulls away for a moment to smile at her and she is instantly enchanted; her heart warming at the thought of this kid smiling even when he has to deal with abuse. Her concern for his well being shoots higher when he shivers at a chilly autumn gust.

She whips her head around in search of his jacket and picks up the white coat laying on his lap. "You should put on your coat," she instructs, slipping his arms from around her neck through the sleeves. She discovers that he is nude for only the bandages and she briefly flares at the extent of his injuries from his abusers as she buttons the coat. 

Pulling him to his feet, she realizes that he is barefoot. She shuffles through her purse, pushing aside her wallet and bunches of loose receipts to find the pair of flats she keeps in her purse for days when her feet feel pained by her heels, slipping them on his feet. She stares at his feet a moment, a thought to his smooth soles. How can a runaway not have any sign of his trek through the city on his bare feet? She shrugs off the thought, relenting that it's only a small detail, and unties her green scarf, wrapping it around the boy's neck for extra warmth.

He tilts his head down and buries his chin in the fabric, stroking the green scarf with a smile. His eyes lifts up to her and he beams an excited smile and she accepts his silent, but happy, gesture as a sign of appreciation. Offering her hand, he latches his own to her fingers, one hand still stroking the scarf. 

They crawl through the bushes back to the path, and the boy never releases her hand, almost floating as he slides through the opening she creates in the hedges. On the path, she starts out of the park, one hand digging through her purse again, this time in search of her cell phone. 

"Hello, Margaret," she greets her boss, "I'm going to be taking the rest of the day off. I'm not feeling well and Janine can take care of the rest of your appointments." Sarah almost breathes a sigh of relief when her boss doesn't ask beyond a thoughtful get well and apology for overworking her for the last couple of weeks, ending the conversation with a simple instruction to "have a restful weekend". As she hangs up, she realizes that the boy is very fidgety. He whips his head back and forth, and when she tucks her phone back into her purse, he turns to look up at her, wide eyed and awestruck.

He follows her lead easily and his childish awe of the city dispels her happiness at his excitement. He should be around nine years old, maybe ten, she wonders, but he doesn't talk, or won't talk. Maybe he's a mute? But why is he acting as if he has never been to the city? Does he live out of the city? Then how did he get here?

"My name is Sarah," she introduces, and casually asks, "What's your name?" She smiles, hopeful, but he only stares at her, so she sighs. "Well I need to call you something. Should I make up a nickname for you?" 

To her surprise he smiles and nods his head, and she laughs at his excitement. "Blue," she says unexpectedly. "I'll call you Blue, because of your eyes." 

They continue walking, dodging the bustle of the streets and as they stroll, she feels Blue tug at her hand. He points at a steaming hot dog stand with a crowd and, realizing that it is almost noon, she steers them to the stand, ordering two hot dogs. 

When she presents him the hot dog, he eyes it with fascination glittering in his eyes. She pretends not to notice when he watches her lift the hot dog to her lips for a bite. After chewing then swallowing her bite, she prompts him to eat it and squeezes the hand that hasn't left hers. Slowly, he lifts the hot dog to his mouth, biting it and chewing with a satisfied smile. She chuckles, wiping the splatter of mustard on the edges of his lips with a napkin. 

They enjoy their lunch by watching the crowd in solemn silence and sitting on the edge of a fountain. The fountain is still on, but the water doesn't splash and waver by the edge. Blue almost abandons his hot dog to dive into the water, but Sarah quickly catches him. "You can't go diving, not in this weather. Eat your hot dog," she reminds, and watches as he frowns slightly  while biting the hot dog. Dejected at his disappointment, Sarah dips her fingers into the water and smiles. Hesitantly, he dips his fingers in as well, flicking up water with a smile. 

He stops playing with the water, staring intently at the surface. Worried, Sarah peers in, but only  finds his reflection. "It's just your reflection," she says and his confusion peaks as he pokes the reflection in the face. The water flutters and blurs the image, but when the surface settles, his image is clear. Her concern vanishes when he brings his hot dog to his mouth, watching himself eat with an amused, silent laugh.

They finish off their lunch and start back on the route to her apartment. She finds that his reactions to the passersby is much more interesting as she decides this must be his first time in the city. He dares not to stray into the crowd or tug on her hand to point out anything else he wants. His facial expression of wide eyed and open mouthed awe swivel left and right as he desperately tries to take in all the people and activity as they walk.

When they arrive to her apartment, he takes a moment to stare up at the building, tilting his head back to see the top. She ushers him into the lobby and head for the elevator, and he obediently follows but clutches to her side when the elevator jerks and starts it's climb. 

Her flat is not far down the hall and when she opens the door, he instantly shoots out of her grasp and into the living room. Surprised by his excitement, she locks the door and takes off her coat and heels, depositing her purse on the counter of her kitchen to search for him. She catches the sight of his white coat laying, crumpled on the floor of her living room and decides to pick it up. She shakes out the coat so it doesn't wrinkle and recognizes that it's actually a lab coat. Confused at why a child would have only a lab coat on him, she follows the trail of her discarded flats in the hall leading to her room. 

She finds him tucked on her bed, curled up with only her green scarf still tied around his neck. Her heart warms and she wonders if this is what motherhood feels like. She dispels the thought from her mind and scoops him in her arms, surprised by how light he is for a kid his age. Pulling back the sheets and comforter, she tucks him in, and just as she finishes tucking him in, he tosses around so his back faces her. She smiles as he lightly snores, unaware that he has just messed up her careful tucking, so she lifts the blanket to tuck him in again.

At the sight of his back, she stops. From his shoulder blades to the bottom of his rib cage, two elongated bumps run down his back from under the bandages. Hesitantly, she lifts a finger to stroke down the length of one, startled when he sighs. The bumps flex and twitch under the bandages when she moves her finger away. Sarah tears up at the thought of what the abusers did to this poor kid, appalled at what happened to create the bumps on his back. Carefully, she tucks the blankets and sheets around him again, patting his hair lightly before leaving him to sleep.


Yeah, I know, there are a lot of questions being left unsaid (Welcome to my strange mind... hehe), but I promise they'll all be answered in the next segment of this story. Nevertheless, let me know what you think (just a few words is fine :D). 

I didn't realize just how busy I would be and how much sleep I'll be missing :(. The missing sleep is probably the worst part though, and after some careful consideration,  I think I may have to postpone my BCIT plans for next year. I don't think I'll be able to complete all the requirements (especially the volunteer hours at the hospital) in time, which is a definite bummer. Maybe I'll work and save up money and take a year off school to get myself together. Who knows, really. So yeah, I'm a mess (lol, just a tid bit more than I usually am), but hopefully everything gets sorted out in the end. 

I just pray that "the end" isn't when I'm 30, or something. I've got other things to do then (like raise, a hopefully real, son named Hexane!).

Thanks for reading, and be good!


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