Grace stood at Rory’s bedroom door. She hadn’t heard her little boy cry since he was a toddler. She desperately wanted to get inside, to wrap him up in her arms and keep him safe from whatever was breaking his heart.
She knows something happened at school. He has always been sensitive, always withdrawing deep into himself, always unable to articulate his hurt.
Grace was in the kitchen and saw out of the corner of her eye the hurried figure of Rory rushing to his bedroom. The door slammed, then locked, and then she heard the crying.
Their house was old, but not old enough to have those old style locks where you could peer through the keyhole.
Rory, she called out. Her voice was feeble and unsteady. Rory, she repeated.
The sound of his stereo blasted his response that he didn’t want to talk. She didn’t recognise the song, a throwback to the eighties, she thought. As the beat got going, she could hear her son scream into the pillow.
Being locked out of Rory’s life was tearing a hole in her. What purpose does she have if she can’t keep her children safe? She placed her palm against the door as if she were a superhero and could suck out his pain.
She would. She would take all of his pain. She felt the same the moment he was born, and he cried out at the injustice of being separated from her. Grace wanted them to give him to her, but they insisted on cleaning him and then wrapping him before finally letting her take him. She wanted to rip off the clothe his tiny body, so they could be skin on skin.
Now it was the wooden door separating them, preventing her from being there for him.