He joined me on one of my visits to the hospital. I, there to work on defending myself against real life monsters, and him, well, I know someone hurt him, I just don't know exactly how. He was so tiny, even to me, sullen and pale. Dead looking really, especially in his eyes. If not for seeing him draw, you could imagine him dead, for that really was the only thing he did that ever promised there might be something behind those eyes.
Day after day, he sat, drawing, never looking, or speaking to anyone. Not his parents, his therapist, or even me. And day after day, I felt drawn to him. His eyes mirrored my own. Sure, I was better at faking it, but him and I, we were the same.
He shuffled from place to place, careful to never draw attention, to blend into the nothingness that would allow him to pretend. The other patients, well, they fumbled and bumbled around, and I, I sat with him.
I spoke to him, talking to him, pretended he was participating, though he didn't. The other kids, they made fun of us both, but really, I didn't care. Teasing words were nothing compared to daddy's angry hands and eyes that never saw me.
A few days later, we sat, as we had over and over, and I chatted with him about nothing, and he ignored. He was drawing an iguana. I said, "Oh what a pretty iguana" and he raised his head, and looked me right in the eyes, and he said in such a quiet voice "His name is Iggy".
Even I, as an emotionally disturbed "teenrager", understood the magnitude of his utterance. Apparently, so did everyone else, because the desk, or rather, everyone standing behind it, froze.
This child, who for years had not spoken to anyone, felt safe enough to speak to me.
Over the next few days I was brought into therapy sessions, as a translator of sorts, one broken child, reaching out to another. I watched his eyes learn to dance. I watched color return to his face. And I can tell you, there was nothing greater than the moment I heard him speak to his mama.
It has been so very long since my days with my sweet little friend, but many more have followed. Broken children, unreachable, for whatever reason, able to hear me, A gift, a blessing amidst pain. Hope for more, for them, and for me.
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