Some had crumbled you straight to your kneesDid it cruel, did it tenderly
His boys – they looked so much like their mother. It was the eyes – the intensity of their gazes.
Barry had always been the one to initiate the two of them crawling into his lap. Thomas had been more adventurous. Like a puppy who never stopped moving; squirming to be free. Always trying to get free… Independent.
So, for the first part of his life, it was Barry who called for him instead of for Roberta when he had a nightmare.
They'd grown apart, him and the boys. At seven, Barry did became more attached to Roberta than to him. Perhaps because Roberta had time for them. She told them stories, she played with them and she took up their school lessons when he was too busy.
He watched them grow from a distance. He'd never been an affectionate man, but he wanted what was best for his children. If Barry and Tom got on better with Roberta than him, that was fine.
He noticed that Thomas had always belonged to himself, whereas Barry would attach himself to whoever came along. First to him, them to Roberta, then to his brother.
But of course, it had always been Thomas who he was most familiar with. Who he loved and trusted above all.
He wouldn't forget the expression on Barry's face when Mr Couling came to take them away in that little car… Even though he'd explained it, he could see it in Barry's eyes:
"How could you do this?" he seemed to be saying.
It was for the best.
No matter how close Laura was to him, Barry was and always would be his soul mate. Even now. All that stuff about how soul mates had to be lovers was rubbish. It was your other half. Tom's half – Tom.
Barry wasn't him though. He knew that better than Barry did. Barry had never really gotten it. Never realized how different they were.
Tom remembered telling him once, but Barry shut down on him, like he did. Didn't seem to take in a word. It was only after that Tom realized how much of that Barry retained. How much of it he let sit in his head and eat his heart up.
All the little things…
Barry was his best friend, his brother, his twin, himself. Because Tom wasn't all there without him. Never would be. No matter what anyone told him… he never would be.
He thought about doing it… once or twice… being with Barry again, because that had to be better than being here without him- waiting… but then he remembered Laura, and he couldn't do it anymore.
He'd betrayed Barry a hundred times too many, and he hadn't paid for half of it.
Even that time with the knife didn't pay for half of it.
Even this didn't pay for half of it.
There was nothing.
Nothing to do or to say… nothing.
He couldn't even cry because he would be crying for himself – because he never got to have him… and that was his fault.
And he knew that Barry would have done anything for him, because that was how Barry was. Barry would fall to his knees before anyone who showed him the littlest amount of affection because he wanted it so badly.
And Paul had it. He had it all, but he never gave it. There were times when Barry was so close to just giving himself over – forgetting everything he really wanted just because he knew that Paul wanted him.
The only thing he'd done for Barry that was good, was refused him…
If he had taken what Barry was offering him he would have robbed him, in a way, because Barry wasn't like him – Barry didn't want him the way he wanted Barry and he couldn't take that. That wasn't what he wanted.
Maybe because he was afraid – weak… or maybe because he was a good person.
But now neither of them had anything, right? And Barry was left with nothing.
With no one.
June 25, 2007