Just a short story I had to do.
Just a kid. An orphan. Alone. Maybe it's because I see myself in him. Maybe it was because I see there's still hope. He's a good kid. His parents raised him well. I wish I could have met them. I'm sure they're proud of him.
I know he misses them. Sometimes when I come home late at night, he's curled up in my chair in the living room. There's a fire going out in the hearth, casting shadows unseen behind the upholstered haven. Safely above the flames hangs a painting. I had it made from the family photo the boy gave me. His parents. He would come and gaze upon their faces when the pain of their absence was too much. A blanket is draped over his tiny form. Alfred put it on him. I know, because he did the same to me when my parents hung on the mantle. I pat his head and carry him off to his room.
He's strong. I don't see him cry. He has too much pride to let anyone see his tears. I know he does though. I can hear him at night. It's alright. It's expected. It's part of the healing. I was there when the tragedy happened. I heard his voice cry above all the others. It sounded familiar.
It sounded like mine.
The image of him clutching himself as he cried up on that platform was burned into my head for days. He looked so vulnerable. I wanted to help him. No, I needed to. So I brought him home.
I haven't told him who I really am. But it's only a matter of time before he figures it out. He's a very bright kid after all. Hopefully it will be at just the right time.
I've begun to doubt myself. I know I made the right decision of fostering him. I can't imagine a safer place for him to be. I wouldn't forgive myself if he became a criminal. But that's not what bothers me; it's...me that bothers me. I don't think I'm cut out for this job. I'm busy upholding my father's company during the day, and caring for the city at night. When do I have time to be a father?
I can't be a father. That's not who I am. I don't have a paternal bone in my body, and yet...I'm glad he's here. I'm glad I've taken on this responsibility. It's more then just the right thing to do, it what I want to do.
Because I see myself in him.
I walk into the dining room to see him sitting at the large table. Alone, as usual. I have gotten the day off, and intend on spending it bonding with my young ward. I approach the table quietly.
"Hello Dick, what are you up to?"
He's surprised, unused to seeing me home during the day. "Oh, hello. I'm just drawing."
Of course he is, there's a red crayon in his pale hand. "Do you like to draw?" I ask, leaning over the back rest of the chair.
"I don't mind it. Alfred found some crayons lying around. I thought it would be fun to do something else for a change."
'Something else' meaning anything other then brooding. It was good to see him being alive. A nice, healthy change. And it's only been a couple weeks.
"Do you mind if I join you?"
"Not at all."
I pull out the chair and take a seat across from him. He's quiet, concentrated. I look off to the side where a finished picture sat. Two people, swinging on bars. Both wearing spectacular colors. One man, and one woman, both smiling.
"They're in heaven." Dick speaks, noticing my intrigue. "They're performing for Jesus, since they were the best act in the world. They're so lucky too. I hope they don't miss me."
I look at him in question. "Why do you hope that?"
"Because I don't want them to be sad. I miss them terribly and it hurts. Heaven is a happy place, and someday, I'll see them again."
I find myself choking up at his innocence. "I never thought of it like that before Dick."
I reach over and grab a sheet of paper and some crayons. My muse sits in front of me, unaware. I never was good at drawing; it was just something to do on rainy days. I find the colored wax making its way onto the sheet, but I'm not conscious of my actions. His face is baby like, still so full of life. His hands are calloused from all the years of training. His lips are curled into an entertained smile. His cheeks are slowly turning pink as he realizes I'm watching him. Eyes of cerulean watch the page carefully, hiding secrets of things he's seen. Finally, his black locks fall into his face. Not taking after his mother or his father, they dance across his crinkled forehead.
For a moment, I steal a glance at the masterpiece in front of him. He's drawn me. "You've done a good job Dick."
He looks at mine. "And yours is good too dad." Suddenly he catches his blunder and his eyes widen. Before he can correct himself, my hand is on his head, messing his already unruly hair.
Just two kids. Orphans. But you know...we aren't so alone.
You can see the drawing here: fav. me / d5og57d (no spaces)