As I open the door, the room still looks the same.
Everything’s left as it was left behind.
Nothing’s changed, thrown away or moved.
A time capsule.
The stale smell of a boy’s bedroom has gone: the smell of the soccer pitch, smell of fear to fail, fear for girls, smell of too much deodorant.
His bed is still unmade. The pillow settled back, the shape of his head still visible of all the use of hair products. When I hold the pillow really close, I can still smell him. So much different than the smell of when he was a baby, the smell that leaves you crying when you think of the innocence, helplessness. When your child still needs you.
The cable of his laptop still lies on his bed, forgotten. His thoughts were always all over the place. The bloc note on his desk is ready to be used for homework, homework he never felt like doing, homework he never really did. The ink of the handwritten letter smudged.
I pick up the bloc note from his desk, sit at the edge of his bed and read the note, again. I must have read it 150 times already. I know every word, every blank space. He never was much of a talker. The written words have left a mark on my soul: the hopelessness, desperation. Unable to explain how much he suffered, how they broke his will.
It’s been a year now.
He closed the door behind him, on his way to school. The daily commute: hiding in the mass, loneliness in the crowd.
I really didn’t see it coming. You always think it happens to others.
‘Do your best,’ my last words. Soulless, my thoughts already with the daily boredom of my job. My job that always came first, before friends, family. Selfish.
‘Whatever,’ his final word. No hug, no kiss, no love. A teenager.
The phone rang at eleven that morning. Never made it to school. Cellphone no service. No connection to the world. Invisible, escaped from hell. His backpack and laptop were never found. His body found under the bridge. Lives shattered.
The bullying stopped.
So much pain, right under my nose. Hidden scars worn in public, not able to reach out. Unable to reach me.
I press the pillow closer to my face. I can’t go on, without him.