The Boy I Sit Next To Is Myself
I think about him often. His wavy blond hair and blue eyes, with dimples that cave into an innocent face. Typically, when we talk, we walk in the woods or sit next to an old oak tree examining acorns thinking it’s the most wonderful thing in the world.
I sometimes see the panic in the little boy’s eyes. His seven year old self longing for when he was six. It’s when it started, the abuse. I ask the boy to breathe with me and relax his thoughts as we mindfully walk, hand in hand. I gently offer for him to bring his eyes to the beauty that surrounds him. To sip on water from a bottle, and then reflect on how the water was once a cloud that drifted freely above our heads, through the sky, and never really disappeared, but continues. The thought relaxes him, that everything changes, but also stays the same. It’s a connection that I have with the boy. He was once me, and still is.
We change through time. That is a given. If we are lucky our face has the opportunity to wrinkle and our joints become a little stiff through years of experience. Yet, we are also the child we once were. We can return to that child at any time and nurture them, visit, and hold them close, telling them that we survived and are living a life of exhaustive laughter. It’s our moment to show them that their fears of being stuck in the abuse they are enduring will go away; and that you will one day be a strong, compassionate and empathetic adult who leads a good life.
As I look down with loving eyes, I tell the boy that he will not be hurt anymore. He will grow into a man who will love a woman with all his might. As we stop our rambling through the trees, overlooking the horizon, I show him pictures of his mother to let him know that she made it to an old age and she experienced laughter. I assure him with a gentle smile that he will make mistakes, and that is okay, but he will become a reflective man, one that truly cares for others and tries to show them through his words and actions. The boy grasps my hand and leans in. I can feel his warmth at my side and he feels secure in my arms. I am the man that he can trust. I survived for him.