Today’s post is brought to you by AJ’s Rory’s Cubes: a lightbulb, shadow monster and a book thusly titled Bright Theory.
This is not cannon.
Hunter was afraid of the dark, and for good reason. His nightmares rivaled my own, and the problem was they usually came true. The darkness closed in on us as the sun dropped and Hunter clung to me more so than usual. A dream had woken him from sleep last night. Sweat and terror poured off of him like he’d been drowning in it for hours. And he likely was. He refused to talk about it, the memory still fresh in his head.
My son had taken to drawing his dreams much like I had for therapeutic reasons, and he and I flipped through the dreams finding the next clean page to sketch out his dream he’d woken from even though night hadn’t fallen again. Such was the thing of his nightmares.
Everyone else was watching TV in the media room, it was just myself and my son curled up in his bed with his notebook, the dim light of a night stand light and the shadows on the walls.
With a wave of his hand he formed a black stick of charcoal and sketched out the images from his nightmare. His notebooks were full of color and detail and he’d taken an interest in art classes, so we had enrolled him in an art class at his new school. And we’d continue for as long as he was interested. He chose various mediums but always reverted to the charcoal and paper in his nightly journal. The smears and the reverse images were all part of the experience he used to get from one moment to the next. His routine, much like mine was a necessity for healing.
The others really didn’t understand the bright theory he’d come up with. The dim lights, the black smudges, were all part of his mind. He drew what he saw like he was living it again. But this time he had control. Control of his self, his emotions and his actions. He wasn’t just a bystander. He processed the images twice. The trauma radiating through his body again as he sketched. I said nothing just watched as my son went through the motions. He took comfort in my presence. He gave me a soft smile when he looked over at me curled around him protectively.
“Alex sometimes sings to me.” Hunter whispered into the darkness, “He doesn’t like the quiet like you do.”
I chuckled, “What’s he sing?”
“Stand by me.” Hunter said with a smile.
“He sings that to me too.” Which made Hunter’s smile widen. My kids loved Alex, we all did, but it made me happy to see that they loved him as much as me, sometimes they loved him more than me. He was the fun parent. He didn’t make them eat their vegetables or go to bed on time. But he had this way of making them do what he wanted, and if I hadn’t known better I would say he manipulated them, but his tactics were no fun later if you didn’t listen now. He didn’t use his gift to manipulate the kids. He could, and he helped myself and Hunter get through particularly hard moments with a thought. Sometimes just knowing you weren’t alone in your head helped.
My kids would never feel the loneliness I felt as a child. They would always be loved. Always and forever.