In the dark, lying next to him, I am listening as he describes our new home, a pretend home, one he has never seen or been to. It has a green staircase and the hall has a stone floor. He doesn't like the cold floor or the colour of the stairs. Through a green door is the living room, there is a fire place with a copper chimney breast, he doesn't like the copper. There is a comfy chair and a rug and a big TV. He likes this room, but says it has the feeling of belonging to an old person. In the kitchen there is a shiny cooker and a tumble dryer and a very small TV. I think it is a happy house. In the attic there is a box. 'What is in the box?' I ask.
'Your secrets' He says, you can't look in there. 'But there is another box, my box, where I keep my secrets' He carries on 'And Tall Girl has a box with a mirror in it that you gave to her'
I am entranced at his descriptions, his depth of feeling, his imagination. I can see it all, just as he is describing it. There is a box for worries too, he says. One where you write your worries on some paper, tear it up and put the bits in the box. There is another box for wishes. You write the wishes down and put the paper in the pond. When you pick the paper from the pond the words have floated up to heaven for God to read, then you put the paper back into the wishes box.
He describes to me how the boxes are decorated, his, Tall Girls and mine. I listen carefully, knowing that this conversation is well overdue. He has not been himself of late. I have been away too much and he has bottled up his fears and worries. We all tend to keep him safe from the truth, he doesn't have the full picture. He is worried about the future. He says it is all so confusing.
Tonight I made him a promise that I hope I can keep; I told him we would be happy eventually and that everything would work out fine. I told him to remember two things: To trust me that everything will be ok and that if he wanted to talk to someone, then he should talk to a very lovely lady at his school. I promised him that she would listen and not tell, I know for a fact that that would be the case. I hope I have done enough.
I love him.
We need to move on, for all our sakes.