He was cute.
That was the first thing I’d noticed, that warm spring day last year when I first saw him. It had been a beautiful day, the sun had come out for the first time in days, trees and flowers were in bloom, the wind was blowing making stray leaves and flower petals dance quietly along the sidewalk. I’d decided to go for a walk by the grade school down the street, it was recess and all the kids were out playing with one another. All except one.
He looked sad.
He was small, not exactly sickly looking but frail, fragile, as though he was not cared for properly, neglected even. He was a fair skinned child with short dark hair that made his skin look pale and ghostly in the sunlight. He was sitting out in the field, all alone, leaning up against the cold harsh metal of the chain link fence, his legs stretched out in front of him, toes pointed, and a book lying open on his lap. The blowing wind was causing the pages to whip around violently but he didn’t seem to be bothered, I don’t think he even noticed. His eyes were focused on the play structure on the opposite side of the field, watching all the other kids running and jumping around, his face was expressionless but his eyes betrayed his emotions, hollow and dark, showing exactly how sad and lonely he really was.
He was perfect.
I had smiled to myself and kept walking, reaching up occasionally to brush a strand of hair away from my face, tucking it behind my ear. My house wasn’t too far away, only half a block East and it took only a few minutes to get there from the schoolyard, the whole way back my mind was on the beautiful lonely boy with the sad eyes. I’d let myself into the house and set my keys down on the small antique table in the hallway, looking up and smirking at my reflection in the mirror, brushing my long hair back, the vivid green of my eyes standing out like an angel in hell in the darkened room.
It should have been easy, just like before. No worries.
I’d turned away from the mirror and made my way into the living room, turning on the lights as I went, my eyes briefly flicking up to glance at the picture frames hanging on the wall, the eyes of half a dozen young boys staring back at me. The memories of half a dozen years drifting through my mind as if someone had started a movie reel in my head, the images of half a dozen boys smiling and laughing, running and playing.
eautiful, happy, carefree.
Sighing I had sat down heavily, allowing my head to roll back and rest tiredly against the plump couch cushion. Images still played through my mind, Justin playing on the swings, smiling and giggling as I pushed him higher and higher, the wind whipping his hair back and stinging his eyes. Eric’s eyes squeezed shut as he lay on this very sofa, chest rising and falling softly with every breath he took. Adam’s heavy breathing as I stroked his velvet soft skin, my body pressed tight against his groans and sighs falling from wet lips. David’s sobs as I roughly forced him into the back of my car, the night sky masking us from prying eyes as he fought against me. Gavin’s cries and pleas for help as I tore the clothes off his young body, tossing them aside carelessly. Ryan’s small lifeless body getting soaked as rain pounded down around us while I shoveled dirt from underneath a big oak tree.
They had all been so easy, so beautiful, so innocent. This boy had been no different.
Gerard, the small, fragile child with the wide grin and bright eyes. Gerard, the pure, honest, gentle boy with the soft lips and intoxicating touch. Gerard, the dark haired boy who only wanted to be loved, to have a friend.
‘Bert’ he’d say, his quiet voice laced with tenderness, ‘I’ll always be with you, I’ll always love you. I’ll stick by you no matter what.’
I only wish I could say that was true. He trusted me. I trusted he’d never betray me. He loved me. I loved his innocence. He wanted love and friendship. I only wanted him.