“I’m going to disappoint you. But you already knew that,” I say, leaning over the sleeping tattooed boy on the bed, and kissing his black haired head. This knowledge is heartbreaking, to both of us, even if he can’t hear me say it right now. His heart has been broken so many times in ways I have not even experienced and will never experience, no matter how long I go on. What is my trivial heartbreak over the fair-haired man-child at the university who said he wanted someone else, in comparison to what this boy has known? The list of people he believes have failed him is long. Compared to the social workers and P.O’s who took him away every time, saying it was for his own benefit, even when he begged to stay?
An unsuitable home is still better than no home. He would tell me that in a heartbeat. He has told me that, in the moments of frustrated sobs that come when the feelings get too big, and he cannot say the things that scream at him from the inside. He has told me that, when he can see the flicker in my eyes that says he has struck a nerve again. He knows what real meanness is, but he uses his hurt like a weapon, a blockade to keep me out, to keep the feelings from growing even bigger and consuming him.
“It won’t always be this way,” I say to myself. I hope our disappointment is interspersed by moments of love and joy. High points of laughing cuddles on the couch while we watch Blazing Saddles one more time and sunny afternoons in the park. Celebrations of the little things. But just as I have learned not to hope for these, I have learned to temper my expectations of bliss. I will only disappoint myself.