The boy and my twitter-patted state were long forgotten in the 24 hour after math...even longer, now that I think about it, because what I now felt was different. I was trying to be the rock my family needed and on the surface I was doing well. Underneath, I was crumbling and desperately needed a rock of my own.
The boy is re-introduced to the story...
Tragedy struck on a Saturday. I think the boy came over that Sunday evening, but I can't be sure. He said, "I don't know what to say or do," and hugged me like I wasn't fragile and breakable, the way I felt inside, by fiercely as if he might not ever let go.
My cousins were staying with my dad and I. I was operating on autopilot. The baby was still in critical condition. My mother was still gone. My grandfather, the pillar of our family and retired minister, was questioning every ounce of faith he had within him.
The boy had a bag.
"I feel silly giving this to you now," he said, "but I thought of you when I saw it and now I know you need it."
It was a simple athletic logo sweatshirt. The kind that gets softer with each wash and wear, in my favorite shade of purple with a touch of comforting heather gray.
"It's like a hug all the time." he said, "and I brought movies for the kids. Funny ones. To distract them. My little brother helped me pick."
That sweatshirt and those movies were my life line and I clung to that boy for dear life.