The Heart Grieves

by

Angelise and Megan McKay

Copyright December 2000


Trent stared out the window, his left foot setting the rocking chair in motion. It was a beautiful spring day outside and the young 11-year-old hated it. The cool sunshine was too happy, too bright, too wrong. Trent wanted a gray, sad rain to be falling. He wanted a day to match the pain in his heart.

The slender blonde clutched the lavender sweater close, wrapping its fuzzy warmth around him as he buried his face in the soft wool, inhaling the subtle fragrance that still clung to it. Tears began to fall afresh, trailing down Trent's pale cheeks, caught and absorbed by the fleecy fabric.

The lanky youth pulled out the picture frame from its hiding place underneath the sweater. He traced the woman's features, his fingers shaking. Bringing the frame close, he pressed several kisses to the glass.

"Why God? Why did my mom have to die?"

Trent left the rocking chair and wandered around his parents' room, touching objects that had belonged to his mother. He opened her closet and gathered several dresses, hugging them, hiding his face in the familiar textures. He then walked over to the nearby vanity table and opened the jewelry case. Reaching in, Trent removed a treasured piece.  Clutching it in his hand, Trent gathered together the sweater and picture and settled back in the rocker. He curled up with his treasures, his thin body trembling with his silent sobs as he rocked back and forth for over an hour, lost in the memories of his mother.

A hand shook his shoulder. The young boy looked up; his Aunt Macy stood over him.

"Come back in the living room, Trent. Your grandma wants to see you."

Blond curls tossed wildly as the lad shook his head no.

The older woman pulled on the sweater and picture frame.  "Put this stuff away and come see your grandma. She has to leave in the morning and you won't see her again 'til Christmas."

The items were taken from his hands and thrown down on the bed. Trent cried out and reached to retrieve them. His attempt was prevented by his Aunt Cathy, a large heavyset woman. She forced Trent to look at her.  "Boy. You need to quit all this crying. Your momma wouldn't want it. She'd want you to be outside playing with your friends. Now, come see Grandma Evans and then you can go."

Trent allowed himself to be guided down the hallway but the instant he felt his aunt's grip loosen, he was gone. He slammed out of the house, stumbling into various relatives as he made his escape. His long legs ate up the distance as he ran to the one place that would always be his refuge.

+++++++

Devin was shaking hands with the minister when he saw his son bolt from the house. With sorrowful eyes he watch Trent trip and fall, a cry of pain echoing back to him. His son wasted no time in jumping to his feet and racing out of sight.  An understanding grip on his arm refocused his attention to the young boy standing beside him. Blaine looked up at him, his dark blue eyes wet with tears.

"It's okay. I know where he's going."

Devin hugged the boy, his best friend's son.  "It's been so hard on him, Blaine. Watching his mother die."  The older man released a weary sigh.  "It happened so fast. There was no time; the cancer was everywhere. She was gone before Trent and I knew it."

Blaine looked down the street in the direction his friend had gone.  "Don't worry, Mr. Anderson. I'll take care of him. I'll help him through this."

Devin offered the youth another hug before leaving to deal with his wife's grieving relatives.

+++++++

Blaine quickly made his way home, going straight to the ancient oak that held his beloved treehouse. He discovered a trail of clothes that led to his childhood hideaway and with patient care, he picked up Trent's shirt, tie, socks and shoes. Folding the clothes neatly, he placed them at the base of the trunk.

Slowly Blaine climbed up the tree and crawled inside the wooden structure. He stood there silently, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dimness. A mournful sob alerted him to Trent's whereabouts. He moved toward the far corner, his gaze taking in the huddled form, hidden under a tattered quilt, a quilt Trent's mother had made.

His heart went out to his best friend. He couldn't ... didn't even want to imagine how much it would hurt to lose his own mother. Even at 12 years old, Blaine knew that he and Trent had been blessed with wonderful parents . . . parents that showed only love to them. The loss of even a small measure of that love could only intensify the pain his friend must be feeling.  Blaine thought back to when his Nanna died. He had only been 4 years old then. She was a nice old lady who used to give him sweets when they visited her. He couldn't remember much about his grandma but he did recall that his mom had been really sad when she passed away. His dad had spent a lot of time comforting her, hugging and kissing and letting her cry on his shoulder.

The 12-year-old looked down at his friend, his heart breaking at the sound of Trent's sobs.  "Comfort. My friend needs comfort," he quietly whispered to himself.

Realizing this might take some time, Blaine decided to rid himself of his stiff, scratchy mourning suit. He removed his shoes and socks before pulling off his coat and tie. He wrinkled his nose when he realized one of the ladies at the reception had smeared his best shirt with lipstick. Why did women insist on slobbering all over you when they kissed and hugged?

Blaine took a quick sniff. YUCK. His shirt stunk with perfume and mothballs. He took another whiff . . . that was Mrs. Mahoney's smell. She had squeezed the breath out of him at the funeral and now his clothes stunk because of it. No way was he going to spend the rest of the day with a smelly, dirty shirt on. He removed the offending garment, keeping only his pants on.

He knelt in front of Trent's huddled form and picked up a corner of the quilt. Peering underneath, he saw the weeping boy had curled up in a ball, his slender frame still shaking with silent sobs.

Blaine crawled inside the cocoon and sat right next to his friend, putting his arms around him, drawing him against his chest. Unwilling to share his grief, the young boy fought his friend, pushing the 12-year-old back.

"Go away Blaine. Don't want you here."

Blaine bit down on his bottom lip; his friend's words had hurt. Yet in the back of his young mind, he realized it was the pain talking not Trent.  "Trent? I'm really sorry about your mom. I know it hurts real bad, right now. But I want you to know that I'm here for you."  Blaine brushed his hand over the boy's tangled blonde curls. "I'm your friend, Trent. Let me help. Please."

Trent turned and looked at his friend, his eyes filled with tears. The wall of his self imposed isolation crumbled and he threw himself into Blaine's open arms, his weeping growing louder. Blaine guided the younger boy's head to his shoulder and began to rock back and forth slowly.

It took the better part of an hour before his friend's crying abated. Blaine listened as sobs dwindled down to sniffles. The stuffy confinement of the heavy quilt soon became too much for the older boy. He flipped back the quilt and took a deep breath of fresh air. The older boy gently lifted up his friend's face. A beam of sunlight had found its way into the treehouse, allowing Blaine a better view of his best friend.

Trent's eyes were puffy and red, his face tear stained and his blonde curls damp with sweat. Preparing to toss the quilt completely off them, Blaine placed his hand on the younger boy's bare chest and realized Trent was still shivering. He wrapped the quilt tighter around them and hugged his friend closer. Trent was 11 years old and almost as tall as he was but now his best friend looked like a lost little boy . . . kinda how he looked when he was six.

Blaine was desperate to help Trent, to help him with his loss. But . . . he wasn't sure what he could tell Trent, what he needed to hear. So the older boy just held him tight. And somehow it seemed to be just the right thing, just what Trent needed cause the slender blonde kept his arms tightly wrapped around Blaine.

"Blaine?" <sniff> "Promise you won't leave me. Never. Please?" Trent pleaded, fresh tears spilling down his pale cheeks.

Blaine brushed away an errant curl from Trent's forehead. "I'll never leave you, Trent. You're my best friend. I love ya."

"Mom . . . " <sniff> "She used to say that, too." <sniff> "That she would always be there for me but . . . "

Trent started crying again, his sobs wounding Blaine's tender heart. He felt so helpless, so confused about how to help his friend. He remembered how special Mrs. Tracey was . . . how he thought of her as his second mom. He remembered . . .

"Hey, Trent? You remember how your mom used to make us chocolate cookies every Friday? How she let us eat some of the dough and then lick the bowl when she was finished?"  Blaine pulled Trent close, his hands rubbing over the boy's chilled skin. He stroked a bare shoulder and kept on talking, hoping his friend would hear him.

"Do you remember how she would take us to the store to buy comic books? And then we'd come home and she'd make us popcorn and bring it to us at the treehouse.

Blaine felt Trent nod his head just a little. He smiled and snuggled closer to his friend.  "And Trent? What about those times when she played football with us?" Blaine chuckled. "She had the funniest touchdown dance I ever saw."

Blaine sensed the ghost of a smile slide over his chest.

"The best thing I remember about your mom was how she always had time for us. She was never too busy to talk to us, to help us or to just listen to us.  Blaine bent down and whispered in Trent's ear. "Your mom was the best and I'm gonna miss her a lot."

The threat of tears made the older boy hurry out his next words.  "But you know what, Trent? I'll share my mom with you. She loves ya just like I do."

Trent buried his head against Blaine's neck, wiping his tears on the boy's warm skin.  "I doubt your mom wants another kid hanging around."  Sniffing loudly, he looked up at the older boy before swiping at his snotty nose.

Blaine reached in his pocket, glad his dad always insisted on him carrying a handkerchief. He handed it to his friend.  "Nah. My mom won't mind at all. Darn, Trent. You're over at my house all the time. You're practically family."

Trent scrubbed his face clean before looking up at his friend. A deep sigh was accompanied by a shy wobbly smile.  "Do you think she would mind if sometimes I called her mom?"

"No problemo, squirt. From now on my mom is your mom. Okay?"

Trent looked down at his hands. " 'k . . . but Blaine?

The smaller boy held up his treasure, a gold locket and chain. "I really loved my mom and I don't ever want to forget her."

Trent offered the locket to Blaine. The 12-year-old opened it and gazed down at the photos inside . . . a baby picture of Trent and a picture of his mother. He reached across to his friend and placed the chain around his neck. The locket rested against Trent's heart. Blaine reached out and covered the locket with his hand, letting it rest there, communicating the words he couldn't yet say. He then gathered his small friend in a comforting hug.

"That's the way it's suppose to be Trent. Your mom will never forget you. Even now that she's in heaven. She's always gonna be looking down at you and making sure you're happy."

Trent brushed away the silent tear falling down his friend's cheek. He shyly offered Blaine a hopeful smile.  "I'm always gonna be happy, Blaine cause we're gonna be best buds forever. Right, Blaine?"

Blaine hugged his cherished friend tight and looked off in the distance.

"Yeah, Trent. I'm gonna love ya and be your best bud forever."

To be continued...

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