I walk into the room I haven’t seen in years.
The only light coming into the room is from the moon outside, and the lamp on the nightstand with its next stretched up. I haven’t been inside this room for years.
The bed sits with its headboard against the wall the color of stones, two neat rows of polaroid pictures lined above the headboard. A white comforter is draped over it, with four gingerbread colored pillows stacked neatly on top. The bed is on top of the silver patterned carpet, soft between my toes as I walk on it.
I tug the cord to lower the shutters, blocking off the moonlight. The only sign of someone caring for this room is the lush plants growing from the pots resting on the ledge, the tips reaching for the fading light.
Vines from one plant on a high shelf tumble down to the ledge, intertwined with the soft blinking lights I turn on that are hung over the top of the blinds. The lights are strung around the room, the bulbs twinkling in the dark.
A basket sits at the end of the bed with folded quilts and an old stuffed toy resting on top.
None of this is what I’m looking for.
The closet is hidden if not for the small round handles in the door. I slide the doors open, and they disappear into the wall. It’s split in the middle with a bookshelf, drawers on one side, racks to hang clothes on the other. The clothes are the ones I remember, fit for a child. I push the clothes aside, and see the small crate sitting on the shelf.
I sit it on the desk, and lift the lid.
The box contains a birth certificate, a newspaper clipping, and a binder filled with photographs.
I lift the cover, my fingers running over the name engraved in gold. The first page has photos of an infant, wrapped in a soft looking blanket. Pictures from different angles, that all seemed too special to get rid of.
The next chapter of the child’s life is captured in class pictures and birthday shots. Grinning with missing teeth, waving from the top of trees, fingers buried in a dog's fur.
I flip through pages of older kids, their laughter frozen in time, their arms around each other.
The pictures stop very suddenly, leaving lots of pages blank. Newspaper clippings banning guns, old letters that all start with, I’m sorry for your loss, and a diploma never handed to its owner.
I set the book down. So that’s what happened. I’ve always wondered why, and...now I know.