It had been 6 days since I last saw the boy. Each day, I grew more and more worried when he didn’t appear at the park. Every day, I waited until 12:30, but I still never caught a glimpse of him.
I trudged to the bench, almost certain he wasn’t going to come again. I slouched down on the bench, warily looking around. I stayed that way for another 15 minutes, before finally seeing a shadow approaching. I shot up, suddenly becoming alert.
Sure enough, the person I had been looking for for the past week was running towards me. I stood up, waiting for him to come.
“Where have you been?” I exclaimed when he was close enough to hear me.
“I’m so sorry,” he panted, collapsing down on the bench. “I was, ah, busy.”
“Oh. It’s alright..” I trailed off, not believing him. It was then I realised he had bruises all over his arms.
I stared at them. Huge, ugly, purple bruises decorated his arms, which looked awfully painful. He must’ve sensed me staring, because he too looked down at his arms, not seeming fazed by them at all.
“Shit, forgot my hoodie,” he said blankly, his arms going limp.
“Why? How?” I asked, frowning, gently running my fingers over a bruise on his shoulder.
He shrugged, staring at the shed, purposely avoiding my eyes.
“How long have you been getting these bruises,” I asked softly.
“Quite a while now,” he murmured, burying his face in his hands in shame.
“Hey hey, it’s okay. I’m not going to judge you,” I comforted, gently pulling his hands away from his face.
“Does it hurt?”
“No, I’m use to the pain,” he said gruffly, crossing his arms.
“You shouldn’t be,” I protested. “How did you even get these anyway?”
He frowned, looking down at his shoes. “It’s not important.”
“Yes it is! You’re covered in such huge, painful looking bruises, how is that not important,” I demanded, crossing my arms.
He sighed, slumping down in his seat. “I can’t do anything about it even if I wanted to, and you definitely couldn’t.”
“But, but why?” I whispered, frowning.
“I don’t know,” he whimpered, sinking down further in his seat.
“Does this have to do with you not appearing for 6 days?” I asked softly, as his frown deepened, struggling to keep his tears in.
“Hey, it’s okay to cry you know,” I whispered, gently pulling him in for a hug, purposely avoiding touching his bruises. Mainly so it wouldn’t hurt him, but also because I didn’t like the thought of touching them.
He buried his head into my shoulder, a couple of sniffles escaping.
“I’m so scared,” his mumbled, burying his face deeper. “I shouldn’t be, but I am.”
I didn’t know how to reply, so I just stayed silent. Scared? Scared of what? What was there to be scared of? How did he get all these bruises? But now it made sense why he always wore a hoodie, even when it was boiling outside.
After staying in this position for a while, he finally sat up, sniffing one more time, before a smile breaking out on his face.
“Thanks Brittney dear, you really are a nice person,” he chirped, before skipping off, giving me one last wave.
“See you tomorrow,” I called, amazed at his mood change. “11:59, don’t forget.”
He gave me a quick thumbs up, before full on sprinting in the other direction.
I HAVEN'T EATEN A SINGLE THING FOR THE PAST DAY AND I'M NOT HUNGRY AT ALL I'M SO CONFUSED IS THIS NORMAL OR