He did not whisper to us anymore, not when he needed a familiar shoulder to sleep on. It sometimes seemed like he couldn’t even find his way to our room if he had wanted to. He woke up crying out, lost in the rooms of the home that was supposed to be his own.
I ran to him, taking his trembling body in my arms and said, “Hush, my dear boy,” though he stood taller than me now. “Hush, my sweet Isaiah. You’re home. You’re home with your momma. You’re safe here. You’re safe now. You’re home.”
But I knew, in the back of my truthful subconscious, that this house was no more home to him than the junior high school he never attended. He had no memories of this place. No memories of what it was like to run in the sand at the beach as a child, what it was like to go to school or read a book or fall asleep in the arms of someone who loves you. He had so few memories of me that it broke my heart over and again every day. When, at the breakfast table, he would speak to his father in the way the old, comfortable friends speak, but then look at me—his mother—and for a short moment, there was a flash of question in his features. They would fleet away as quickly as they had come, as he remembered who I was—who he knew--I was, and yet it was something that needed a little reminder every morning, not something instinctual.