He returned a soft, sad smile. “Thank you, Mother.” He wanted to tell her he loved her, but in the years that had passed, he found he had lost the ability to do so. Resolve took him, and he opened the door, stepping inside as she followed behind him.
She was right. The room hadn’t changed at all. While Eden Voss had become a man, the room of his childhood had stayed the same. The bed was still unmade from the last time he had slept in it, the drawings and poems he had created were still scattered in a mess of papers upon the small wooden desk in the corner. The bookcase next to the window was still loaded down with his favorites, some stacked neatly, others lying open, ear-marked and yellowing.
“It’s like I never left,” he said, and his mother nodded.
“I used to spend hours in here while you were away. It made me feel close to you. As though you were still here with me.” She gently touched the blankets on his bed, running her fingers across the lines of the fabric.
“All those years,” she whispered, her voice tinged with deep sadness. “All those years, and you never wrote me. I was afraid that perhaps you hadn’t been able to find it in your heart to forgive me. For not defending you. For allowing him to send you away.”
Eden stilled, meeting her eyes once more. “Mother, I wrote you almost every day. The letters all came back to me. Unopened. Every single one.”
Her eyes welled with tears as she pressed a hand to her lips. “I’m so sorry, Eden. I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.” She turned away, as if unable to look at him. “For that, I’ll never forgive myself.”
She brought her arms up, crossing them over her chest as though wrapping herself in an embrace. He couldn’t stand seeing her in such pain. Before he could stop himself, Eden approached and enveloped her in his own arms. She melted into his embrace, resting her head on his chest. Soft, quiet sobs wracked her small frame.
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