…Looking at the kids has made me realise just how miraculous they are. Now, I know that sounds like boastful parentposting, but… I've been a father figure to other young people before. I've been helpless to save most of them. I watched the world crush the life out of them…
This is a little (more than a little) different. I don't have to guide the twins through adolescence (yet), or from a distance attempt to offer them psychic shelter from abusive home lives. They get to grow up, and develop, entirely under my and my partners’ supervision.
I don’t have to worry about them being safe because I know they're safe, except for the whole decaying capitalism thing. I don’t have to worry about them being abused, they don’t come dashing to me in tears because their parents can't stand the fact that they’re gay, and so on.
They’re happy. They're not exposed to anything deleterious except for Kyle’s Eagles playlist and karaoke songs about inebriated, heartbroken men. (Seriously, Kyle, youze gotta be careful about that.) They eat well, they sleep well, they read voraciously and sing and dance.
…Last month, I had to watch another young person I care about self-destruct. He loved me very much. I loved him, too. But he was incredibly damaged. One man, even a Garnet, isn't enough of a support network. Not enough for the abuse he was suffering, and—inflicting.
His last words were “I'm sorry for everything.”
I carry a lot of ghosts. All the people who've ever entered my life, and left it—are still here with me. That kid’s been hanging around trying to apologise to me for a month now. Trying to make it up to me, put my heart to rest.
I'm not used to being in the position of someone “failing” me. I'm not used to being the subject of someone's regret.
Today, I said goodbye to a kid who called me Papa. Today, we parted ways.
Today, I told him I should have said goodbye, long before he finally departed.
Even when he was alive, I couldn’t save him.
I've finally accepted that.
His was a short existence. It wasn't a happy one. Maybe, it was even a useless one. …But I managed to make him feel human. Even if it was only for a few moments.
After all’s said and done.
He was human.