The next day, Bobby pantomimed to Logan that he wished to go into town. Logan didn't seem to find this unusual. He later told me that Bobby had kept pointing in the direction that he wished to go the whole way. Wolverine didn't seem to find this strange either. Of course, he's a man of few words himself. They returned from what Logan had described as a hobby shop with bags full of new things.
I followed Bobby up to his room and watched as he unpacked the bags. He'd bought lots of ready-made clay as well as powdered products that could become clay with the right amount of water. He'd also bought different kinds of sculpture tools. He gave me an impatient look when he'd finished and I realized that he wanted to be alone. I'd barely stepped out into the hall when his door closed firmly behind me.
Bobby didn't come out of his room for ten hours, fourteen minutes, and thirty-seven seconds, not that I was really paying attention. I sat in my room with the door open listening for the sound of his turning knob or his heavy steps into the creaky hall. I heard neither.
I jerked awake at the touch of a hand on my shoulder. I started up and looked at Bobby's bemused expression. He'd caught me. I had been sitting in my rolling desk chair just inside my door waiting for him to emerge. Apparently, I'd also fallen asleep on my watch. I bemusedly thought of how Bishop would have been mortified to know this.
I looked at my friend. He wore a loose white V-neck T-shirt that was filthy. His loose sky blue jeans were also dinged with the grayish brown clay that he'd bought. He stood patiently as I observed him. When my eyes finally returned to his face he smiled and beckoned me to follow him.
Bobby's room had been rearranged. All of the furniture had been pushed against the walls. His worn rug was rolled up and propped in a corner. In the center of the room was his nightstand with a square board sitting on it. Setting solitary on the board was another sculpture. It was in the same dreary colored clay that covered Bobby's clothes. It was also an incredible likeness of myself.
I gaped at it. It was about twelve inches tall. The center figure was of me with my arms stretched up. In the statue's hands was a circle with about a five-inch diameter. It was the round crossed symbol of the X-Men. It was large compared to the statue's scale and that little version of me was supporting it like a pillar.
"Bobby, what does this mean? I don't understand. Why won't you just talk to me?" I asked.
He sighed and looked away from me with disappointment on his face. I watched him walk towards the sculpture with a long knife that I hadn't noticed before. It was crusted with dried clay. He reached up to slash down at the model with it. My large hand caught his wrist before he could destroy it.
"Please, Bobby, no. I'm just trying to understand. You have to give me time," I pleaded.
Before I could continue we were interrupted by a cheerful voice.
"Robert! You never told me that you were interested in art! It is wonderful! You must let me use it as a study model for my sketchbook."
Bobby let his arm drop to his side and gave me a doleful look as he tuned to greet Piotr. I was upset at the intrusion. I was hoping that Bobby would open up to me and explain what was going on, but I was not to get that chance.
"Yes it appears that you are not the only artist in residence anymore Piotr," I said with a bit more venom than the occasion allowed. If Colossus observed my ire he did not comment on it. Bobby chose to ignore me completely and focus on his new admirer.
"It is a good likeness Robert in more ways than one," Piotr said in a serious voice.
I cocked an eyebrow at our intruder and asked, "What do you mean?"
Colossus smiled softly and pointed to the statue. "Can't you see? You're the pillar of the X-Men!"
The meaning behind the statue hit me then. Bobby had been communicating with me. I just hadn't been listening in the right way. Like the night before when I had attempted to tell him what he meant to me, so too today was he showing how he felt about me.
I was ashamed by my behavior and my ignorance, but the damage had been done. Bobby's doorway to me was closed. He didn't try to communicate with me for some time afterwards.
Continued in Chapter 3