A week since they had all found out. That week had been the longest of Michael’s life.
|They hardly bother to lower their voices anymore. He can hear them, three, four, five seats over, sometimes more, dissecting his life as if they were God, and had that right. He sees the stares in the hallway, though some of them try to make it less obvious. Some of them don’t.
“You’ll burn in Hell, Michael.” The boy fingers the school-issued crucifix around his neck. The boy’s female companion sends Michael a look of deepest contempt and condescension.
Michael tries to appear as though he doesn’t notice.
It had been this way for a week now. It had been a week since they had all found out. That week had been the longest of Michael’s life.
It would also be the last week of his life.
The stares and whispers were at their height in church on Sunday. Twenty four pairs of eyes watched him walk through the church. Five pretended to find the floor enthralling.
As bad as all that had been, those five pairs of eyes—and voices, and tears, and accusations—had been by far the worst. Michael’s family had turned their back on him.
Brian was the only thing Michael felt he had to live for anymore, and by the end of that week, even he wasn’t enough.
On Tuesday, Brian cried in his room because he had lost what felt like most of himself even as his family argued downstairs about how to cure their son’s disease.