The Meaning of Life (part 11)

23 09 2010

“Gay?”  I finished for him.  This time, Matt was the one being careful that no one heard us.  “So what if I am?  Is it so bad?”  Anger began to grow in me as I shouted the words at him.

“Anyways, I did what anyone in my position should,” he continued.  “I phoned the police and had him…” Again, Matt hung his head and I was horrified.

“They…killed him?”  I stuttered the words as tears flowed out of my eyes and down my cheeks, leaving a wet trail.  Matthew only nodded.  He tried to convince me that it was the best thing to do.

“If anyone found out, you would be killed too, Jeremy.  I saved your life.  You should be thanking me, not being mad.  You are gay, aren’t you?”  I was sick of hiding myself to everyone and I might as well admit it, even if it was to my best friend who got my first love murdered.

“Yes, Matt, I am gay!  There, is that what you want?  Do you want me to spell it out for you too?  G-A…”

“Shut up, Jeremy, before anyone hears us!  We could…”

“Be murdered like Sean?!”  More tears welled up in my eyes and I began to sob uncontrollably.  I buried my hands in my face so that no one could see.  A pair of arms wrapped themselves around me.  I wanted to push them away, but I was too caught up in crying.

“His parents moved back to Canada, but listen, Jeremy, there was also another reason why I did what I did,” he whispered in my ear.  I said nothing.

“It’s because, I…like you too.  I mean, I really like you; in the way Sean liked you.”  When I heard this, I stopped and looked at him through blurred vision.  He offered a weak smile but I glared at him in return.  He continued.

“I was jealous that he was able to be so open with you.  I envied the way he spoke so carelessly!  I wanted ask you if you wanted to come over to my house.  I wanted to be everything Sean was.  But, unlike Sean, I was smart enough to know that this love is wrong and a sin.  Being gay is a sin, Jeremy.  You should know that by now.  I want to be with you, but it’s not worth the risk.  Do you understand what I’m talking about?”

I nodded and asked to be left alone.  After Matt deserted me, I absorbed everything he said to me.  Matt killed Sean because he didn’t want me to die but also because he was jealous of us; yet he refused for us to have anything.  What a coward.

Back in the classroom, I put my head down.  I was sick of this world; well actually, I was sick of this country.  I hated it here.  Canada, on the other hand, seemed like the ideal place to go.  If only there was some way to get there…

“Jeremy, what is the meaning of life?”  Mr. Salice’s loud voice rang through the room.  I raised my head off the desk and looked at him through half-open eyes.  I thought for a minute and answered.

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 10)

19 09 2010

“Nothing, Matt.  I just went over to his house, that’s all.”

“What do you mean that’s all?  Do you know how many people will start to think you’re gay?”

“You’re being ridiculous, Matt.”

“No, I’m not!  You are the one that’s being ridiculous!”  He realized he was shouting and paused.

“Look, Jeremy, I’m just trying to look out for you.  You know I’m your best friend and all so that’s what I should be doing.”

“No, Matt, what you’re doing is telling me how I should live my life.  I get enough of that from my mom.  I don’t need someone else to tell me that crap.”  I slammed the receiver down into the cradle and flopped on my back on the bed.  Why did Matt act like such a weirdo?  I was obviously old enough to take care of myself.  I decided not to think about this and just get to bed.

*           *           *           *

I woke early the next day to see Sean at school.  I ran all the way to school without stopping.  As I approached room 314, I already began to think about what to say to Sean.  How are you?  No, too formal.  How are you doing?  Sounds too much like he’s sick.  What’s up?  I’m not a gangster!  But I wouldn’t have to think much further, because when I came in the classroom, he wasn’t there.  Mr. Salice was there, though.  He looked up from the papers on his desk and said good morning to me.

“Good morning, sir,” I replied.  Maybe Sean would come later.  So I waited.

After the bell rang, I was getting concerned.  Still, it was sensible that he could come in late like he did yesterday.  It was not good to get ahead of myself and start thinking of irrational explanations.

During Mr. Salice’s lesson, I had totally zoned out.  Where was Sean?  I tried to refocus my attention to the material but it just wasn’t working.  Maybe he didn’t want to see me again.  But then how come he kissed me?  This was all confusing for me.  I wished I had someone to talk to.  I glanced at Matthew, who was staring at Mr. Salice.  If only he knew.

When recess came, I slowly walked to my hole.  I felt depressed and lonely.  Sean was the first person to ever understand what I felt.

“Hey, how are you doing?  You don’t look so well.”  It was Matthew.  He gave me a caring look, which I ignored.

“Do you know where Sean is?” I asked, and then wondered why I was even doing this after realizing it.

“Yeah, umm… Jeremy, I have to talk to you about him.”  His voice became low and scared.  What did he know about Sean?

Matthew took me outside to the water fountain.  He sighed and looked down at the ground.  “What is it Matt?  Do you know where Sean is or not?” The anxiousness in my words said it all.  I needed to know where he was.  Matthew breathed in and spoke.

“Yesterday, when Sean came in our class, I saw you constantly looking at him.  I wrote it in my notebook.  And then when you talked to him instead of me, I really had suspicions.  Finally, you went to his house, which is an obvious indication that you are…” The words hung in the air and I was left to fill it in.

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 9)

18 09 2010

“So what if you made a new friend?  You don’t have to go to their house to stay friends!  Look at you and Matthew!  When did you ever go to his house?  Never!”  Her face began turning shades, from white to pink, and to red.  She took a breath and let it out slowly.  Now she seemed more calm and relaxed.

“Look, Jeremy, I just don’t want the neighbours to be suspicious of your behaviour.  Promise me you’ll never do this again, okay?”

At this point, I didn’t want to hear her start yelling from the top, so I agreed.

“Thank you, Jeremy.  You know, you really had me worried for a while there.  I was wondering if I’d see you again.”

“Don’t be silly, mom, I’ll be here.”  With that, I left the room and walked to my own.  The running had worn my legs out and the fight with my mom made me tired.  So I lay on my bed to take a short nap.

When I woke up, it was 8:27.  I rubbed my eyes and got out of bed and went out of my room.  My mom was watching TV.

“Mom, how were you raised?”  She glanced over at me from the screen with an inquiring look.

“Well, I was raised in Canada, so it’s different.  Why are you asking me this?”  When she mentioned Canada, I nearly jumped.  I exclaimed, “Why didn’t you tell me you were raised in Canada?  What was it like?  Why did we move?”

“Whoa, son, slow down.  First of all, I didn’t tell you because I knew you would act this way.  But seeing as how you’re asking, I might as well tell you now.”  She sat up straighter and I sat myself down next to her.

“Canada is basically the opposite of America.  They don’t have Boxes, they don’t have laws against religion, and they don’t kill the homeless.  The land is much more natural than it is here; it’s cleaner and the people are a lot nicer.”

“Okay, then why are we living here now?”  She sighed and told me to come closer, and I did.

“We moved because of your father.  One day, he told me that he was gay and that he had married me in the hopes of becoming straight.  Naturally, I was furious at him and I wanted to get away from his stupid queer face as much as possible.  So where was the best place?”

“America,” I finished slowly, like some four year old amazed at the word.

“Yes, and plus, you weren’t born yet so I figured that if you were raised in America, you wouldn’t grow up to be a fag like your father,” she snorted in disgust.  The words hurt me; she didn’t want me to be gay.  There was no way now I’d ever tell her.  But my dad was gay?

“Have you seen him since?” I asked.  She shook her head.

“No, fortunately.  It’s a good thing you won’t either,” she laughed.  I tried to smile, but I didn’t see a point in it.

Back in my room, I dialled Matthew’s number on the phone.  He picked up right away and started complaining.

“Jeremy!  What took you so long to call me?  What did you do with Sean?”

“Matt, I’m sorry but I took a nap and I was talking to my mom.”

“Okay, fine.  What did you do with Sean?” he repeated.

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 8)

17 09 2010

“Mom, we’re going to be doing homework in my room.  We’ll be out for dinner soon,” said Sean.  Before she even had a chance to answer, he pulled me out of the kitchen and led me to his room.

The walls of his room were covered with posters of movies, basketball players, a giant map of the world and the Canadian flag on the ceiling.  There was a desk with a computer, a small dresser and a bed.  It looked as though they had just moved here and hadn’t really had an opportunity to unpack everything just yet.

I took my backpack off and put it beside his dresser.  He did the same.  I stepped over to his bed and sat down, still admiring his room.  Sean laughed when he saw me.

“Is my room really that interesting?”

“More than mine.  I don’t have a Canada flag in my room.”  He laughed again and sat next to me on the bed.  Slowly, I saw him reach out his hand and put it on mine.  As much as I hated to do it, I moved my hand away.

“I can’t do this, Sean; it’s wrong.  What if somebody finds out?”

“No one will find out.  And even if someone does, then I’ll protect you.”  His words were sweet and caring, something I had never heard before.  I looked into his eyes and became lost in the colours.  His hand returned to mine, and before I knew, it I felt his lips on mine.  I had kissed girls before but this was different; it felt different.  The kiss was passionate and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was really in love.   Even though I knew that it was bad, it really felt like love.  Finally, we drew back.  I had gotten the biggest rush of my life that day.  But I couldn’t…

“I should go, Sean.  I’ll see you.”  I got up and scooped up my backpack.  I heard him following me behind.  He grabbed my arm right when I was at the door.

“Please stay, Jeremy.  For me?”  He made a sad puppy-dog face and I giggled, but turned serious again.

“I can’t Sean. I’m sorry.  I have to go now; I don’t want to make my mom any angrier.”  I really didn’t want to leave him, especially after our kiss.  So I leaned forward and gave him another kiss, which was equally good as the first one.  After it, Sean reluctantly opened the door for me and I stepped outside into the sunshine.  I heard him yell goodbye to me and I yelled it back as I ran from his house.  When I looked back, I was still able to make out Sean, who was grinning.  Little did I know it would be the last time I ever saw him.

*           *           *           *

My thoughts were racing as I ran home.  How could our love survive?  How could we survive?  Was this how I really wanted to spend my life?  There were too many things in my head.  I decided to just get home and figure it out slowly.

I took my time opening the door, since my mom was still cross with me for going over to Sean’s house.  Luckily, she wasn’t standing at the stairs when I came in.  I needed to talk to her about this, but not directly.  I looked in her room and found her sitting down at her desk, looking at some old pictures.  I tapped on the door gently and waited.  Then she turned around and immediately, her face changed expressions.

“Where the hell have you been?  You know you can’t go over to people’s houses after school!  What’s wrong with you, Jeremy?” she screamed.

“Nothing mother, I just made a new friend today and…”

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 7)

16 09 2010

After phoning my mom and getting yelled at on my cell phone, we started walking to Sean’s house.  Along the way, I kept thinking about Canada and how Sean had described it as being much freer than America.  It had made me want to go to Canada even more.

“So, Jeremy, you didn’t answer my question yet.  Are you…” Sean’s voice startled me yet again.  Oh yeah, that question.  I really didn’t know what to say to him.  I hated lying to myself; it only made me feel worse, but if I told him the truth, there would be no guarantee that he would keep it a secret, so…

“Well, are you going to answer me?”  He stared at me questioningly, seeing if the right response was written on my face.  I sighed and looked at him.  The same pair of strange eyes looked right back at me, which seemed to push me into telling him the truth.

“Am I what?” I asked.

“Gay!  Are you gay, Jeremy?  Is it that hard to understand?!”  The words came out harsh and bitterly.  I stopped walking and glared at him.  Why was he being so mean to me all of a sudden?  At once, he apologized.

“I’m sorry if I was too rough on you Jeremy, but in Canada…”

“Stop it!  Stop talking about Canada!  I don’t want to hear about it anymore!”  I couldn’t believe how annoying he was being.  Canada this, Canada that.  Why couldn’t you just shut up about Canada?!

This time, Sean looked as if he was the victim of the yelling war.

“I thought you liked Canada.”

“I do but every time you insinuate how much better Canada is than America, it makes me feel like I’m living in a dystopia of some kind.”

“Well, Jeremy, in some ways, this is kind of a dystopia.”  It’s one thing to shout at me but another to bad-mouth my country.  However, I knew he was right; Canada was all America wasn’t, which was a free nation.  I grumbled and kicked the ground, angry that Sean was correct.  Suddenly, I felt his arms around my shoulders.  My first reaction was to shove him away before anyone saw, but I was just so tired that I let him, all the while hearing him say, “I know, Jeremy; it’s okay, you’re safe with me.”

*           *           *           *

When we reached his house, it looked like any other house on the block.  There were bushes, shrubs, a few flowers and a pathway that led up to the door.  The house was painted a dark green, which matched the lime-coloured door.  My first impression of it was that it was so much better looking than mine.  It looked a bit bigger too.  Sean opened the door and let me in first.  The inside of the house was a lot like our house; staircase to the upstairs, separate doors to the downstairs rooms.  We headed up the stairs and into the kitchen.  His mom was there, preparing the dinner.  Sean went up to her and told her about me.

“Mom, this is Jeremy.  Jeremy, this is my mom.”  His mom was a little shorter than he was, with the same hair and eyes.  Bags under her eyes indicated that she hadn’t been getting much sleep lately.  She reached out and shook my hand firmly.

“Nice to meet you, Jeremy.   I’m glad Sean has somebody to talk to.”  Then, she winked at me.  I smiled at her.

“Would you like to stay for dinner, Jeremy?” she asked.  Without thinking, I blurted out, “Yes!  That would be great.” And she smiled back at me.

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 6)

15 09 2010

“Well, that’s what I thought too, but I did a lot of thinking by myself and I started to wonder if this is how I really want to live my life, in this land that calls itself a “great country to live in”.”  I made hand gestures to indicate the quotations.  Sean laughed out loud and started walking again.  I followed him.  From behind, the sun shone in the direction he was strolling in and it made him look as though he was some sort of angel, blocking out the sun.  I quickly erased the stupid thought and caught up with him.

“So tell me something Jeremy, since you asked all those questions about where I came from, can I ask you some stuff?” he inquired, without even turning to me when he asked.  I had a mixed feeling in my gut when he said this, like I already knew what he was going to ask, but I said yes anyways.

“Are you…” His voice trailed off, leaving me to assume the rest.  I wanted to be honest, but I had just met this guy.  What would happen if he told anyone?  I would surely be executed.  I was just about to answer when I saw a distraction.

“Look, there’s the Box,” I said.  I pointed at a suspended glass case, about 7 feet above the ground.  The Box was the place where all the misbehaving and bad students were put.  If this didn’t seem bad enough, there was more: all the students put in the Box were stripped to their underwear and publicly humiliated in front of the whole school for about an hour.  And if that still wasn’t enough, there was usually more than one person in the Box at a time.  Once, a whole class was put into it because they were not listening to the teacher and were talking back to her.  Fortunately, the school had enough sense in it to take off the top of the Box so that no one would suffocate.  It was unbelievable how far schools went in order to keep students well behaved and disciplined.  And it wasn’t just our school that’s got had Box; all schools throughout America had Boxes put in the schoolyard.

I myself had never been in the Box before but I saw the terror in the kids’ eyes when I pass by it.  There was always somebody in the Box at one time or another.  I thought sometimes the teachers put a random kid in there just to frighten us.  That day, a child, a few years younger than me, was in the box, crying.  A lot of the students put in the Box cried, but only when there weren’t any teachers around.  If they were caught crying, they were left in the Box for a longer period of time.

Meanwhile, Sean gazed at the glass prism.  I explained to him about the purpose of the Box and when I finished he shook his head.

“We don’t have anything like this in Canada,” he said softly.  “Everyone is living freely without all these rules to live up to.”  Then as if sensing how sad his words were, he added, “Man, you should come to Canada!”

I laughed at the joke but on the inside, I actually took it seriously.  Gosh, Canada sounded like such a beautiful place; why couldn’t all of us just move there?  Sean interrupted my dreaming of Canada when he asked if I wanted to come over.  Although my parents would disapprove, I said yes anyways.  This would be my chance to get to know Sean better and see what his life was like but more importantly, be alone with him.

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 5)

12 09 2010

“And there’s the bathroom and the water fountain,” I said as I pointed to the specific locations.  Outside, it was a sunny autumn day as the leaves were starting to fall off the trees and turning into vibrant colours of orange, yellow and red.  We had to walk through the sea of leaves that were covering the whole schoolyard.

“Cool.”  Sean didn’t seem too interested in the school.  There were obviously other things on his mind than knowing where the water fountain was.  So I asked him, “What’s wrong?  Am I boring you?”  He looked up from the ground and towards me and shook his head.

“I’m just thinking about my life before I moved here.”  I had forgotten that he was not from around here, which was exciting to learn; I had always wanted to know what the rest of the world was like.

“Where did you come from?” I questioned.

“Up north, from Canada.  It’s really great there and I miss it a lot.”

I had heard wonderful stories from travelers concerning Canada.  They all said that it was a great place with magnificent scenery and lands, along with very kind people. I had always wanted to move or to travel to Canada and see what it was like there.  Some people said also said that in Canada, gay people were actually tolerated there and that even same-sex marriage was legal.  Most of the people in America don’t believe this and the ones that do say that Canada is eventually going to turn itself into hell one day.  I was always curious at whether gay marriage in Canada was legal but I didn’t want Sean to get the wrong impression of me.  He could tell everyone at school and I could be killed.  But I would never know until I asked him, so I did.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Sean.  Uh, can I ask you something?”  I was making myself sound rushed and uncaring towards him.  He looked at me strangely, as if thinking that I was a moron for ignoring his problems.  But he nodded.

“Umm… is it… is it true that…” My words weren’t coming out of my mouth and I stuttered.  Sean looked expectantly at me to finish my question.

“Yeah, what?”  I glanced quickly around to make sure no one was could hear us.  Just to be sure, I grabbed the sleeve of his jacket and pulled him towards the water fountain.  There, I noticed that he had a puzzled look on his face, which was planned.  I took a deep breath and said, “Is it true that they have…same-sex marriage?”  Sean seemed to be taken aback when he heard the question.

“What are you talking about, Jeremy?” he asked.

“In Canada, is gay marriage legal?”  There, I finally said it.  Again, I turned my head in all directions to make sure no one had heard us.  When I focused on Sean once more, he looked even more confused.

“Yes, but why are you asking me this from out of the blue?”

“Uh… I just wanted to know if the rumours were right.  Is it also true that they let gay people live too?”

Sean continued to stare at me, perplexed, but I could see he was beginning to see what was going on.  He relaxed a bit more and replied, “Yeah, why wouldn’t they be allowed to live?  Is it how life here is too?”

I really didn’t want to explain the whole history of my country so I just gave him the basic storyline; about how George Tree had banned same-sex marriage 70 years ago; religions and how Christianity is the only one allowed for everyone to worship; and how gay people were killed.  He nodded every now and then, and seemed to understand where I was coming from.

At the end of it all, he was amazed.

“I had no idea just how different it is here compared to Canada.  I always thought of America as being a strong, civilized nation.”

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 4)

8 09 2010

He paused for a moment, as if thinking of what to say, and took off his wire-framed glasses and looked at me.  He said, “Jeremy, the Bible was written by God indirectly.  After all He has done for you, isn’t it sensible to at least read His work?”  His words were well spoken and convincing, and I really saw no way out of the situation.

“Yes, sir, I suppose so.  But…”

“Please Jeremy, no more questions.  When did you start thinking about this?”

“For a couple of days now.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life.”

“Well, I am discouraging you from it.  Doing this is useless and a waste of your own time.  Children aren’t meant to think about these things.  Just ask your parents.  Ask them how they were brought up and then you’ll see what I mean.”

I felt cornered and defeated.  So I said yes.

“Good boy, Jeremy.  Now I’m going to go easy on you for the chores.  You can clean off the desks now and be finished by the end of lunch if you do it fast enough.  And before I forget, we never had this talk, okay Jeremy?”

I looked at my teacher strangely.  Why was he telling me to forget what we said?  It wasn’t that big a deal, was it?  I decided to go along with whatever he wanted me to do for the time being; then I would slowly figure things out by myself.  I nodded.

“Good.  Now get going on your chores; the bell will ring soon.”

For the remaining part of the day, I kept silent and kept my eyes on Mr. Salice.  Not once did I glance at Sean or even at Matthew, though I saw Sean look at me a few times out of the corner of my eye.  At the end of the day, the home bell rang.  I gathered all my supplies and took them to my hole.  Matthew was already at his hole, waiting for me.  I saw him starting to open his mouth and speak, but I felt someone tap me on the shoulder from behind.  I turned around and smiled a little smile.  It was Sean.

“Hey, Jeremy.  Is it okay if you can show me the school and the neighbourhood now?” he asked.  A small grin spread on his face, and I blushed.  Just when I was going to say yes, I almost forgot about Matthew again.  I turned back and saw that he was still there, but he seemed sad, almost depressed.  I didn’t know what it was, so I just asked him if he thought it was okay, since we go home together everyday.

“Yeah, it’s fine.  I have a lot of homework and chores to do anyways.  I’ll see you tomorrow, Jerry.  Call me.”  After Matthew left, I turned back to Sean, and found him with his eyebrows raised.

“Jerry?  Can I call you that too?”  At this point, I was just getting high from seeing him now.  He wanted to call me Jerry!  Matt was the only one who called me by that; he made it up himself.  I felt my cheeks turning red and looked down at the ground so that he wouldn’t see.  It would be stupid if I didn’t say anything at all, so I just carelessly mumbled a “Sure” to him.

“Great!  Jerry it is!  Now, Jerry, can you show me around?”

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 3)

6 09 2010

I glanced over at Matthew, who was looking at me with concern.  I just smiled at him and turned my way to Sean, except he was still looking at me.  This time, I didn’t turn away; it seemed like a staring contest.  I noticed that his eyes were strange; it seemed as if there was a mix of yellow, green and brown in his eyes, which actually made them seem quite attractive.  Suddenly, he grinned at me.  I was startled to say the least, since not many people knew how to smile, let alone grin anymore.  A strange feeling erupted inside of my heart and though I was sure it was just hormones or something, I was convinced it had something to do with Sean.  So I smiled back at him.

After the bell rang, I went to get my lunch from the cupboard.  Matthew’s hole was next to mine, so we started talking about what had happened.

“Do you know what Mr. Salice is going to do about you?” he asked.  I shook my head and continued to rummage through my own hole.  Just then, someone stepped next to me.  I quickly turned my head and saw that it was the new student, Sean.

“Umm… which one of these things is mine?”  Sean pointed at the holes.  I wanted to laugh or even smile but stopped myself from making him feel bad.

“The one next to mine; it has your name on it,” I said.

“Thanks,” he replied.  He paused for a moment and added, “You’re Jeremy, right?”

I was about to respond, when I remembered Matthew.  I turned around, but he was already gone. He had gone outside without me.  So I replied, “Yeah, the guy that doesn’t know anything.”  To my surprise, he laughed at the lame joke.  At least he wasn’t as stupid as I thought he would be.

“Well, Jeremy, could you show me around the school?”  He moved his head to the right and kind of gazed at me with hope.  I couldn’t help but feel a little bit of excitement running through me.  I was about to say yes, but remembered Mr. Salice.

“Sorry, I can’t; I have to talk with Mr. Salice.  Maybe Matt will take you on a tour.”  I stressed the words Mr. Salice in that tone you say when implying that the person is so important, sort of like sarcasm.  Despite my answer, his expression still seemed to be cheery.

“It’s okay then.  Thanks anyways, Jeremy.  See you later!”  And he gave that grin again and walked out the doors.  I stood there, while my heart had just melted.  And that was how I fell for a boy I didn’t even know.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into you these past days, Jeremy.  You used to be so well behaved and respectful.  There better be a good explanation for you behaviour today,” Mr. Salice said as he waited for me with his arms crossed.

It was during recess and I hadn’t forgotten to see Mr. Salice.  I didn’t have much time to think about my excuses so I just decided to tell him as honestly as I could. And anyways, it would be useless to lie to him and myself.  So I spoke.

“I’m sorry if I offended you in anyway, Mr. Salice, but I really don’t see why I, or any of these students here, have to learn about some thousand-year-old book.  Please, don’t get me wrong; I love God very much, but I just don’t understand how reading this will do anything for me.”

This time, Mr. Salice remained calm, which was what I was really hoping he would do.

To be continued!





The Meaning of Life (part 2)

5 09 2010

“That’s what I thought, Jeremy.  Class will begin soon.  Go back to your seat now.”

“Yes, sir.”  I glanced at Matthew, who was looking equally frightened by the incident. He nudged his head slightly, telling me to go back.  I returned to my seat without saying a word.

During the middle of Mr. Salice’s Bible study lesson, the door suddenly opened.  In walked a boy, about my height, with brown hair, which was messed up.  His shirt was hanging out and his backpack was practically dragging on the ground.  In spite of his horrid appearance, he was in fact good-looking, even handsome.  His bangs dangled in front of his eyes, shielding them and making him look mysterious.  Everyone stared and though it was a bit funny, no one dared to laugh; we didn’t want to be put in the Box.  Instead, we just waited for Mr. Salice’s reaction.  He stood up and said, “Mr. Cohen, how nice of you to join us.  Class, this is Sean Cohen.  Please welcome him, everybody.”

We were all puzzled, to say the least.  We had a new student and Mr. Salice didn’t yell at him for being late either.  Wow.  What else was going to happen?

The class looked around and mumbled the “Hi, Sean” Mr. Salice was waiting for.  He let our feeble greeting pass and continued.

“Your seat will be over there, next to Jeremy.”  He pointed in my direction.  I looked around me, a bit surprised, and then to Sean.  He was glaring straight at me, and I had to look away to avoid his eyes.  Sean started to walk towards his desk and passed me without smiling or showing any expression whatsoever.  Meanwhile, Mr. Salice picked up where he left off and continued the lesson.  I couldn’t concentrate on his teaching and decided to gaze at Sean for a bit.  Again, his eyes were already locked on me and I pretended to glance slightly away, towards Matthew, who was writing something down on a notebook.  He finished what he was writing, flipped the pages around, and looked up at Mr. Salice.  I was wondering what he wrote when Mr. Salice suddenly called my name.

“Jeremy, can you tell me which disciple betrayed Jesus?”  I suddenly whipped my head to Mr. Salice’s direction and looked around to everyone uncertainly.  He waited for me patiently as beads of sweat began to form on my face.

“Umm… Paul?”  The words came out quietly but audible enough for Mr. Salice to sigh and hang his head.

“No, Jeremy!  It was Judas!  Weren’t you even listening to me?  Come see me after class, Jeremy. I have some chores for you.”

Normally, I would have accepted it but now I was just angry.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t paying attention, Mr. Salice, but it’s not fair!  Why do I know this anyways?  It’s stupid!  And…”

“That’s enough, Jeremy!  Who do you think you are, raising your voice to me, and especially about the Bible?!  You are going to come after school too and do double the chores!”

“But Mr. Salice…”

“Stop!  I don’t want to hear anymore from you.  I’ll see you after class.  Period.”  I shut my mouth and glared at him, furious at the injustice done.  I slouched down in my seat but quickly sat back up when Mr. Salice looked my way.

To be continued!