Chapter 3

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ELIAS

June 2nd, 2015

I've been going to church a lot lately. My mom's been saying I need it more than she does these days, and for the first time, I kinda think she's right.

Especially when it comes to tonight.

Tanner's coming over later.

I haven't seen him since Mindy turned my entire family inside out, so I guess I'm gonna need all the serenity I can get.

I lean back against the hardwood pew and stair up at the light pouring in from the church rafters, trying to figure out exactly where God is, so I can ask Him how to talk to a brother who never listens.

A guy who chooses to tune me out whenever I need him to hear me out.

We haven't talked in almost four months.

Weird, right?

Almost half a year of radio silence between guys who are supposed to be brothers.

Guys who're supposed to give a shit about each other.

The thing is, if I was still in the habit of lying about everything, I'd say the reason we don't talk is 'cause I've been using most of my words for writing, praying, and my mom.

She doesn't sleep much these days. Most nights she's up crying about everything, about me, about the baby, and somebody's gotta talk her down. Even if it hurts. So most of my heart, mouth, and mind belong to her.

But the truth is, I can't bring myself to talk to him because he left.

He left me in pieces on the pavement of a hospital parking lot on one of the worst afternoons of my life, because he couldn't "handle" it.

He couldn't deal with the fact that he'd driven 500 miles up from LA to find out that the niece he thought was his, wasn't.

He couldn't stomach being wrong.

He wouldn't admit it.

He wouldn't take time out of his illusion of an ideal life for me.

Even though I begged him to.

Even though I dug my nails into the bottom of his jeans and asked him to stay, to apologize, to tell me what to do, he didn't.

He left.

He ran away from the situation just like Dad did.

And it's not easy to forgive him for that.

But I guess I'll see what happens.

If anything, me and Tanner can play Kumbaya for Mom's sake for a couple hours and then forget tonight ever happened.

I'd like forget about a lot of things that've happened but, God's not in the business of dishing out wishes, He just answers earnest prayers from honest people--and I haven't exactly been one of those.

I just hope that I'm earnest enough for Him to answer me.

Halfway into letting my mind get lost somewhere between Hill Point Church and heaven, my phone buzzes to life in my pocket. I silence the call before I even see the screen.

Dr. Perry.

Shit.

Our session.

I totally forgot to cancel.

But Mom needs me today.

She's going all out to throw Tanner a welcome home party, and as much as I wanna ignore the fact that he's coming, I owe it to her to help decorate the house.

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