I’ll pray for you.
Not what he wanted to hear. Not now, when what he
wanted to do was drink and swear and throw things around
the room until all his frustration was broken glass on the floor.
“I’ll pray for you.”
No! What did that mean? And Gabe – his best friend – said
it with so much sincerity. The words in stark contrast to the
beer can in his hand and the harsh glare of the fluorescent
lights of the kitchen.
“What?” Jude had spluttered at his friend’s remark. “What
the hell did you just say?”
Gabe bit his lip but to his credit, didn’t backtrack. “I’ll pray
for you, man. And your family – especially your mom. I know
it’s been hard with her in the hospital and – ”
“She needs a damn heart transplant in forty-eight hours
or she’ll die. My. Mom. Could. Die!” Jude clenched his fist
tighter with each word; nails cutting into one palm like an
echo of the pain in his heart. He was vaguely aware of the
cold metal of the beer can cutting into the flesh of his other
hand; the cruel, harsh light reflecting off the medical forms on
the table; the ticking the old clock in the living room that he
had helped his mom reset only a few weeks ago.
“I know,” Gabe said, “That’s why…” Gabe swallowed hard
and changed his mind. “I don’t want to fight with you, Jude.
Not tonight. You need a mate. I – ”
“No,” Jude interrupted. “Keep going. Try to convince me!
I dare you.”
Gabe watched him steadily, breathing hard. Jude got
“Why pray?” Jude almost spat at him. “Why?! If God cared,
my mom wouldn’t need an emergency heart transplant. In
a town in the middle of nowhere, when a damn snow storm
has stopped all traffic coming into the city – maybe for weeks!
Weeks she doesn’t have! I mean – ” Jude was crying now.
Sobbing. Tears and beer sloshed to the floor in a rain of anger
and pain. “I mean, what did she do to deserve this!? What
standards is this all holy God of yours setting? Huh!?” Jude
glared at Gabe. “Say something!”
Gabe bit his lip and looked away. Jude had known him long
enough to know he hated bringing up, that his friend was sad
that Jude was reacting this way. “Remember when you used
to go to church with me when we were little? You sang even
louder than I did. You believed more than I ever did.”
Jude snorted. “Silly rituals. I believed the way a kid believes