I remember when Danny told me. What they'd done. I felt every word as a pang down my spine as he spoke.
' "Alright battyboy?" They said. Mitchell and Chelsea.
'I tried to ignore them, Deano, I really did. 'Keep your head down, don't let them bother you', like mom said.
'But they kept at it.
' "Where's your boyfriend, bumbandit?"
For fucks sake Dean, i'm 17, why the fuck should I have to take this shit from some homophobic little bastards?
'Then, they jumped me. Top of the stairs during lessons.'
They got him bad, I remember... I had to clean him up. But they were smart. They did it where nobody could see. And where it would hurt the most. Now it was more than mental.
'Deano, they won't stop. Why am I not allowed to love who I want to love? Am I gonna' have to suffer this my whole life? 'Cuz Dean, I don't wanna' live in a world like that,'
I couldn't get my head around it. He was my brother, my big brother, the one who'd always stood up for me. I'd always looked up to him, and I couldn't understand how two people could reduce him to this snivelling wreck just because of his sexuality.
What he'd said then didn't really register.
But when I saw him that day, him and his empty dead eyes, I understood.
I wouldn't have wanted to live in his world either.