Chapter TwoMature

He Will Be Loved; Chapter Two


Jake Brunner 


The moment I stepped foot inside my house that evening, my happiness sunk. What I thought was a fine day, plummeted to the core of my worst days ever list.

That night, the mood in our house was so melancholy, I felt the most intensifying desire to run away. I wasn’t exactly used to being greeted by my mother weeping—nor was I too keen on my dad looking so bitter.  I had adjusted a shirt on my body before making my way towards the living room.

My brother, Ethan, lay sprawled out on the couch. Family Feud was playing on our television, but the sound was so low, I couldn’t make out anything of it. I knew that my brother had turned it on to lighten to mood. Something had happened.

"How did the doctor’s appointment go?” I asked.

I had been so preoccupied with my encounter with Codi that I had forgotten about Ethan’s hospital appointment today. He’d been complaining about headaches all month. After countless trips to the docs, we had just suspected that it was his eyesight weakening.  

“Bad news, and good news,” my brother slightly faltered. 

This was strike one. “What’s the good?”

The room fell silent. For a brief moment, there was no audible sound save the mumblings coming from our television. When I let my eyes wander to our tea-table, the one exactly in front of Ethan, the sight bothered me. Books were sprawled out all over the table, all with tumor-related titles: Ependymoma Strikes, Embracing Death, Don’t Let the Brain Tumor Win! Obviously, this was strike two.

"Well," Ethan was the one to break the silence. "I have no shorter than two months to live."

“Seriously,” I glowered, narrowing my eyes at my brother. “What’s going on?”

He said his next words loud and clear. Three short words. Three life-changing words. It seemed to echo through our thin walls.

“I have cancer.” 

For seconds, I just stood there, frozen. Maybe I had heard wrong; maybe Ethan was trying to say something, but because he felt overwhelmed, the wrong words escaped his mouth. Just at that moment, before anything else could happen, Ethan let himself collapse onto the couch. That's when everything registered in my brain. That's when everything stilled in place. It took me a while to recover from the bittersweet agony that senselessly lingered in the air. 

"You're being serious," were the exact words that I had uttered. 

Ethan nodded, "deathly serious, bro." 

I blinked. 

That was, undeniably, strike three. 

The End

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