“Mrs.Sunshine says you aren’t making progress.”
Gentry glanced at her from the couch, cradling a schoolbook on his stomach and balancing it with his knees. He absent-mindedly flipped through the pages, vaguely registering his mother’s presence by the tingling feeling of uneasiness that tremored through his veins. There were so many different kinds of silence, and shameful quiet that lingered over his house was the one he hated most.
“She wants me to spend more time with dad.”
Sophia froze, then quietly said, “Are you still seeing that boy?”
“Hm.” She glanced into a dusty corner with a distant look in her eyes as she said, “I’m going to Church, Gentry.”
She pulled on her coat, “I want you to go with me.”
“Take Dad with you.”
“He already goes… every weekend.”
“Great wonders that’s been doing for him. Now he just eyes the alter boy.”
He felt a twinge of satisfaction when he saw the ill look on her face. He could make her sick if he wanted to.
“Don’t give me that look. You knew what he did in my room every night. You walked in on it once and slammed the door.”
“Gentry…” she spoke tersely, “I’ve forgiven him.” Her nervous fingers tied a limp pink jacket over her white shoulders, “Because we all have sins, and you’re no exception to the rule. Now put on your coat, we’re going to Church.”
“It’s not your place to forgive him.”
“It wasn’t your place to tempt him. He’s repenting for what he did, he’s making progress.”
The schoolbook thudded onto the floor, dust scattering into the air like dandelion puffs.
“He’s sorry? That’s it? I’m sorry I’m related to him.” Gentry snarled as he pulled himself off the couch.
Sophia hung her head down the way she often did when there was nothing meaningful she could say, “There is nowhere we can turn. No one could understand us, and therefore no one can help us. You know that. No one sees things from a human perspective. Gentry... he’s repenting his sins, and you should too.”
Gentry held a breathless silence, as the blood rushed through his veins. It rushed and channeled as if the dust in the air compelled it to, those ghostly dandelion heads of dust.
“He only stopped because I got too old and too freckled. And soon, he’ll move on, and fuck some other guy the way he fucked Carly. Fuck their ass, then fuck with their mind long after he’s moved on.”
“Don’t be so polite!” Gentry’s hand was balled into an angry fist, nails digging into reddened skin, “There’s nothing to be polite about. You slammed the door, Mom. You slammed it because there was nothing polite about what you saw!”
“How is it different from what you regularly do?” she exclaimed, her face reddening, “You… have sex with boys, Gentry. I don’t want to point out the obvious, but it is what you do.”
He gazed at her tensely. There were things that went unsaid, things you knew but never mentioned.
“I cleaned your cum off the bedsheets the next day.” She said quietly, “We all have flaws, Gentry. Now, please get your coat. We’re going to Church.”
“I didn’t want it.”
“You weren’t fighting, either.” She looked away, “Get your coat, Gentry.”
Gentry spitefully pulled to the corner table, picked up the china vase and hurled it to the ground.
“I didn’t want it.”
Sophia stared at the mess blankly, then looked away.
“I didn’t want it!” Gentry screamed.
“You have a disease, Gentry… I… I-I’m not mad at you. But--- as long as you live here… I expect you to do something about it.”
“I’m not sick!” his hands shook, “I liked what I had with Zach!”
“It was different; I could bear him touching me. I wanted him to, I still do! It was different from Dad---”
“Enough.” She made a face and looked away, tears in her eyes as her voice remained soft and even, “I don’t want to hear about it. If you won’t come to Church… you can pack your things.”
The dusty silence reigned again, settling like snow over the old parlor.