The only time I’ve ever believed in God was when I made your nose bleed. At the time, we were too young for church pews and angry looks from devout men that told us to shut up just because we were happy. We were made of giggles then, elated screams of joy that splintered every rooftop when something was funny…just to us. The day I made your nose bleed, we were sitting in the back of church, knees kissing the floor, hands interlaced in sacred, yet falsified prayer. Our grandmother shushed us when we split communion wafer obscenities and carved our names into the Bible just so we could have a place against the worshippers. I remember that the windows were all stain glass, like our veins engraved into our arms. One was blue for our purest virtues, the other was red for our contemptuous vices.
That day started as blue. It was blue when we were laughing. It was blue when hope still held us close and shook us to sleep. It was blue when it was all a game and nuns never struck us down just for being so happy.
But when I kicked your nose in the bathroom, the stain glass bled as red as your innocent blood. You told me to help you, to do something, to save you. I couldn’t. I was scared. I wanted to stop the red. I wanted to stop the sin from seeping in and staining me even further. I didn’t want to be bad. I didn’t want to be bad. I wanted to be you, blue and true and so much better than me.
I still want to be blue.
But I ran. I ran from the tainted blue. I ran from your cries of help and left you to bleed on the bathroom floor of a church while a congregation of people sang hymns to no one. When I ran to the back of the church, the walls were aglow in red from the stain glass. It glared red at me while I sat and cried to the anger of devout men and the shushes of my grandmother. I was red now. I was red while you bled in pain and fear. I was red. I was disgrace. I was sorrow. I was sin. I was red.
She asked where you were and I pointed to the sepulcher of a bathroom and cried tears for you. I left you to bleed and I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry for every whip lash and every ugly, brown sandal kick. I’m sorry for the nose bleed. I’m sorry for being so scared. I’m sorry I left you. I’m sorry…even though I know it’s too late to apologize for broken stain glass.