I didn’t have time to visit him in the hospital last Friday night. I can’t remember what I was doing, but I was busy, no doubt. I always am. My mother came that weekend, but I should have stayed when I went that morning. I didn’t pay attention in class that I ran back for anyways. I should have stayed to listen. Maybe then I wouldn’t be so guilty for not getting off the bus.

Saturday morning, my mom and I went to the hospital, a different hospital, a different friend. I dropped her off to catch her bus to New York. I went on the T to return to campus, but the shuttle stopped me right in front of the hospital my friend, my brother, was in. It crossed my mind that I should go in. I was worried about an event at church I was going to. I didn’t want to be late. I wondered how frequently the shuttle comes around. Something broke inside me as the bus pulled from the curb. But I quickly forgot about it as I struggled to get to the location of my next meeting, and rewarded by being able to sit in my chair for an extra 15 minutes, while still having had time to grab my notebook from my room.

I texted him the next day – he had been discharged the evening before. He had slept well; he was going to get a new tattoo. He sounded fine.

I saw him this morning watching a YouTube clip on his phone. I sat by him. He apologized; he was a bit angry. I sat at his side, silent as I listened to him mention that he considered getting new friends. He was mad at me. I had come, yes, but for a short time. I didn’t text him at all on Saturday, and no one else had stopped by for one excuse or another. But as he talked, he seemed to forgive me, for he continued to talk like he used to, he began to joke like he used to. I was relieved to take the role as listener the way I knew how, but I could not apologize enough, so I stopped trying. Instead, as I laughed with him and asked him questions, as I learned about how his dedication to his classes had all but disappeared,  I fell before the feet of the Father and begged for mercy. To forgive me for ignoring His voice, and for the pain I felt responsible for. To pardon me my messed up priories, and to have mercy over the repercussions I could have never foreseen, but wish, more than anything, I could take back.

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