The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 39

Most of the time he has his headphones in and he’s doing homework. He sleeps all weekend, smokes. We live in the same house, but we don’t talk.”

Maggie had been to the Tannenbaum house a few times. It howled with testosterone. There were white sneakers strewn on stairs and spontaneous wrestling tournaments in the basement. Mrs. Tannenbaum bought two female dogs to bump up the estrogen factor. They were stocky rescued pit bulls with pink collars and under bites. Micah was rarely part of that chaos, Maggie realized.

Cal continued, “But sometimes I wonder if someone is so sad, why should people be upset if they die? And I know that sounds awful, but I want him to be happy and if he’s not, then… Maybe he’d be happier being dead. Maybe some people just don’t want to be alive, and why are we forcing them to be? Maybe he’s not going to get better. I’m going through this again and again and again.”

“Aren’t your parents psychiatrists?” Gigi asked.

“Yeah. Like he’d talk to them. They don’t notice anything. They’ll probably drug him up and make him talk to one of their colleagues. They found some of his writing a while back and it was pretty angry and kind of disturbing and they didn’t really even bring it up or do anything about it as far as I know.”

“Maybe he just needs to get laid,” Gigi replied.

Micah came back to school a week later. Never had he and Cal looked less alike. Usually everyone could tell them apart because Cal wore soccer sweatshirts almost every day and Micah wore button down shirts and glasses. Now Micah was wheeled into homeroom by Cal with his leg propped up and his arm in a blue sling. His bloodshot eyes stared through new glasses. He looked defiant and hardened. Everyone was staring, including Maggie. She felt pulled to Micah in a way she never had before; her heart was a barrel in a waterfall. She couldn’t understand how she had never given much thought to his freckles or his glasses or his nervous leg jiggle. She wanted to hold his hand on her front porch.