In sports, when you fall down, hurt your ankle, bust your knee, everyone says, "walk it off; there's a boy." At home, when you're on the floor with busted lips and bruised eyes, your arm bent at an odd angle and the sounds of shouted insults and the door slamming ringing in your ears, your mother looks down at you and mutters through a haze of alcohol, "pray to Jesus. Pray for him to make you clean again; make you better." If you go to school and get into a fight-a fight that you know will end at home with you bleeding, bleeding like you have for years, but no crying, you'll never cry, never again, not in front of that bastard-the principal sighs heavily and lectures, "you are worth so much more than this. Better than this. I'm afraid that I have to suspend you this time, which means no more soccer. I am sorry, but really, you should have thought of this before..." you eventually tune him out, not caring. You don't bother trying to explain that you were only defending the poor kid being called names (geek, queer, sissy-boy faggot). No one cares. All they care about is that you are a trouble maker, and you make everyone uncomfortable, the kid who sits in the back of the class and sneers with scabs on his lips, the kid who never seems to be paying any attention and yet somehow still manages to make straight A's. They kind of want you gone, to shake the dirt of you off of their school grounds. Become immaculate once again.
You'll never tell your mom, but you've worked hard to shake the feeling that there really is a God out there, somewhere. Because if there is, He isn't benevolent and good and forgiving like your mother claims. Because if He existed, then the fact that all of your prayers as a kid after your dad would hit you went unanswered would mean one of two things: He either hates you and wants to see you suffer...or He just doesn't care, and to be honest, you aren't quite sure which would be worse.