My parents kneel on either side of me, pressing their hands together with their foreheads down, each murmuring a different prayer as I lie obediently in bed.
Between prayers they clutch their cross necklaces in their fists, eyes closed, and nod and whisper to themselves.
I was once encouraged to join them, but my mind is now too hazy to remember the words, my throat too weak to speak them.
God will heal me, they tell me. I just have to believe.
Hospitals, doctors, human medicine--all abominable creations peddled by filthy nonbelievers.
God would punish us for using those methods for He is more powerful than any treatment they could produce.
So I did believe. Or, at least I tried.
As the days pass and my body continues to weaken, I find myself thinking about my older brother, and how long ago that had been.
He believed, too. Or, at least he'd tried.