By next Monday Peter has a fever and a sore, swollen throat, on Wednesday Mom bundles him up and took him to see Dr. Grantz, tonsillitis again but worse this time. The following Monday, after a remission his fever and sore throat are back worse than ever, the antibiotics don’t seem to have worked, and on Tuesday he’s admitted to the general hospital, Mom jokes about the name and says she expects to see him on TV. Actually it’s Mountain View General Hospital. Peter is taken to the Children’s Ward, put to bed and given medication. Mom promises him she’ll try to get welfare to pay for one of those little six inch black and white TV sets with headphones before she leaves.

Peter feels quite ill and drowsy and it is some time before he takes note of the ward around him. Half the beds are empty and most of the kids are girls a few years younger. There is one boy maybe a year or two older asleep in the bed next to him. Peter quietly stares at the boy. It’s not often you get to really study someone when they’re sleeping. He likes the boy’s wavy dark red hair and thick eyebrows and the coppery hairs on his freckled forearms. And maybe it’s the lack of any expression, or that he feels in no way threatened by him, but Peter decides that the boy has a nice face and that he likes him,

The next thing Peter notices is the buff brick wall through the window opposite him. He finds if he snuggles right down in the bed he can just see a thin line of blue sky over it except to the left where there’s a large octagonal smokestack of the hospital laundry building as he later finds out. To the far left there’s a gap between the laundry building and what he later learns is the South Wing, where he can see in the distant haze a wooded hill. And then to Peter an amazing thing happens He sees the wall which had been in shadow rapidly come into relief, revealing all the tiny irregularities of the brickwork, and then gradually into full light. It’s like the Magic Minutes. It happens mornings and afternoons as the late spring sun rises in the northeast, swings south and then northwest.

“Hi. What’s your name?” The boy in the next bed has woken.

“Peter,” he can talk quietly without discomfort.

“Mine’s Eddie. You just get here?”

“Yeah… tonsillitis… they may operate.”

“I got leukemia, I’ve been here two months already,”

“Oh!… Well I don’t know how long I’ll be here. The doctor says it’s a real bad infection.”

“But you don’t die from tonsils anymore, they say I’m serious like maybe die.”

“Oh.” Peter has never thought about death before, just killing.

Later Eddie asks, “Do you play chess?”

“Sure.” It’s Peter’s favourite game, he reads the chess column and quizzes in the newspaper, makes up his own problems, plays his left brain against his right, but hardly ever plays against anyone else. The Chess Club supervisor at school caught him cheating twice. Eddie has a large magnetic set which is ideal for playing on beds.

Although Peter thinks he makes some clever moves he loses the first four games in quick succession. He tries to rationalize, After all I am sick, but then he does think he’s been playing well compared to other times. Then Eddie starts explaining opening moves, mid game strategies, when to sacrifice and end game situations. And he sets up the board showing and explaining different things, and then they play again, and although Peter loses, he can see that he is doing better. Over the next few days it becomes a routine; playing, learning lessons and playing usually in the late morning and after dinner. On the third day he legitimately wins a game when with a cleverly planned hook he gets Eddie’s queen. He thought he was going to win the next game too, he was three pieces up including a queen but Eddie, in what Peter thinks was, a brilliant play, checkmated him with his last rook, his king and two pawns. And Eddie shows Peter how to use some of the clever moves he already knows and some new ones too.

The remainder of the days is mostly a dreamy, boring nowhere. Eddie sleeps a lot. There isn’t much on daytime programming that interests Peter and he almost resents the mickey mouse TV set. He usually catches the Magic Minutes which he calls ’the changing of the wall’ and gets Eddie to share them. Mom visits every afternoon and leaves Peter little treats most of which he either can’t eat or doesn’t want, but which he enjoys giving away. And Aunt Agnes drops off a pile of magazines, mostly old Chatelaines but a few National Geographics and the latest Readers’ Digest. Eddie’s parents visit in the evenings, Peter thinks his mother who has long blond hair is beautiful. Eddie is also visited regularly by a Pastor Smiley usually with his assistant Bob. They are from Eddie’s church and they both wear business suits although they don’t look it. And other people including older teenagers sometimes visit him too. Eddie must be important, and not just because he has leukemia, like all the visitors he gets, and sometimes they pull the curtains and do something like praying. And from what Eddie says about God, He sounds pretty powerful. Peter is curious. He doesn’t know much about religion except Christmas and Easter, and the fact that Jesus had a beard. But they don’t show any hair on his legs and chest, but then they don’t have any photographs and he probably had lots, and I think God has a beard too. Peter is trying to remember things from when he went to Sunday school, three times, back when he was nine. “Is that praying you do when you pull the curtain?”

“Well yes, I always pray to God, to ask for forgiveness and guidance. I’m a Baptist and we try to follow the True Word of God as revealed in the Scriptures and we accept Jesus as our Savior.”

“I like Jesus, I figure he was pretty neat, like I saw that Jesus Christ Superstar and some Easter specials on TV, and they talk about him a lot on Sundays before the football games come on.” Peter is trying to be polite, flattering, some of the stuff he thinks was pretty boring.

“The important thing is that He is our Savior and died for our sins, like you really have to study the Bible to find out.”

“You mean they don’t tell you everything on TV?”

“There’s a lot more to it than that. There’s the whole struggle against the forces of Evil, like we need God more than ever what with the rising crime rate, terrorism, immorality, Communism, and I’m not quite sure why but the most sinister thing nowadays is Secular Humanism. It’s something subversive and destroys peoples’ faith and the liberals and the Communists are behind it, and they make it sound very reasonable, The reason we have so many problems is because people don’t believe in God and obey His laws and accept Jesus as their Savior.”

“You’re sure right about Evil and Communism, and if it takes believing to beat them, that’s a good idea too.” Eddie seems to agree. Peter figures he believes in God and Jesus. All you got to do is think you believe. Like I believe in Science, and money, and of course Democracy and the Canadian Way of Life, so why not God and Jesus. Just then dinner arrives. “How come they never give you enough ketchup?”

Peter finds that Eddie’s also interested in science, although he doesn’t think much of of rockets, bombs and ray guns. He doesn’t understand that Science can do it, so Peter takes Eddie on one of his adventures.

“But Peter,” Eddie interrupts, “why would you kill all the Siliconians on Evilon after you win the war?”

“To get rid of them.”

“But do you have to KILL them?”

“No… You could make some into slaves if you wanted to, like they’d probably be very grateful to live and they’d work real hard for you. Like slavery would be something humane, you could call it progress.”

“But it would still be slavery and that’s wrong.”

“I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in Canada anyway. I think you can still get them in Saudi Arabia but you’re supposed to let them go free. And there’s lots in Russia but they won’t let them out of the labour camps. Like I think the Russians should sell their slaves to private owners and I bet the slaves would like it too. I’m not saying slavery is good, it could be nice but I agree it’s not right. But it’s mainly the Russians and the Communists, and that’s another reason we should have zapped them when we had the chance. Like when the Americans get this MX built, and with us having better computers and all that, we how should just do it. Like I read for big targets like Moscow they’d use a pattern of bombs not just one gigantic one. With all the other things I’ve had, I figure I could take a little radiation — like they use it to cure cancer anyway.”

“But it’s wrong to bomb cities.” Eddie objects.

“Not even with neutron bombs? You’d still have all the churches and cathedrals.”

“But there are people there just like us.”

“But they’re Russians and Commies.”

“Well that doesn’t matter, they’re still people and a lot of

them are Christians, and some are Baptists like me!” Eddie’s emphatic.

“But I don’t think they can make a bomb that would just kill Commies.” It’s an interesting problem that Peter hasn’t considered before.

“All war and killing are wrong. It’s wrong to kill anybody, it’s like murder. And Russians are no different. My Mom and her family are Russian and some of them are still there, and I have an uncle who was in a slave labour camp.”

“I didn’t really mean it like that.” Peter doesn’t think his mother looks very Russian, like they’re supposed to be fat. “Like maybe soon we’ll be able to just knock out their missiles and subs. Better technology could make wars humane.”

Eddie won’t even allow that compromise. He tells Peter all about the persecution of Baptists in the Soviet Union. Peter’d thought that only Jews, Blacks and himself were ever persecuted anymore. Eddie goes on to explain how people should live together as brothers. Peter figures he doesn’t mean how he and his brothers live together. He is impressed, Eddie has all sort of facts and God on his side. And God is a super queen, he can do anything. Eddie concludes, “And if everybody believed in God, had faith, and accepted Jesus as their Savior there’d be no more wars or fighting.”

Eddie’s right, you shouldn’t zap cities or kill people, I still think you should be able to do it to aliens though. And not fighting is a good idea. But what are you going to do with the Russians and the Iranians and the Argentinians? Like it’s because of what they believe! That’s, the problem. Like if they were all Christians and had Faith, well, there’d be no more wars, so all you got to do is make them believe. And that’s probably just something to with the way atoms or cells are arranged in the brain, and I bet you could make a belief beam to rearrange them. That would be a lot better than something you’d have to strap them into and put electrodes on their heads which is probably all the Russians have. “We could send the belief beams down from satellites in circumpolar orbits, that would only take a few hours. But you’d need dishes, people would have to wear them. I bet the Italians could come up with some neat designs. But you’d never get the Commies to wear them. Maybe a ray gun? And then we could miniaturize it like my old death ray camera gun and the next time he meets the Russians we could give Reagan a ray gun and he could just saunter up to the Russian Leaders, look them in the eye and smile with his hand in his pocket and give each of them a faith zap. And right away they’d start believing in God and Peace and Love and Free Enterprise. Reagan might have to be careful about ricochets off mirrors.

But it would sure take a long time doing it one by one. Look how long it took the Nazis and they were doing hundreds at a time. What you need is bombs, belief bombs, B-Bombs, and then you could just do it city by city. They could work something like neutron bombs but instead of radiation there would be a high energy pulse of Faith and it would just go through their brains rearranging things here and there and they would come out believers. Just think of a B-Bomb going off over Moscow. All the Communists would start believing in Christianity and Democracy, and if the Kremlin were ground zero the leaders would believe the best. Crosses would be forged out of the hammers and sickles and they wouldn’t have to wait in lines to buy things. But suppose some got too much? Can you OD on faith like you’re supposed to on drugs? Maybe you’d flip out if you get too much faith, go crazy, or maybe you’d become a saint? Like they’re nice but you wouldn’t want too many because you got to feed them. And maybe you’d have to give booster shots to those who didn’t get enough. I don’t know what you’d do in places like Saskatchewan but they’ve got a lot of Christians anyway. And just think what the world would be like if everybody believed what was right. Peter figures he’d be taking on a lot of work, figuring out what is right and what people should believe and having to program the faith pulses. I wonder if you’d need a separate program for each different language? I’d have to get help for that. But hey! While we’re at it we could just fix it so everybody speaks English. Speaking English is something I believe in so there’s no reason why everybody else can’t. It would sure make everything a lot simpler. And we wouldn’t have to worry about Quebec anymore. We had to learn the French metric system so that would be fair, and they’d be Christians instead of Catholics. And we could make people believe that Pepsi tastes better than Coke, there’d be money in that, but I bet Eddie would say that they should watch the commercials so they can make up their own minds. And nobody would buy Eat-More bars anymore. And politics, think what you could do in politics, I could have special election bombs. But it would be wrong to do that for money, undemocratic, so maybe I should get myself elected prime minister instead. Then the whole world would be happy, and there’d be Peace all over the place. The Blacks would love the Whites, and the Muslims would love the Jews, but then it wouldn’t matter cause they’d all be Christians anyway.

Eddie is not very impressed with the belief beam and B-Bomb ideas. “You just Can’t make people believe, they have to want to believe, in their hearts.”

“Well, you MAKE them want to! I mean it sure seems to be a waste of people, or souls if it’s just a matter of a few atoms out of place, and they end up in Hell. Suppose the Arabs with all their oil money got it first, you wouldn’t want to be a Muslim would you? That would be Hell for sure, and if the Commies got it you might not even get into Hell. I think the government should do something about it — start a crash program right away.”

“But you can’t have the government getting into religion. The Baptist churches have always been opposed to it.”

“Well you believe in Free Enterprise don’t you? Well I read the political pamphlets last election and Free Enterprise is a partnership between government and business, it said so, and there’s no reason for the churches to be left out.”

“But…” Eddie begins and Peter knows he’s being stubborn and unreasonable again, so he changes the subject. Space exploration, and he finds out that Eddie knows more about it and the planets stars and black holes than he does. In fact Eddie knows a lot about science and Peter gets some new ideas. Eddie’s interested in living things and wants to be a doctor or a biologist. Peter figures living things are OK but not very exciting, and when Eddie says that the human body is more complex and better designed than any spaceship, Peter tries to argue, it doesn’t seem right. And the idea that computers are simply quick thinking morons compared to the human brain, that certainly couldn’t be right. Then Eddie shows him some microscope pictures from an old SCIENCE DIGEST magazine and they look like Things out of a horror movie only more so. Peter decides that maybe studying living things could be interesting after all.

On his fourth day Peter is told that they are going to operate to take out his tonsils and adenoids, “What are they?” the following morning. My first operation! Peter isn’t scared, in fact he’s quite excited by the idea. The surgeon that Dr. Grantz brings in has a big mustache, bushy eyebrows and fat hairy hands. Peter likes him. He tells Peter in a deep reassuring voice that he will be given something, an anesthetic that will put him to sleep and he won’t feel a thing although he’ll be sore when he wakes up. Actually, Peter is enjoying being in the hospital. He likes most of the nurses. There are two, three if you count the one who looks East Indian, he thinks are beautiful even though only one has real big boobs. He likes having his meals served to him in bed even if it doesn’t taste as good as McDonald’s. And he loves having his back rubbed every evening. He even lies one time and has it done twice. Everyone except the bitchy night nurse is very pleasant to him. And everything is so scientific in hospitals, they got all this technology like laboratories and X-ray machines. If I were rich I’d have my own hospital and all the nurses would be beauty queens. I’d change the uniforms a bit. And you could have all the backrubs you wanted, and maybe more. It’s a naughty thought. And most of the doctors would have beards and there’d be lots of games and books to look at. And it would be even nicer if you weren’t sick!.

Peter can’t talk very much for the first day and a half after his operation. He doesn’t even play chess the first night. But Eddie sure talks, on and on, and Peter listens, entranced in a way he has only been before with TV. He tells Peter about his family, only a sister, his house which sounds a lot better than his own, his school where they seem to have a lot of fun, and his church. And God and Jesus. Eddie says he’s been ’born again’. Peter can’t quite understand that and manages to ask, “How?” It seems like a neat idea. Eddie says when you take Jesus into your heart the burden of your sins is lifted from you. Peter wants it. After chess Peter’s favourite time is after lights out at nine. It’s more like he and Eddie are alone and have the world to themselves. It’s a time for secrets and while Peter never admits he’s a sissy, he does confess that he’s afraid of riding bicycles, swimming or getting hurt in an accident. Eddie says he worries about disappointing people, especially his parents who are so good to him. Peter can’t figure that out, it seems a funny thing to be scared of. And Eddie really likes swimming and cycling and he plays basketball and soccer. Peter thinks that basketball might be all right but soccer, “But somebody might kick you and you’d get hurt?”

“You don’t get hurt all that much and besides sports are fun and they’re good for you, and so what if you do get hurt occasionally?”

“I can’t see that that would be much fun.”

“It’s just part of the game, like I got kicked you know where, he indicates his groin, and that really hurt. They were going to take me to emergency but I was OK next day. If everybody were afraid of getting hurt not much would get done.”

“Well I guess so.” Peter feels forced to agree, he doesn’t want to admit he’s a sissy, or used to be, tries to believe. He tries to imagine what it would feel like getting kicked in the balls but quickly gives up the idea. And death, Peter has just begun to think about the possibility. A couple of times Eddie has spoken as if he expected to die, and now he says, “I don’t worry about that because I’m saved, and when I die I’ll go to Heaven and be with God and Jesus.”

“I hope I do too,,” Peter nervously responds.

“I hope you do too.” Eddie reaches out his hand and Peter grasps it across the space between the beds. And they remain like that for what seems like minutes until Eddie falls asleep. Later as he watches Eddie peacefully sleeping Peter squeezes his own balls, not very hard but hard enough to taste that peculiar aching pain and he thinks maybe, just maybe, he should try playing sports. He desperately wants to be like Eddie. Like Eddie’s brave, not tough like a lot of kids, like he’s not a sissy. Peter goes to sleep part way through a fantasy where he and Eddie do all sorts of heroic things.

Next morning Peter awakes to find Eddie gone. He feels scared and worried but the first nurse he sees informs him that Eddie has been moved to another room for some special treatment, and that he will be back in a few days. Peter’s reassured but feels alone, alone in a way he hasn’t felt before, and he momentarily indulges in this new feeling. He misses Eddie, except occasionally for Mom he can’t remember missing anyone before. It is like part of himself is missing or not able to operate. Eddie’s my friend, we’re friends he muses and Peter’s loneliness is suddenly transformed into a joy of realization. A Real Friend! He feels it. You don’t have to pal around go places or do things, just talking and playing chess. He gets out of bed, puts on his dressing gown and walks to the window. It’s a dark cloudy day, probably raining in the mountains to the west. There will be no changing of the wall today. A Friend, and he savours the idea. Eddie is everything he ever wanted for a friend, only he doesn’t agree with what you say, and let you be right, and he tells you what is right and you can’t always win. Actually that impresses him all the more. But the thing a that fascinates Peter the most is Eddie’s Christianity. Peter always figured that most people were anyway, at least in Canada, but with Eddie it meant you had to believe things, and he prayed. Peter has seen Eddie pray a few times, he’s positive. It’s sort of something you do privately, but not quite like when you re fooling around with yourself. And he says it helps him. I don’t know what happens but something must. Maybe you get some kind of power, like God is very powerful, or it does something to you, sort of like drugs maybe. I mean people wouldn’t do it all the time if nothing happened. And Baptists! The name activates some deposit in his memory bank, a TV documentary on the rural American South. And they were freaking out all over the place, maybe that’s only when you OD on prayer or something. I’ll ask Eddie to teach me just like he did with chess. Nevertheless it’s a pretty empty day, Peter is feeling much better and there’s talk of sending home soon, and things really seem to drag without Eddie. He tries talking to some of the younger kids but they don’t play chess, he follows his favourite nurse around, the one with the light wavy hair and a mole on her neck, but she won’t let him into the other wards, he goes to the CNIB news stand, buys some Smarties and pretends they’re pills. Peter doesn’t feel like having his nap after lunch and starts reading a NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. An article about Australia and the Aborigines doesn’t interest him much. They look worse than Pakis, but the pictures and even the story about the Great Barrier Reef intrigue him. It explains about the ecological balance in the reefs, Peter’s heard about that before but thought it was just some Greenpeace whale talk. And he recalls all the beautiful creatures he’d seen once in a tide pool at Surge Passage although he wasn’t very interested at the time. I’ll go back there now I know some of the names.

Rain falls heavily most of the afternoon and Peter tries playing chess between his right brain and his left brain but it doesn’t seem to work anymore, and he gives up after a while. He figures he’ll have to play with other people from now on. The rain stops about five o’clock and Peter notices the sun playing through the window. He walks over to it but the sky is still a flat leaden gray. But then through the gap between the buildings he sees the hill come into brilliant sunlight outlined against the dark sky beyond. And it’s clear like he’s never seen before, the haze has been washed away. And he can even pick out individual trees and there just below the top of the hill is a golden patch, a meadow on a bluff, and to Peter it appears like some distant magic garden and his imagination flies there.

There’s just himself and Eddie and Jesus up there in the magic golden garden, the cosmic cockpit of the community. They look out over the city and see everything that goes on. Jesus has X-ray vision and can spot all the sins as they happen. Maybe, maybe he will teach me how to do it too… And the three of us, and maybe God could set up an anti-sin team, something like a SWAT team. Peter tries to figure something out, Special War Against Trash? . Tricksters? Treacherers? but he can’t find an appropriate word beginning with “T”, And then he has it, Battle Against Secular Humanism, BASH. That’s it, the BASH Team. We’d swoop down, walk on water, set some bushes on fire and try that fishes and loaves thing on hamburgers and pizza, and maybe bring somebody back from the dead like Einstein or Jimmy Morrison!

And we wouldn’t just go out and faith zap all the sinners. Eddie doesn’t approve of belief beams of any kind and Peter had agreed. Unless you have to. After all you’re trying to save them. You have to talk to them about Jesus and give them pamphlets and explain how he died for their sins. Like Jesus with his X-ray vision could give you a complete list of sins for everybody. And you’d have to tell them about Evil and how the Devil tempts people. I’d go after stealers, that’s a sin and I haven’t done much. Just think, no more stealing… You wouldn’t need locks and guards… or even banks, like that’s why people use them so money and things don’t get stolen… No banks? We’d sure lose a lot of big buildings, and just think what it would be like in Toronto and New York. Well maybe we could just try not stealing for a while and see how it works. There’s always adulteraters and murderers, I could try saving them. I’d let Eddie go after the real dangerous ones like the secular humanists when they do it, they scare me a bit because they destroy your faith. But I’d take on the Communists, there’re sinners, and the Pakis too, they’re probably worth saving. And those boys at the Schoolside Store who pick on me. It doesn’t seem fair to save them but maybe if you forgive them real hard first. Like when you think about it there’s a lot you could do, We could call it Operation Salvation and set up Salvation Stations and maybe franchise them like 7-Elevens.

The sun has moved on from the hill with the golden garden but things are still unusually clear. Peter remains by the window reflecting. I never realized Eddie’s my friend until he wasn’t here. When he comes back we’ll have a celebration and play lots of chess. I’ve figured out some new moves I want to try. And after we get out we’ll really pal round, go places and do things and visit each other. I could get Mom to fix up my room, I could even try painting it myself, blue would be nice. And I’ll learn how to ride a bike, Eddie has one, and we could ride out to the lake and maybe I could learn to swim too, Eddie does, and I could go to his church and learn all about God and Jesus, and getting saved myself. Like when you’re saved, you’re forgiven, you’re born again. And when you’re born again you don’t have to worry about anything, like there’s probably a couple of things I’ve done, and then everything would be OK. I don’t think it makes you rich or anything, you don’t get any money, but I asked Eddie and he said it could be good for business. Like I’d just have to wait until I died and then I’d go to Heaven and have a good time.

The next day begins as dull and tedious as the one before although outside the sun is shining, fluffy clouds scuttle about and the countryside sparkles in the hazeless air. It isn’t until after lunch, nap time, and Peter is wandering around the halls that he asks his favourite nurse about Eddie. She doesn’t seem to know but soon comes back with the head nurse who takes him aside and tells him, “Eddie passed away peacefully last night.” Peter cries and no amount of comforting seems to help and they leave him alone in his bed. And he cries more, he cries for he cries for himself and the dream that will not be.

He’s discharged early next day,, Mom and Aunt Agnes pick him up. He insists on riding in the back seat of the Chev by himself and doesn’t want to stop for an old fashioned hamburger and a milkshake at Wendy’s. Peter keeps to himself the whole ride home and tries to make sense of all that has happened. Eddie is dead, gone. He accepts that, but what is it? Is dying like when you get anesthetic and the doctor makes you start your countdown, and you start to swirl and spin and it’s like you’re orbiting round and round and further and further out, and there you are, moving past the moon and the planets and its dark and you can’t remember, only when you die you arrive somewhere? A splashdown in Heaven?

Eddie had believed in God and had gone to Heaven because he had faith. Peter believes that as a fact. But this faith business is new and strange to Peter. How do you believe? Is it just thinking, and saying? I believe the sun rises in he east and that banks are closed on Sundays. It’s true, but is it faith? And believing in your heart, isn’t that just being sincere? And that time Eddie got preachy and said something from the Bible like “Believe in me and you’ll be saved.” And you got to believe Jesus died for your sins too. But what does it mean? How do you go about believing in Jesus? How do you know when you do? It all sounds so simple. You just believe. But when you try it, it’s not, but if you do believe, it is. I think I believe in Jesus but how do you make sure?

And this sinning business doesn’t make sense, like all sorts of things are sins, you can’t avoid them… And all they are is things you shouldn’t do. But they’re supposed to be evil and important. Maybe it’s too late for me? And Eddie said he was sinner too. Now that really doesn’t make sense. But then there’s this forgiveness business. You’re not supposed to get even, which doesn’t seem right because everyone else does. Like how do you get even if you don’t? Maybe you could lay a real heavy forgiveness trip on them? You could try it. I know what, I’ll forgive Alex for teasing me all the time. I’ll wait for someday when Mom makes a dinner and everyone’s here, and I’ll stand up and say, “Alex, I forgive you forgive for teasing me. I forgive you for calling me names and swearing at me. I forgive you in the name of Jesus.” I bet that would work and Alex would say he was sorry and wouldn’t do it anymore. And other people are supposed to forgive you, and God does if you believe.

Peter Knows his great sin is being a sissy and at a less conscious level he is aware that it has something to do with other things he’s not too happy with about himself. He’s not sure if there’s a specific commandment to be brave but he’s becoming scared of being a sissy. Being really ’saved’ seems to offer a path of glory leading to a modest rung of self respect if not Salvation. However these subtleties do not bother Peter’s mind. He simply wants to be a boy. And to be a boy means being brave like Eddie, and also tough like Alex and strong and powerful like Tom. Peter dreads his sissyhood but he doesn’t have much more courage than that. It’s a sin far worse than swearing or stealing to him. And Eddie died, like that. I think he knew he was, and you can’t be braver than that. He showed me! And for Peter things are fitting together. Eddie having faith and being brave and dying like that was to show me the way, and if I got faith I won’t be a sissy anymore. Like Eddie died for my Sin, he SAVED ME. He’s my JESUS!

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