As he grew, so did the praise for his purity. Folks at mass would say his skin glowed whiter than his robe. "Angel Boy" boys would snigger, quickly hushed by others who remembered a borrowed shirt, lunches shared. Jimmy was good all the way through, and none could fault him.
Yes, Jimmy was a good boy. Good until after weeding the parish community garden he brought the rake and hoe back to the old shed and caught the nuns hunched in guilt and black as crows, cigarettes hanging from their mouths.
He stumbled out, blinded by the little ashy lights, weeping nicotine.
Helen R. Peterson lives and writes in Connecticut.
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