Alone in his bedroom, Jason took up Bart’s diary again. He hadn’t looked at it for a couple of weeks. He flipped it open towards the end.
Monday. Saw ____ again at footy. I love him. He’s so cute and handsome. But I haven’t told him. I wish I had the courage to tell him.
Tuesday. _____ accused me of being a homo in front of a whole group of his friends. I feel so ashamed. I wish I wasn’t gay. After school some of them waited for me and taunted me as I walked home. It was only just outside the door that they stopped. I know mum saw it but she didn’t say anything.
Wednesday. More of the same. In class I felt that even Father McAlister knew, from the way he was looking at me. When I sat down at my desk I could smell dogshit. Someone had put some in my desk. When I opened the lid there were chortles from half the boys in my class. Father McAlister didn’t stop them, though he’s normally so strict. He just watched me with his eyes so hard, his mouth a thin line. I wish I was dead.
Jason couldn’t bear to read any more. He was filled with rage at the bullies, at the judgments and prejudice. It didn’t seem that it had happened twenty years ago. It felt immediate, real. He wondered if any of them had ever regretted what they had done. Did they lie abed awake, staring at the ceiling? Did they try and make amends now? Or had they just gone blithely along with the rest of their lives, forgetting the young man they had driven to his death? Did they ever look at a gay guy now, and think about Bart?
Then he remembered that he himself had done wrong; that Brent too had killed himself, not because he was gay but because—in the end—because he had been ashamed of being poor, and had stolen money to try and keep up with Jason. And Jason hadn’t been there for him. Knuckling tears from his eyes, Jason wept for himself and Brent and Bart. He wept for humanity.