Chris flat out ignored Geoffry for the next three days or so. Geoffry tried hard to get his attention, but Chris was stubborn and wouldn't even look at him for almost a whole week.
At recess, I sat down by Chris on a bench and I said, "Hey, Buddy."
Chris shrugged 'hello' and didn't say anything.
"Hey," I said, putting my hand on his back, "How 'you doing?"
Chris shrugged again and remained silent.
There was a long pause and, seeing that he wasn't going to speak, I opened my mouth to do so. Then, Chris said, "Thank you, Angela."
I cocked my head to the side and said, "Um... For what?"
Chris looked at me and said, "Thank you for your support. I'm thankful that you're so willing to look after me. You know, that you're always there for me, but I need to handle this on my own. Please let me do so. It means the world to me that you let me take care of this one thing by myself."
I stared at my brother for a minute, stunned. That was perhaps the smartest thing I had heard him say in.... Well, ever.
I smiled at Chris. My baby brother wanted to take responsibility for his own life. I was so proud I could've cried, but I didn't.
I nodded and hugged Chris. I said quietly, "I'm proud of you, Chris."
Chris smiled weakly and, scooting away, said to me, "I appreciate your understanding."
My understanding? I thought, To tell the truth, I can't be more proud.
Chris nodded and stood up, wordlessly walking away.
Once he was gone, I smiled to myself and nodded.
"Yeah," I said quietly, "That's my boy."