CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and EIGHTY-NINE
“She is very taken by you,” Bernie said. “In a way that I’ve never seen. But she’s embarrassed because…”
“I’m just a stupid kid,” Nash said.
“Young,” Bernie said. “No one in their right mind would think that you were stupid.”
“She’s not sure what to do about you,” Bernie said. “If you were a woman, and she a man, you’d just move in with her. Like her mother did.”
“But I’m not female,” Nash said. “She is not a man.”
“You’re sixteen?” Bernie asked.
“Two years until you’re legal?” Bernie asked.
“Age of consent in Poland is 15 years old,” Bernie said.
“I don’t live in Poland,” Nash said. He sucked in a breath and Bernie raised his eyebrows. “Plus, it’s not like I just want to screw her and that’s that. I want…”
Nash let out a breath.
“I wanted you to know that’s she’s very serious about you,” Bernie said. “She said that you’ve been pulling away. She said that her last conversation with you was that you were going to take some time away from her until you were old enough.”
Nash dropped his head into his hands.
“You don’t have to do that, Nash,” Bernie said. “In fact, you don’t have to stay away at all.”
Nash shook his head.
“I can’t do this anymore,” Nash said. “I feel like I’m living in two worlds — one when she’s around and the other of a stupid high school kid. I feel crazy. I can’t. I just can’t.”
“I knew you’d say that,” Bernie said with a grin.
“And?” Nash asked.
“I came up with a plan,” Bernie said. “I wanted to speak with you first before I speak with your parents.”
“I can’t move there,” Nash said. “My family needs me here for now.”
“That’s not my plan,” Bernie said with a grin.
“What’s your plan for my life?” Nash asked.
“Why is that funny?” Nash asked.
“I remember being a young man,” Bernie said. “I remember what it was like to wish and want to be older. Now that I’m old, I can tell you that it’s only with great luck that you are able to get older. But that doesn’t help when you want to be grown up.”
Nash dropped his head onto the table. For a moment, they sat there in silence.
“My plan is this,” Bernie said. “Stop the daily calls. That’s too hard.”
Nash nodded his head against the table.
“Set up times you get together,” Bernie said. “Weekends once a month or every other month. That’s doable. It wouldn’t work for you to go to New York. Too many eyes on her. It wouldn’t work for her to come here. Too many eyes on you.”
Nash lifted his head from the table.
“So you pick a place in between,” Bernie said. “Buy a cabin or a house or get someone who loves you …” The elderly man gestured to himself. “ … to buy a house in his name so that it cannot be traced back to either of you.”
“Then what?” Nash asked.
“Then you spend a little quiet time together,” Bernie said. “Talk. Go for walks. Eat great food. Enjoy each other’s company.”
“What about sex?” Nash asked.
“What about it?” Bernie asked. “Love is not just sexual contact. You both need time to evaluate for yourselves what’s going on — inside you. Sex might be a part of that, but it might not. If you were to enter her world, you would do a lot more than just be her bed partner. You’d have to listen to her. Talk to her. Go to functions with her. Be at her side when she needs you. You will be under a lot of pressure. More than one man has felt too overwhelmed to keep up. Now’s a time to see if you want to do that.”
Nash’s head dropped to the table with a thump.
“My parents will never agree,” Nash said into the table.
“First we have to decide if that’s something you want,” Bernie said.
Nash groaned. Outside of the room, they heard Maresol get up to start breakfast.
“You’ll let me know,” Bernie said.
Before Nash could respond, the elderly man was gone. Maresol came in the room to get something from the cabinet.
“Oh, Nash,” Maresol said. “Are you okay?”
Nash nodded and went back to the couch. He had at least another half hour before he had to get up. Staring at the ceiling, he wondered what he should “do” about Nadia.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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