CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-EIGHT
Nash turned to look at Delphie. He didn’t say anything for a moment and then asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m going to repeat back to you what you said and you tell me,” Delphie said. “Let’s say your father was saying it.”
Nash didn’t respond. Delphie raised her eyebrows and Nash nodded.
“Whiskey is the best friend I’ve ever had,” Delphie said. Nash gasped and Delphie continued, “It’s always there for me — day and night. If someone’s mean to me, I just block it out. But better than anything, when I got to the bar there are lots of people who are just like me. They don’t ask anything of me. I just have to…”
“Drink whiskey,” Nash whispered along with Delphie.
He gave Delphie a long look.
“I want to say that I’m not addicted,” Nash said. “That it doesn’t have anything to do with me.”
He shook his head.
“I don’t do drugs or alcohol,” Nash said. “That’s Dad’s and my stupid mother’s issue.”
“The scientists tell us that we get the same hit from these phones and social media that we get from drugs and alcohol,” Delphie said. “They are highly addictive.”
He held out his burned and reeking phone to her.
“This has never cost me anything,” Nash said. “I haven’t lost a job or a friendship or custody of my child or…”
“And Sandy?” Delphie asked.
Nash didn’t respond. He didn’t dare look at her.
“Your relationship with your father?” Delphie asked.
“My father is an asshole,” Nash said.
“Come on, Nash, you know this stuff,” Delphie said. “What was the last thing you did with Teddy?”
“Uh,” Nash said. “Um… He wanted to ride our bikes out to the gully but I was on Snapchat and…”
He looked at Delphie for a long moment.
“Shit,” he said. “I really love my phone. Love it. I felt like it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“It’s not living, Nash,” Delphie said. “It’s just a thing. What you get out of it comes from you and you only. I cannot give back to you.”
“That’s what Abi said, but she doesn’t understand,” Nash said. “I mean, how could she? I have real friends here.”
“Realer than Sandy?” Delphie said, softly.
Nash’s mouth dropped open.
“This is how all addicts fell,” Delphie said. “They feel lost and alone when their drug — the thing that works — is no longer available or they can’t use it. They love their drug or alcohol.”
Nash looked dumbstruck.
“But it doesn’t love them back,” Delphie said. “It is a thing that will take your entire life away or that of those you love with all your heart.”
“But…” Nash started.
His eyes filled with desperation, he looked at Delphie.
“You didn’t realize that addicts love their drugs?” Delphie asked.
Nash shook his head.
“Drugs work,” Delphie said. “That phone works for you. You don’t have to figure out how to meet your own needs, find your own confidence, talk to Nadia about how you feel, or even stretch to find what you’re good at because…”
“It’s always there for me,” Nash said. “Ready. Willing. Able to fill the gap.”
“I didn’t think it would be like this,” Nash said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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