CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and FIFTY-EIGHT
“About what?” Delphie asked, keeping her voice neutral.
“About…” Nash scowled again.
He looked at Delphie and tried to determine what she wanted him to say so that he could be off the hook.
“What doesn’t you father know?” Delphie asked. She put her hand on her heart. “I would be happy to inform him, I’m just not sure what he doesn’t know.”
She gave him a kind smile.
“What is it that your father has no idea about?” Delphie asked.
“I… uh… hmm,” Nash scowled. He leaned toward Delphie as if someone could hear him. “I’m not normal.”
“How so?” Delphie asked.
“I…” Nash sighed. “I don’t have anyone who really gets me. You know?”
“Hmm,” Delphie said.
“I have this weird relationship with Nadia — who, don’t get me wrong, is amazing. But…” Nash sigh. “I can’t even drink, let alone… And she’s in New York. She’s really rich — rich like rich people want to be her kind of rich. And I…”
Nash lifted a shoulder in a shrug.
“I’m a weirdo,” Nash said. “Unique.”
“Sounds lonely,” Delphie said.
“Teddy is my best friend,” Nash said. “No question, but he’s so… sure of himself. He loves Noelle. Noelle loves him. I’m his friend. That’s it. He doesn’t need anything else.”
“And you do?” Delphie asked.
“I want to belong,” Nash sighed. “Somewhere. Anywhere.”
“Yes, I know what that feels like,” Delphie said softly. “Is there a place where you feel like you belong?”
Nash raised the burned out phone.
“I play games with people all over the world.” Nash’s voice rose in tempo and delight. A smile broke across his face. “Nadia can call me anytime. I have friends — people who are like me, really get me. They like what I have to say and what I do. I’m enough for them. I don’t have to be smarter or richer or older or… Just me is okay, no better than okay. Being me is good.”
Nash nodded his head.
“I feel good when I’m on it. Really good. Normal, even cool,” Nash said. He’s voiced turned hard and he added, “I’m not just the freak who goes to the freak school with all of the other freaks.”
He held up his phone.
“I’m friends with artists and athletes all over the world,” Nash said. “I’m friends with other people who do martial arts and we talk about martial arts. They really like me, cheer me on.”
He shook his hand with the phone in it.
“This is the best friend I’ve ever had,” Nash said. “It’s always there for me — day and night. If someone’s mean to me, I just block them. Trolls. I tell my friends and no one says ‘What did you do?’ They understand that the other person was a troll. There are lots of people who are just like me. They don’t live in stupid Denver and aren’t stupid fifteen years old.”
Delphie didn’t say anything.
“Dad just doesn’t get it,” Nash said.
“Oh, I think your father gets it more than you think,” Delphie said.
Nash turned to look at Delphie. He didn’t say anything for a moment and then asked.
“What do you mean?”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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