CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-SIX
“But when she was shot …” John sighed. “I don’t know. I guess I just got over it. She lost her team. I lost these men who were … You never met them but they were truly the best human beings I had ever met. Funny. Friendly. So smart. They were such a great support to me in my schooling and in my life. Me. The husband. They were family. My family. And then they were gone. Alex was so broken that …”
John shook his head.
“That’s the problem with a plan,” John said, so softly that Nash had to strain to listen. “It makes you lose focus on what’s real and all that’s real is very transient.”
He fell silent and they walked so more.
“I was so focused on getting somewhere, that I didn’t really value where I was,” John said. “I didn’t realize that I had been there the entire time until I almost lost everything. I couldn’t have survived Alex dying. I couldn’t survive it now and we have children! I have the career the plan built! Money! Friends! Status! Everything the plan got me!”
“It wouldn’t matter one lick if Alex wasn’t there,” John said.
They walked in silence for a while. The day was getting cold and daylight was beginning to wain.
“Fin says that I have to become a better person,” Nash said. “Because she’s a better person than I am.”
“Fin?” John asked with a snort. “The Prince?”
Nash smiled at John’s derision.
“Last I checked, you were no prince,” John said.
“He was talking about becoming good enough to be with Abi,” Nash said.
“In your opinion — is he good enough to be with Abi?” John asked.
Nash burst out laughing. John nodded.
“They pick us,” John said. “That’s how it is. We’ll never be as good as them. I will never, ever be as amazing as Alex is. She loves me anyway.”
“That doesn’t mean that I stop trying to be fit, smart, educated, and the best person I can be,” John said. “I do that for her and for myself.”
“Bernie tells me that you’re trying to learn a bunch of languages,” John said.
“How do you …?” Nash asked.
“He lived on campus at the University while I went to school there, residency, fellowship,” John said. “He used to clean the floors in building 500. I was there late one day; Alex was who knows where in the world and he started talking to me. We’re sort of friends, if you can be friends with someone as unique and brilliant as that.”
“Small world,” Nash said.
“You have no idea,” John said. “So languages?”
“Nadia speaks at least five languages,” Nash said. “She easily jumps back and forth between English and Spanish. She speaks Arabic and Ukrainian and I don’t know what else.”
“Hmm,” John said.
“I should be able to speak with her!” Nash said. “At the barest minimum.”
“You have to do one thing at a time, Nash,” John said. “Learn one language. Then another. I was twenty when I met Alex. If I’d learned one language every five years, I’d be close to what you’re talking about. You have time!”
“I don’t have time to be good enough for her!” Nash said. “And now I’m addicted! Game over! I may as well just kill myself!”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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