CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-SIX
They walked along in silence. After a while, Nash gave a little cough.
“Yes,” John said with a smile. “I’m sorry. I was trying to decide where to start. How old are you now?”
“Fifteen,” Nash said.
“When will you be sixteen?” John asked.
“Six months,” Nash said
“Ah, that is helpful,” John said.
“O-kay,” Nash said.
“Things we have in common,” John said. “That’s what I was thinking. When I was your age, I was living with my sister and her husband in London. Even though you live with your father, you live with a step-mother, who is as much older than you as my sister is to me.”
“What happened to your mom and dad?” Nash asked.
John winced and raised an eyebrow in Nash’s direction.
“I can handle it!” Nash said.
“My father died when I was ten. He had a heart attack after a bomb he’d set went off before he was ready,” John said. “My mother … My father had just gotten out of prison when he killed my mother.”
“What?” Nash asked.
“She had me when he was gone,” John said. “He was sure that he wasn’t his child. He would have killed me if it weren’t for my brother, Ciaran.”
“Ciaran?” Nash asked. “Mr. Jackie’s friend?”
“That’s right, you know our Jackie,” John said with a smile. “Ciaran and Jackie were in prison when my father died.”
John gave Nash a soft smile.
“It’s a fairly ugly story,” John said.
“So’s mine,” Nash said. “My parents are alive, but…”
“Yes,” John said. “You and your sister have had a tough time with your mom’s addiction.”
“And my dad’s addiction,” Nash grumbled. “But my mom’s still alive. Unfortunately.”
When John didn’t respond, Nash snuck a glance at him. He gave Nash a kind smile
“I know what you mean,” John said.
Nash felt a rush of relief at not being judged for his angry feelings about his mother and his fear that he was just like her.
“I was a year and a half older than you when I left Scotland and went to college at UCLA,” John said.
“Scotland?” Nash asked. “I thought you lived in London.”
“That was another big mess,” John said. “If we get to the end of this, and you want to hear it the story, I will be happy to tell you. But, I think the part that will be interesting to you happened when I’m at UCLA.”
“Did you meet Max there?” Nash asked. “He went there.”
“How did you know?” John asked.
“We’ve been talking about colleges,” Nash said. “Max told us about going to UCLA. He said that you guys lived in the dorm for a year and then got your own apartment.”
“That’s right,” John said. “We moved to this lovely duplex when Alex and I married.”
“What I thought I’d tell you about started on the plane between England and Los Angeles,” John said.
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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