CHAPTER FIVE HUNDRED and SIXTY-THREE
Noelle had been so flushed by the attention that she’d lost track of her worry for Nash.
Now, a full forty minutes after they’d gone to sleep, her worry returned.
Rather than whisper his name again, Noelle got up from her couch. As she had when they were small, she lay on her side behind her brother. They were tall teenagers but still very slim. The two of them fit easily on the big couch. Nash didn’t move when she cuddled next to him.
She heard him try to silence his sorrow and control his sobs. She put her arm around him and hugged him. Her actions seemed to unlock his pain and he sobbed. She just stayed there with him.
They had always been like two lost souls in the rain.
For most of their life, they were shuttled back and forth between their father’s stable home and the chaos that was their mother. Some days were a slog from beginning to end. Together, they marched through the heavy winds of their parents’ addictions and the insanity “shared custody.”
They were a team then.
They are a team now.
After a while, Nash was breathing deeply. Noelle thought he might be asleep when he sat up. She sat up. They instinctively moved until their hips and legs were pressed against each other. When he took her hand, she grabbed on with both of hers. He turned to look at her and gave her a sorrow-filled smile.
“I don’t know why I’m so sad,” Nash whispered to what he assumed was her question.
“I do,” Noelle said.
He looked at her.
“You thought maybe you’d get a normal life,” Noelle said in a soft tone. “Away from all this addiction crap. You could be with Nadia. You could be safe and happy and have love and …”
He teared up to her words. She gave him a kind smile, and he nodded.
“Have you talked to Nadia?” Noelle whispered.
“And say what?” Nash asked in a soft voice. “I’m a loser addict who nearly killed his mom? She’ll …”
Nash started to cry again. Noelle put her arm around him.
“You won’t know what she says until you talk to her,” Noelle whispered.
Nash shook his head. Tears continued to roll down his eyes. Noelle held her brother for a long, long time. At some point during the night, he looked at her with heavy, sleepy eyes. He nodded his head at her couch. She nodded.
“It’s going to be okay, Nash,” Noelle said.
“It’s going to be,” Nash said, an errant tear ran down his face.
She gave him a soft smile and went to her love seat. It took her a long time to go to sleep. She wondered if Eulabee Dix had ever hurt so badly because her brother was in pain. As she drifted off to sleep she remembered learning about “storge” — familial love — from the Goddesses Hedone and Aphrodite.
Denver Cereal continues on Monday…
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