I wondered how Tony had felt the last time we were all home. It couldn’t have been easy for him to have us all invade his life for a few weeks and then leave again. We treated him like a vacation house we didn’t think of off-season except to brag about it and check on it now and then. But when we returned we occupied it fully and then we left again, boarding it up for the winter, so to speak. I feel sad thinking that but I didn’t think that at that time. At that time, I was thinking there were so many places I would have rather been. Baja for one.
Then Jason came outside.
And Chris went inside.
And we were alone.
“Can I bum a smoke?”
I gave him one. Siberia.
He lit it. “We should talk.” He handed my lighter back to me.
Jason is bigger than me and the coat he wore was leather and didn’t hide his size a bit. He was tough, too, and had a cut over his eye. I asked him about it, trying to be casual.
“Practice. It doesn’t hurt.”
“You practice getting cut?” It was a dumb thing to say and I wanted to take it back. But he didn’t respond to it and I knew that he knew that I was high.
“Brian, about Kacie.”
“She doesn’t deserve this.”
“She wasn’t trying to hurt you. Now it’s all kinds of weird and New Year’s was and now again.” He took a drag. I took a drag. He exhaled. I blew a cloud of smoke out that chased his over the deck rail and then the cold air was all there was until he spoke again. “After Tony. I don’t know. Chris told me to just. Fuck. I’m dyin’ here, dude, help me out.” He looked at me then, straight in the eye.
“What does she deserve?” I asked.
“You must have some idea,” I said, “of what she deserves.”
“Brian, I only mean that she’s hurting.” He tossed the cigarette away, over the deck. I thought about him bumming one and then barely smoking it. Wasting it.
“Kacie and I are over. We were before you happened.” I finished my cigarette and tossed it after his. It wasn’t so cold now and I figured I was just numb.
Jason shoved his hands in the pockets of his coat. “You’ll forgive her?”
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