“He’s was such a dear lad. So funny and clever and wise. But he was, well, sensitive. No, let me be truthful. He was a little effeminate. But such a joy to be with, so bright and lovely. And then he started to lose his sparkle. At first, you know, I didn’t worry. Teenagers can be so moody. It’s such a difficult and awkward time. But it got worse. I guessed he was being bullied at school. I asked him about it but I … I didn’t think I should intervene. I thought he should be toughened up. Which is another way of saying, “made more manly”. May God forgive me!” She stopped and stared out over the peaceful vineyards. Very quietly, she said, “ One day he hanged himself.”
“My dear!” said Lucasta softly and put her hand on the other woman’s.
Jason watched the two old ladies in silence, wanting, as he had the first time he’d heard the story, to weep, to howl at the universe, to strike and thump the haters.
The waiter arrived with more champagne, and topped up their glasses.
There was a long silence. At last, Jason said, “Well you both know about me and Brent.” “My own selfish stupidity!”
Jason didn’t expect either woman to disagree with him. His grandmother wasn’t the kind of woman not to face facts, and nor was Eleanor. For all their kindness and compassion there was a bleak resolution at the heart of their characters, the kind of character strength that comes from loss faced with courage.
His grandmother said, “We all make mistakes, Jason my dear, mistakes which we wish with all our hearts we could undo.”
He smiled at her. “I don’t believe you ever made a mistake in your life, grandam!”
She just smiled at him.
“Come!” she said. “Let us toast something and be happy. To friends and family!”
They raised their glasses and echoed her toast. The champagne was pale gold in the flutes, and caught the afternoon sun which slanted through the French doors nearby.
“You are both, to me,” said Jason, looking in turn at the two women. Very moved, they both raised their glasses to him, but didn’t speak.
Episodes 1 to 260 (without pictures, 10 episodes per chapter