“I don’t like him!” Cody said bitterly to Luigi later.
“Jason? Why?” Luigi was astonished.
“He has everything. He’s rich and handsome and even has a fucking title.”
“Things will get better, love. It’s still early days. And you have me!” addressing what he rightly suspected was the true cause of Cody’s anger. He waved his arms around then bowed. “Luigi diPietro at your service”
Cody wanted to laugh but grumped instead, “Huh. It’s all very well, but …”
Luigi looked at him, his eyes dark and solemn. “He lost the guy he loved most in the world, through his own selfishness and arrogance. How do you think that feels?”
“I was nearly killed. How do you think that feels?”
“I . . . . I can’t imagine, truly. I never will really understand it. But … Cody …. Your life has started again. You have to think of it like that. Through luck or the Virgin Mary . . . . my nonna thinks God has no time for us, because he’s too busy running the universe, but Mary has time for all of us. And frankly, I don’t like God much, making me what I am. He can get fucked.”
“Lou!” Cody was shocked.
“Yeah, well, he can. I had an utterly miserable childhood and teens. Fucking horrible. Day after day. Being beaten up. And in the end, being beaten by my dad, so badly it took me days to recover. And you know fucking what?” He was shouting by now.
Cody shook his head, mute, startled at Luigi’s vehemence.
“I went through fucking hell. I was incredibly depressed and to tell the truth … suicidal.” He went on in a quieter tone, “My nonna was very worried about me. And then one day, I decided to—someone talked to me—I decided to live again, that the rest of my life was ahead of me and I could either waste it or I could make an effort to live again, to be—well, happy may be too strong … well, the wrong word. Content. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life.’”
“That is so seventies!” gulped Cody, his eyes brimming.
“I’ve always wanted to wear bell-bottoms and platform shoes,” said Luigi, enfolding him in his arms. “But seriously, love, Jason is a lovely bloke. And you saw how embarrassed he is with his title. You saw it. He was afraid we wouldn’t be his friends any longer.”