--donation bonus (day #26, post 1/5)--
Garovel placed himself between Hector and his mother. ‘You don’t have to say goodbye to her, you know.’
Maybe the reaper was right. Hector certainly didn’t expect any warm words from the woman. If anything, he expected her to tell him that she was glad he was leaving, that she hoped she’d never see him again. But he felt ready for it this time, like he needed to hear it now in order to understand his mother’s feelings fully. She already knew he could die out there. She’d heard them discussing their plans earlier. Hector wanted to know what she would say to him now, when she understood that this could be the last chance she had to say anything to him at all.
So he ignored Garovel’s advice.
His mother just watched him approach from inside the open cabin over her car.
He supposed he would have to be the one to initiate the conversation. “Mom, I’m, ah... I’m...”
“You’re going,” she said.
“Risking your life for the good of the nation. I guess I should be proud.”
And again, Hector found himself not knowing what to say.
“What do you want from me then?” she asked. “You want me to wish you good luck?”
“I don’t want anything... I just wanted to say goodbye.”
“Well, you’ve said it.”
And that was all. That was the extent of what she had for him. He was almost disappointed. But he didn’t move away from her yet. He still had a question for her, something he didn’t think he would’ve been able to ask if he didn’t feel like it might be his last opportunity to.
“You... you don’t love me, do you?”
She stared at him a moment, blinking vacantly. “No. I don’t.”
He nodded. She’d basically said as much during their last conversation, but even so, after all this time, he was a bit grateful that she just came right out and said it. No more dancing around the issue. Finally, a definitive answer. “Was there ever a time when you did?”
That made her pause again, longer this time as she thought about it. “Not really, no.”