His father had kept his word. He had not attended any part of Cameron’s graduation. Afterward, every discussion between Cameron and his father had turned into an argument—not explosive ones, but the seething writhing kind that slowly blistered the relationship. Such had been the argument about Wyoming. Though Uncle Nathan’s offer had likely been well intended, it gave Cameron’s father a veiled excuse to send Cameron to the farthest end of the world—a dubious blessing.
Cameron quickened his pace as he crossed in front of Carroll Hall, but a sudden vision slowed his feet to a stop. No one stood before him, yet every muscle slumped as for an instant he recalled Grandpa’s smile, but the apparition flickered and vanished. The rain battering his skin stung, but the memory singed his soul. Grandpa was gone.
Cameron stared into the empty air a moment longer, then forced one foot forward and then the other, pulling him toward the chemistry building. Grandpa had guided him, even gently chastised him, but in everything, Grandpa had loved him. He had talked about the things Cameron would face, about love and faith, but mostly about the future—Cameron’s future without Grandpa: an unimaginable future that had become the present.
He lengthened his stride as the rain beat harder against his head. Soon it ran down his back and soaked through his shirt, plastering it against his skin. He tried to think of something, anything else. To his horror, Lydia and New Year’s Eve came to mind. He remembered her gaze, cold and distant, as she closed the door. Though as beautiful as Rita, Lydia was like Esther—and Grandpa. She had seen right through him.