The slip of paper torn from his mother’s legal pad was crumpled in his fist, sharp folds jutting out from between his fingers. He loosened his grip and let the note spill onto his lap, the ink fused along his palms. The dull reflection of his name was scrolled across the edge of his thumb and he spit on the ink before raking the skin across his jeans. It finally faded and he ran the back of his hand across his forehead, catching the trickling beads of sweat before they froze there. But he didn’t care about the cold. He liked the way it burned him. Slicing across his bare skin, lingering there until the limbs were dull enough to cut off. That’s what he wanted to be, cut off from everything. From his mother, from Pascual. And it turned out his mother wanted the same thing.
He’d been carrying the letter with him for two weeks, usually in his pocket, or tucked into one of the folds in his wallet. Not because it was the only piece of her he had left, she’d left the rosary too, the one she always used to keep strung around her wrist. But because he was never going to let himself forget her reasons for leaving or that he was one of them.