I couldn't even guess at what Dash felt for me now. After Ascent any trust he had begun to feel had surely been comprehensively quelled; his disgust for those charged with looking after him had surely peaked. This poor child, being brought in a police wagon to a mother he does not trust. Going home now to a dysfunctional, pathetic father. How could I explain to him that Ascent had been the start of a new life for him? He wouldn't have believed me. How long could I continue saying, “You have to trust me,” and then keep failing him by the help I promised not coming, or by his father coming instead and leading him back to nowhere? I got so angry then, sitting on my doorstep, Dash's back to me. Peter had brought him back - but for what? More court appearances, more sleepless nights, more directionless days, dope, isolation, fights, when he could have been protected and started on the journey to being well. If Peter could have just left him alone for six weeks - that's all Dash needed to get started.
And Dash shouldn't have been delivered here. The bond I had tried so hard to mend and rebuild over the past two years was wrecked utterly, and I couldn't do anything to take away his pain. Seattle had been the end. If he had got through Ascent, maybe. But there was a gulf between us now, so wide. I didn't have the courage to make any big move. I couldn't bear being spurned or attacked. Not today. Perhaps not any day now. Maybe I was changed, too. I could have reached out for him as I always had done, but I couldn't even bear his flinch, let alone a “fuck off.” I couldn't take his rejection.
And so for now I thought of myself instead of him. I protected myself, as Dash was protecting himself. I didn't reach out. I didn't tell him I loved him and would always be there for him. I didn't say a word. The damage now seemed insurmountable, and my powerlessness complete.