You know, sometimes what I remember most clearly was just being plain worried over him. We had left him to get some rest, for pity’s sake – I knew for a fact he’d been up half the night praying. He’d walked till he looked fit to drop, and I’d hustled us off to the village to see what we could find in the way of clean food to make a piece, hoping he’d get a doze. Trust me, I had to be desperate to try the village. Come back, and there he is, looking grey and drawn, and talking again. My heart went out to him. It’s a weakness of mine – coming over all paternal, and me with no chick or child of my own to work it off on. I used to fuss over him – father him, and the others too. I was always more father than anything.
So I gives John a bit of a shove, and he goes up to him, and at least gets him to sit down properly in what shade there was. John always had this tactful way with him, and I knew my bullying him to eat would do no good. John sympathised more – I just wanted to protect him, and he had a kind of way of knowing when I was fit to send the rest of the world to perdition to save him and it made him as close to grumpy as he got.
He knew of course, and he said, a mix of noble and defensive: ‘My real food is something else …’ and John nodded all sympathetic, and suddenly I knew with gloomy certainty there was nothing for it but to stay in this god forsaken hole, getting more and more unclean, until he was satisfied he had said and done all he needed to. It was one of those days when I could not find it in me to blame Judas for getting so exasperated. I’m wittering. I’ll get back to the point.