Back to: Vin
It had started with his mother in Boston. Twice a year, she took him. They played games in there. Mom would take him into a room and they would look around. "Which one do you like best?" she would ask.
He would study them all carefully, wanting to choose just the right one. And no matter what he picked, it always seemed to be right. "This one," he would say proudly.
"That's my favorite, too," she would exclaim, as if shocked that he would be so astute.
But as the years had gone by, he no longer wanted to go with her, was embarrassed by their games. It wasn't until she was almost too sick to go that he went with her again. That had been her last trip. Looking back, JD was ashamed of his treatment of his mother during his adolescent years, but grateful that he had that one last visit with her. A week later, she had gone back into the hospital and had not come out. Not alive, anyway.
When he missed her too much, when the pressures of his new life and new job got to be too intense, he found himself heading down to Bannock and 13th to the five-floor building on the corner. He'd loiter across the street, watching the pedestrians and the traffic until he was sure that no one he knew was anywhere in the area. Then he'd dart across the street, pay his money, and head inside.
Buck was all right. Buck was going to be fine. A simple through and through to the right shoulder. A little time, a little physical therapy, and he'd be good as new. Knowing Buck, he already had women lining up to provide nursing duties. Chris had run him out of Buck's room.
"Go home, JD. Get some sleep. Get a shower while you're at it." The team leader had smiled when he said it to take the sting out of his words.
Buck had agreed. "Go on home, kid," he added. "The ol' Buckaroo's gonna be just fine." He winked and smiled at the young man he had taken under his wing. "Don't worry 'bout me none, I got these nurses just dying to give me some TLC."
JD had grinned and joked back with them, then left the hospital. But, instead of heading home, he found himself hurrying down Broadway toward 13th, circling the building at least once. This time, he didn't hesitate outside. He needed the peace and serenity he only found inside.
There were a lot of people there today, drawn by the special exhibit. But finally, JD found himself in a temporary island of tranquility. He sat on the marble bench, staring straight ahead.
"Ah, Van Gogh's 'Cypresses'. I always liked that one myself." The voice startled him. JD looked around guiltily.
Ezra stood slightly behind him, off to one side. He was looking at the painting, not at JD.
"Yeah," JD had to clear his throat. "I used to go to the museum in Boston all the time, with my mom. She really liked art."
"She must have been an extraordinary woman," Ezra said, moving to sit by the youngest member of their team. He carefully pulled up the pants of his designer suit as he sat so as to not spoil the crease. "It's hard to get young people today to appreciate the finer points of life."
"We used to play this game," JD said, nervously. He had no idea why he was telling their undercover agent this. "We'd go into one of the rooms, and I would tell her which one was my favorite, whether it was a painting, sculpture, whatever."
The young man ducked his head, chuckling. "No matter which one I picked, she always picked the same one." His smile faded. "The last time we went to the museum together, she was so sick I had to take her in a wheelchair. There was a Van Gogh exhibit there at the time. I picked this painting as my favorite."
The two men sat quietly for a time, and then JD sighed. "Well, I guess I'd better get home. Chris told me I need a shower," he grinned. "Then I guess I'll head back up to the hospital, take Buck something decent to eat."
He hesitated. "Ez," he began.
"Not to worry, Mr. Dunne," Ezra said. "I won't tell if you won't."
"Thanks," JD said softly. When he left, Ezra was still sitting on the bench, looking at the painting.
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