Home – Harlan Coben

The boy who has been missing for ten years steps into the light. I am not one for hysterics or even feeling much of what might be labeled astonishment. I have seen much in my forty-plus years. I have nearly been killed—and I have killed. I have seen depravity that most would find difficult, if not downright inconceivable, to comprehend—and some would argue that I have administered the same. I have learned over the years to control my emotions and, more important, my reactions during stressful, volatile situations. I may strike quickly and violently, but I do nothing without a certain level of deliberation and purpose. These qualities, if you will, have saved me and those who matter to me time and time again. Yet I confess that when I first see the boy—well, he is a teenager now, isn’t he?—I can feel my pulse race. A thrumming sound echoes in my ears. Without conscious thought, my hands form two fists. Ten years—and now fifty yards, no more, separate me from the missing boy. Patrick Moore—that is the boy’s name—leans against the graffiti-littered concrete support of the underpass. His shoulders are hunched. His eyes dart about before settling on the cracked pavement in front of him.

His hair is closely cropped, what we used to call a crew cut. Two other teenage boys also mill about the underpass. One smokes a cigarette with so much gusto I fear the cigarette has offended him. The other wears a studded dog collar and mesh shirt, proclaiming his current profession in the most obvious of uniforms. Above, the cars roar past, oblivious to what is below them. We are in King’s Cross, most of which has been “rejuvenated” over the past two decades with museums and libraries and the Eurostar and even a plaque for Platform 9¾, where Harry Potter boarded the train for Hogwarts. Much of the so-called undesirable element have fled these dangerous in-person transactions for the relative safety of online commerce—much less need for the risky drive-by sex trade, yet another positive by-product of the Internet—but if you go to the other side of the literal and figurative tracks, away from those shiny new towers, there are still places where the sleaze element survives in a concentrated form. That is where I found the missing boy. Part of me—the rash part I keep at bay—wants to sprint across the street and grab the boy. He would now be, if this is indeed Patrick and not a look-alike or mistake on my part, sixteen years old.

From this distance, that looks about right to me. Ten years ago—you can do the math and calculate how young he’d been—in the über-affluent community of Alpine, Patrick had been on what they insist on calling a “playdate” with my cousin’s son Rhys. That, of course, is my dilemma. If I grab Patrick now, just run across the street and snatch him, what will become of Rhys? I have one of the missing boys in sight, but I have come to rescue both. So that means taking care. No sudden moves. I must be patient. Whatever happened ten years ago, whatever cruel twist of mankind (I don’t believe so much in fate being cruel when the culprit is usually our fellow human beings) took this boy from the opulence of his stone mansion to this filthy toilet of an underpass, I worry now that if I make the wrong move, one or both boys might disappear again, this time forever. I will have to wait for Rhys. I will wait for Rhys and then I will grab both boys and bring them home.

Two questions have probably crossed your mind. The first: How can I be so confident that once the boys are in sight, I will be able to grab them both? Suppose, you may wonder, the boys have been brainwashed and resist. Suppose their kidnappers or whoever holds the keys to their freedom are many and violent and determined. To that I reply: Don’t worry about it. The second question, which is far more pressing in my mind: What if Rhys does not show up? I am not much of a “crossing that bridge when we get there” sort of fellow, so I hatch a backup plan, which involves staking out this area and then following Patrick at a discreet distance. I am planning exactly how that might work when something goes wrong. The trade is picking up. Life is about categorization. This street urinal is no different. One underpass caters to heterosexual men seeking female companionship.

This underpass is the busiest. Old-fashioned values, I suppose. You can talk all you want about genders and preferences and kinks, but the majority of the sexually frustrated are still heterosexual men not getting enough. Old-school. Girls with dead eyes take their spots against the concrete barriers, cars drive by, girls drive off, other girls take their places. It is almost like watching a soda-dispenser machine at a petrol station. In the second underpass, there is a small contingency of transgender or cross-dressing women of various alterations and stages, and then, at the tail end, where Patrick is now standing, is the young gay trade. I watch as a man in a melon-hued shirt struts toward Patrick. What, I had wondered when Patrick first appeared, would I do if a client chose to engage Patrick’s services? At first blush, it would seem that it would be best that I intercede immediately. That would appear to be the most humane act on my part, but again, I can not lose sight of my goal: bringing both boys home.

The truth is, Patrick and Rhys have been gone for a decade. They have been through God knows what, and while I don’t relish the idea of allowing either to suffer through even one more abuse, I had already added up the pros and cons and made my decision. There is no use in lingering on that point anymore. But Melon Shirt is not a client. I know that immediately. Clients do not strut with such confidence. They don’t keep their heads up high. They do not smirk. They do not wear bright melon shirts. Clients who are desperate enough to come here to satisfy their urges feel shame or fear discovery or, most likely, both.

Melon Shirt, on the other hand, has the walk and bearing and crackle of someone who is comfortable and dangerous. You can, if you are attuned to it, sense such things. You can feel it in your lizard brain, a primitive, inner warning trill that you cannot quite explain. Modern man, more afraid of embarrassment sometimes than safety, often ignores it at his own peril. Melon Shirt glances behind him. Two other men are on the scene now, working Melon’s flanks. They are both very large, decked out in camouflage fatigues, and wear what we used to call wifebeaters over shiny pectorals. The other boys working the underpass—the smoker and the one with the stud collar—run off at the sight of Melon Shirt, leaving Patrick alone with the three newcomers. Oh, this is not good. Patrick still has his eyes down, his quasi-shaved head gleaming.

He is not aware of the approaching men until Melon Shirt is nearly on top of him. I move closer. In all likelihood, Patrick has been on the streets for some time. I think about that for a moment, about what his life must have been like, snatched from the comforting bubble of American suburbia and dumped into . well, who knows what? But in all that time, Patrick might have developed certain skills. He might be able to talk his way out of this situation. The situation might not be as dire as it appears. I need to wait and see. Melon Shirt gets right up in Patrick’s face. He says something to him.

I can’t hear what. Then, without additional preamble, he rears back his fist and slams it like a sledgehammer into Patrick’s solar plexus. Patrick collapses to the ground, gasping for air. The two camouflaged bodybuilders start to close in. I move fast now. “Gentlemen,” I call out. Melon Shirt and both Camouflages spin at the sound of my voice. At first, their expressions are those of Neanderthal men hearing a strange noise for the first time. Then they take me in, narrowing their eyes. I can see the smiles come to their lips.

I am not a physically imposing figure. I am aboveaverage height and on the slight side, you’d say, with blond-heading-toward-gray hair, a skin tone that runs from porcelain in the warmth to ruddy in the cold, and features that some might consider delicate in, I hope, a handsome way. Today I’m wearing a light-blue Savile Row hand-tailored suit, Lilly Pulitzer tie, Hermès pocket square in the breast pocket, and Bedfordshire bespoke shoes custom made by G.J. Cleverley’s lead craftsman on Old Bond Street. I am quite the dandy, aren’t I? As I saunter toward the three thugs, wishing I had an umbrella to twirl for maximum effect, I can feel their confidence growing. I like that. Normally I carry a handgun, often two, but in England, the laws are very strict about such things. I’m not worried. The beauty of the strict British laws means that it is highly unlikely that my three adversaries are carrying either.

My eyes do a quick three-body scan for locations where one might conceal a gun. My thugs favor extraordinarily tight attire, more suitable for preening than weapon concealment. They might be carrying knives—they probably are—but there are no guns. Knives do not worry me much. Patrick—if it is indeed Patrick—is still on the ground gasping for air as I make my arrival. I stop, spread my arms, and offer them my most winning smile. The three thugs stare at me as though I am a museum piece that they can’t comprehend. Melon Shirt takes one step toward me. “Who the fuck are you?” I am still smiling. “You should leave now.

” Melon Shirt looks at Camouflage One on my right. Then he looks at Camouflage Two to my left. I look in both directions too and then back at Melon Shirt. When I wink at him, his eyebrows jump high. “We should cut him up,” Camouflage One says. “Cut him into little pieces.” I feign being startled and turn toward him. “Oh my, I didn’t see you there.” “What?” “In those camouflage pants. You really blend in.

By the way, they are very fetching on you.” “Are you some kind of wiseguy?” “I’m many kinds of wiseguy.” All the smiles, including mine, grow. They start toward me. I can try to talk my way out of this, perhaps offer them money to leave us be, but I don’t think that will work, for three reasons. One, these thugs will want all my money and my watch and whatever else they can find upon my person. Money offers will not help. Two, they all have the scent of blood—easy, weak blood—and they like that scent. And three, most important, I like the scent of blood too. It has been too long.

I try not to smile as they start to make their approach. Melon Shirt takes out a large bowie knife. That pleases me. I don’t have many moral qualms about hurting those whom I recognize as evil. But it is nice to know that for those who require such self-rationalizations to find me “likable,” I could claim that the thugs were the first to draw a weapon and thus I was acting strictly in self-defense. Still, I give them one last out. I look Melon Shirt straight in the eye and say, “You should leave now.” Both overmuscled Camouflages laugh at that, but Melon Shirt’s smile starts to fade. He knows. I can see it.

He looked in my eyes and he knows. The rest happens in seconds. Camouflage One comes right up to me, getting in my personal space. He is a large man. I am faceto-face with his waxed and toned pectorals. He smiles down at me as though I am a tasty treat he might devour in one bite. There is no reason to delay the inevitable. I slash his throat with the razor I’d kept hidden in my hand. Blood sprays at me in a near perfect arc. Damn.

This will require another visit to Savile Row. “Terence!” It’s Camouflage Two. There is a resemblance, and, now sliding toward him, I wonder whether they are brothers. The thug’s grief stuns him enough to make disposing of him very easy, though I don’t think it would have helped much had he been better prepared. I am good with a straight razor. Camouflage Two perishes in the same manner as dear Terence, his possible brother. That leaves Melon Shirt, their beloved leader, who has probably attained that rank by being somewhat more brutish and cunning than his fallen comrades. Wisely, Melon Shirt has already started to make his move while I was dispensing with Camouflage Two. Using my peripheral vision, I can see the glint of his bowie blade heading toward me from above. That is a mistake on his part.

You don’t strike a foe from above like that. It’s too easy to defend. Your adversary can buy time by ducking or raising a forearm for the purpose of deflection. If you shoot someone with a gun, you are trained to aim for the middle mass so that if your aim is slightly askew, you can still hit something. You prepare for the likelihood of error. With a knife, the same is true. Make the distance of your stab as short as possible. Aim for the middle so that if your adversary moves, you can still wound him. Melon Shirt didn’t do that. I duck and use my right forearm to, as noted above, deflect the blow.

Then, with my knees bent, I spin and use the razor across his abdomen. I don’t wait to see his reaction. I move up and finish him in the same manner as I had the other two. As I said, it is over in seconds. The cracked pavement is a crimson mess and getting messier. I give myself a second, no more, to relish the high. You would too, if you didn’t pretend otherwise. I turn toward Patrick. But he is gone. I look left, then right.

There he is, nearly out of sight. I hurry after him, but I can see very quickly it will be useless. He is heading toward King’s Cross station, one of London’s busiest. He will be in the station—be in the public eye—before I can reach him. I am covered in blood. I might be good at what I do, but despite the fact that King’s Cross station is indeed where Harry Potter headed off for Hogwarts, I do not possess an invisibility cloak. I stop, look back, consider the situation, come to a conclusion. I have messed up. It’s time to make myself scarce. I am not worried about any CCTV recording what I have done.

There is a reason the undesirable element choose spots like this. It stands apart from all prying eyes, even the digital and electronic ones. Still. I’ve blown it. After all these years, after all the fruitless searches, one lead has finally come my way, and if I lose that lead . I need help. I hurry away and press the 1 on my speed dial. I haven’t pressed the 1 for nearly a year. He answers on the third ring. “Hello?” Hearing his voice again, even though I had steeled for it, sends me reeling for a moment.

The number is blocked, so he has no idea who has called him. I say, “Don’t you mean ‘articulate’?” There is a gasp. “Win? My God, where have you been—?” “I saw him,” I say. “Who?” “Think.” The briefest of pauses. “Wait, both of them?” “Just Patrick.” “Wow.” I frown. Wow? “Myron?” “Yes?” “Catch the next plane to London. I need your help.

” T Chapter 2 wo minutes before Win called, Myron Bolitar lay sprawled naked in bed with a kneeknockingly gorgeous woman at his side. They both stared up at the fancy wainscoting on the ceiling, gulping in breaths, lost in the aftermath of the bliss that comes only from, uh, bliss. “Yowza,” Terese said. “I know, right?” “That was . ” “I know, right?” Myron had a way with postcoital banter. Terese swung her legs out of bed, rose, and moved toward the window. Myron watched. He liked the way she moved naked, panther-like, all coiled and toned and confident. The apartment was perched above Central Park on the West Side. Terese looked out the window toward the lake and Bow Bridge.

If you’ve ever seen a New York City movie where a couple in love runs across a footbridge, you’ve seen Bow Bridge. “God, what a view,” Terese said. “I was just thinking the same thing.” “Are you ogling my ass?” “I prefer to think of it as watching. Guarding.” “In a protective manner, then?” “It would be unprofessional of me to look away.” “Well, we wouldn’t want you to appear unprofessional.” “Thank you.” Then, with her back still toward him, his fiancée said, “Myron?” “Yes, my love.” “I’m happy.

” “Me too.” “That’s scary.” “Terrifying,” Myron agreed. “Come back to bed.” “Really?” “Yep.” “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” “Oh, I can keep them,” Myron said. Then: “Is there a place around here that delivers oysters and vitamin E?” She turned, gave him her best smile, and ka-boom, his heart exploded into a million pieces. Terese Collins was back. After all the years of separations and anguish and instability, they were finally going to get married.

It felt incredible. It felt wonderful. It felt fragile. And that was when the phone rang. They both stopped as though they sensed it. When things are going this well, you sort of hold your breath because you want it to last. You don’t want to stop or even slow down time as much as you just want to stay safe in your little bubble. That phone ring, to keep with this piss-poor metaphor, was a bubble burster. Myron checked the caller ID but the number was blocked. They were in the Dakota building in Manhattan.

When Win had disappeared a year ago, he had put the place in Myron’s name. For most of that year, Myron had chosen to stay in his childhood home in nearby Livingston, New Jersey, trying his best to raise his teenage nephew, Mickey. But now his brother, Mickey’s father, was back, and so Myron had given them the house and come back to the city. The phone rang a second time. Terese turned to the side, as though the sound had slapped her across the cheek. He could see the scar from the bullet wound on her neck. The old feeling, the need to protect, started to rise in him. For a moment, Myron debated letting it go to voicemail, but then Terese closed her eyes and nodded, just once. Not answering, they both knew, would only delay the inevitable. Myron picked up on the third ring.

“Hello?” There was an odd hesitation and some static and then the voice he hadn’t heard in so long came through: “Don’t you mean ‘articulate’?” Myron had tried to brace himself, but he still gasped. “Win? My God, where have you been—?” “I saw him.” “Who?” “Think.” Myron had wondered, but he hadn’t dared voice it. “Wait, both of them?” “Just Patrick.” “Wow.” “Myron?” “Yes?” “Catch the next plane to London. I need your help.” Myron looked at Terese. The shatter was back in her eyes.

That shatter had always been there, since they first ran off together years ago, but he hadn’t noticed it since her return. He reached out his hand toward her. She took it. “Life’s a little complicated right now,” Myron said. “Terese has returned,” Win said. Not a question. He knew. “Yes.” “And you’re finally getting married.” Again not a question.

“Yes.” “Did you buy her a ring?” “Yes.” “From Norman on Forty-Seventh Street?” “Of course.” “More than two carats?” “Win . ” “I’m happy for you both.” “Thank you.” “But you can’t get married,” Win said, “without your best man.” “I already asked my brother.” “He’ll step aside. The flight leaves from Teterboro.

The car is waiting.” Win hung up. Terese looked at him. “You have to go.” He wasn’t sure if it was a question or a statement. “Win doesn’t make casual requests,” Myron said. “No,” she agreed. “He doesn’t.” “It won’t take long. I’ll be back and we will get married.

I promise.” Terese sat on the bed. “Can you tell me what it’s about?” “How much could you hear?” “Just bits and pieces.” Then: “Is the ring more than two carats?” “It is.” “Good. So tell me.” “Do you remember the Alpine kidnappings ten years back?” Terese nodded. “Sure. We reported on it.” She had worked for years as an anchorwoman on one of those all-news channels.

“One of the kidnapped boys, Rhys Baldwin, is related to Win.” “You never told me that.” Myron shrugged. “I didn’t really have much to do with it. By the time we got involved, the case was pretty cold. Still, it’s always been on my back burner.” “But not Win’s.” “Nothing is ever on Win’s back burner.” “So he has a new lead?” “More than that. He says he saw Patrick Moore.

” “So why doesn’t he call the police?” “I don’t know.” “But you didn’t ask.” “I trust his judgment.” “And he needs your help.” “Yes.” Terese nodded. “Then you better get packed.” “You’re okay?” “He was right.” “About?” She rose. “We can’t get married without your best man.

” * * * Win had sent a black limo. It was waiting under the Dakota’s archway. The limo took him out to Teterboro Airport in northern New Jersey, which was about half an hour away. Win’s plane, a Boeing Business Jet, was waiting on the tarmac. There was no security, no check-in, no ticket. The limousine dropped him off by the steps. The flight attendant, a lovely young Asian woman, greeted Myron in an old-fashioned fitted uniform, complete with puffy blouse and pillbox hat. “Nice to see you, Mr. Bolitar.” “You too, Mee.

” In case you didn’t get the memo: Win was rich. Win’s real name was Windsor Horne Lockwood III, as in Lock-Horne Investments and Securities and the Lock-Horne Building on Park Avenue. His family was old money, the kind of money that got off the Mayflower with a pink polo shirt and desirable tee time. Myron ducked his six-four frame through the plane’s door. There were leather seats, wood trim, a couch, plush green carpeting, zebra-striped wallpaper—the plane had been owned by a rapper, and Win decided not to refurbish it because it made him feel “phat”—a wide-screen television, a sofa bed, and a queen-sized bed in the back bedroom. Myron was alone on the plane, which made him feel self-conscious, but he’d get over it. He took a seat and buckled up. The plane began moving toward the runway. Mee did her safety demonstration. She kept the pillbox hat on.

Win, Myron knew, liked that hat. Two minutes later, they were up in the air. Mee came over and said, “Is there anything I can get you?” “Have you seen him?” Myron asked. “Where has he been?” “I’m not allowed to answer that,” Mee replied. “Why not?” “Win told me to make you comfortable. We have your customary beverage on board.” She was carrying a Yoo-hoo chocolate drink. “Yeah, I’m off those,” Myron said. “Really?” “Yes.” “That’s sad.

How about a cognac?” “I’m good right now. What can you tell me, Mee?” Me, Mee. Myron wondered whether that was her real name. Win had liked the name. He would take her to the back of the plane and make intentionally cringe-worthy double-entendre puns like “I need a little Mee time” or “I enjoy having carnal knowledge alone with Mee” or “I like the pillbox hat. It suits Mee.” Win. “What can you tell me?” Myron asked again. Mee said, “The weather forecast in London calls for intermittent rain.” “Gee, that’s a shock.

I mean, what can you tell me about Win?” “Good question,” she said. “What can you tell Mee”—she pointed to herself—“about Win?” “Don’t start with that.” She gave him a smile. “There’s a live feed of the Knicks game, if you’d like to watch.” “I don’t watch basketball anymore.” Mee gave him a look of sympathy that almost made him want to turn away. “I saw your sports documentary on ESPN,” she said. “That’s not why,” Myron said. She nodded, not believing him. “If the game holds no interest for you,” Mee said, “there’s a video for you to watch.

” “What kind of video?” “Win instructed me to tell you to watch it.” “This isn’t, uh . ” Win liked to film his, uh, carnal trysts and play them back while meditating. Mee shook her head. “He keeps those for his own private viewing, Mr. Bolitar. You know that. It’s part of the waiver we sign.” “Waiver?” Myron held up a hand before she could reply. “Never mind, I don’t want to know.

” “Here’s the remote control.” Mee handed it to him. “Are you sure there isn’t anything I can get you at this time?” “I’m good, thanks.” Myron spun toward the mounted television and switched it on. He half expected Win to be on the screen with some Mission: Impossible–type message, but no, it was one of those true-crime shows you see on cable television. The subject was, of course, the kidnappings, a look back now that the boys had been missing ten years. Myron settled back and watched. It was a good refresher. In simple terms, here was the gist: Ten years ago, six-year-old Patrick Moore was on a playdate at the estate of his classmate Rhys Baldwin in the “tony”—they always used that word in the media—suburb of Alpine, New Jersey, not far from the isle of Manhattan. How tony? The median home price in Alpine last quarter was over four million dollars.

The two boys were left in the care of Vada Linna, an eighteen-year-old au pair from Finland. When Patrick’s mother, Nancy Moore, came to pick up her son, no one answered the door. This was not a huge cause for concern to her. Nancy Moore figured that young Vada had taken the boys for an outing or ice cream or something along those lines. Two hours later, Nancy Moore returned and knocked on the front door again. There was still no answer. Still only mildly concerned, Nancy called Rhys’s mother, Brooke. Brooke called Vada’s mobile phone, but it went immediately to voicemail. Brooke Lockwood Baldwin, Win’s first cousin, rushed home at this juncture. She unlocked the door to the house. The two women called out. At first there was no answer. Then they heard a noise coming from the finished basement, which was an expansive playroom for the young children. That was where they found Vada Linna tied to a chair and gagged. The young au pair had kicked over a lamp to get their attention. She was scared but otherwise unharmed. But the two boys, Patrick and Rhys, were nowhere to be found. According to Vada, she had been fixing the boys a snack in the kitchen when two armed men stormed in through the sliding glass door. They wore ski masks and black turtlenecks. They dragged Vada to the basement and tied her up. Nancy and Brooke immediately called the police. Both fathers, Hunter Moore, a physician, and Chick Baldwin, a hedge fund manager, were summoned from their places of work. For several hours, there was nothing—no contact, no clues, no leads. Then a ransom request via an anonymous email came to Chick Baldwin’s work account. The note began by warning them not to contact the authorities if they wanted to see their children alive. Too late for that. The note demanded that the families get two million dollars ready—“one million per child”—and that further instructions would be forthcoming. They gathered the money and waited. Three agonizing days passed before the kidnappers wrote again, directing Chick Baldwin and only Chick Baldwin to drive alone to Overpeck Park and leave the money in a specific spot by the boat launches. Chick Baldwin did as they asked. The FBI, of course, had full surveillance on the park, all entrances and exits covered. They had also put a GPS in the bag, though a decade ago, that technology was slightly more rudimentary than it would be today. Up until this point, the authorities had done a good job of keeping the abductions a secret. No media found out. At the urging of the FBI, no friends or family members, including Win, were contacted. Even the other Baldwin and Moore children were kept in the dark. Chick Baldwin dropped off the money and drove away. An hour passed. Then two. During hour three, someone picked up the bag, but that ended up being a Good Samaritan jogger who planned to bring it to lost and found. No one else picked up the ransom money. The families gathered around Chick Baldwin’s computer and waited for another email. In the meantime, the FBI pursued a few theories. First, they took a hard look at Vada Linna, the young au pair, but there was nothing there. She had been in the country only two months and barely spoke English. She had only one friend. They scoured her emails, her texts, her online history, and came up with nothing suspicious. The FBI also looked at the four parents. The only one who gave them serious pause was Rhys’s father, Chick Baldwin. The ransom emails had come to Chick, but more than that, Chick was something of an unsavory character. There were two cases of insider trading and several lawsuits involving embezzlement. Some claimed that he ran a Ponzi scheme. Clients—some of whom were powerful—were upset. But upset enough to do something like this? So they waited for word from the kidnappers. Another day passed. Then two. Then three, four. Not a word. A week went by. Then a month. A year. Ten years. And nothing. No sign of either boy. Until now. Myron sat back as the credits rolled. Mee sauntered over and looked down at him. “I think I’ll have that cognac now,” he said. “Right away.” When she came back, Myron said, “Sit down, Mee.” “I don’t think so.” “When was the last time you saw Win?” “I am paid to be discreet.” Myron bit back the wisecrack. “There were rumors,” he said. “About Win, I mean. I was worried.” She tilted her head. “Don’t you trust him?” “With my life.” “So respect his privacy.” “I’ve been doing that for the last year.” “Then what’s a few more hours?” She was right, of course. “You miss him,” Mee said. “Of course.” “He loves you, you know.” Myron said nothing. “You should try to get some sleep.” She was right about that too. He closed his eyes, but he knew sleep wouldn’t come. A close friend had recently convinced Myron to take up Transcendental Meditation, and while he wasn’t sure he completely bought into it, the simplicity and ease made it perfect for those moments when sleep eluded him. He set his Meditation Timer app—yes, he had one on his phone—for twenty minutes, closed his eyes, and started to sink down. People think meditation clears the mind. That’s nonsense. You can’t clear the mind. The harder you try not to think about something, the more you will think about it. You need to allow the thoughts in if you really want to relax. You learn to observe them and not judge or react. So that was what Myron did now. He thought about seeing Win again, about Esperanza and Big Cyndi, about his mother and father down in Florida. He thought about his brother, Brad, and his nephew, Mickey, and about the changes in their lives. He thought about Terese finally being back in his life, about their impending marriage, about starting a life with her, about the sudden, tangible possibility of happiness. He thought about how shockingly fragile it all felt. Eventually, the plane landed, slowed, taxied. When it came to a complete stop, Mee pulled the handle and opened the door. She gave him a wide smile. “Good luck, Myron.” “Same to you, Mee.” “Tell Win I say hello.”


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