But surely . . . that was Cody? The shoulder-length chestnut curls, the broad back, the faintly arrogant swagger . . .
“Co!” yelled Luigi, suddenly more happy than he could bear.
The man turned round. It was Cody. His face turned as cold as stone. He turned back again and kept on walking.
At first Luigi didn't know what to make of it. He was stunned speechless. He ran to catch up with Cody. Cody's back remained resolutely turned away, even though he must have heard Luigi's footsteps.
Just before he caught up with the other man, Luigi noticed the woman walking next to Cody's side, and the small child holding his hand. He could not believe that he hadn't seen them before, that he had been so focussed on Cody that he had ignored his companions.
It could be his sister he feverishly told himself. Or a friend.
But he knew. Oh, he knew. Something died in him. His pain made him mad.
“Cody!” he said, an inner bitch coming from he knew not where, “how are ya, mate?”
“Luigi.” Cody spoke colourlessly, his eyes avoiding Luigi's.
“Hello,” said Luigi to the woman, “I'm Luigi, a friend of Cody's”. He put maximum macho swagger into his step and speech. There was no way he was going to let this woman know that his world had ended. Oh no! He had his pride. He might not be a real man but he had pride. There was nothing else.
“I'm Phillippa, Cody's wife.”
“Oh yes!” exclaimed Luigi. “He's often mentioned you! How nice to meet you at last!”