Jason couldn't bring himself to speak. Instead, he took her hand and held it, and she squeezed it back.
When at last she did speak, her voice was ragged. “He … took his own life. I'd been out, and when I came home he had … he was … he'd hanged himself. He …” but here she was unable to continue, and, now crying freely, she rested her head on one hand and vigorously scrubbed her eyes with a wad of bundled-up tissues held in the other.
Jason couldn't speak either, his own loss and grief mirrored in hers. Together, they wept, joined in grief, joined in regrets.
At last, Eleanor stopped. “We're a fine pair,” she said forlornly. She sat in silence a while longer, then added, as an afterthought, “So you see why I blame myself.”
“Oh but Mrs Cum … Eleanor … it wasn't you who are to blame. It's the bullies. They're to blame, not you. They were the ones who drove him to his death. Not you!”
“But I might have saved him. See, I thought it was perfectly fine for a boy to be like he was, but not a man. Men should be manly. Not quirky or funny of effeminate. That's what I thought. So he never got to be a man, because of my stupidity, my prejudice. I worked it all out afterwards. I should have done something, but deep down, I was afraid, I was reluctant to let him grow up the way he was, to be what he was. How very stupid I was!” There was a long silence. At last, she said, so quietly Jason almost didn't hear, “Well, I've had twenty years to reflect on my folly.”
Majorca Flats Episodes 81 to 90