How would you explain ‘can’t be’ in the context?
The smile disappears because the whole boy disappears. The Odyssey can be reopened to any page, it doesn’t matter which (The narrator was reading the book). And then he is back, that grin. The scion of a ruined family, delighted with himself. This hurts, an ache in the groin, wanting so badly to see that smile and follow it somewhere. It keens like Mother waiting for the next cigarette. That is how she loves men, too. It must be. But in this case, can’t be.
How would you explain ‘can’t be’ in the last sentence?
Can’t be what?