Chapter 17. The Massive Strop.
It’s so like harder than you think bringin up a kid. I did get meself that nanny, and she were well good with Nicholas, so I still got to have good times out with Debs and Shelley, but as soon as the nanny went home it were like he were controllin me. If I did anythin he didn’t like, he would make a right fuss. In a nice way though, mostly. It weren’t like he screamed the place down nor nothin, he just somehow made it clear that he were not pleased.
He did have one well bad strop though once at Mums and Tots. We’d started taking him to Bunnies in Spellbrook only the week before. He kinda liked it for the first couple of times, cos they let you do paintin, which he loved. But then they said we was going to do music. Me heart sunk, cos I knew what Nicholas would be like. If the music weren’t the Lost Boys, he weren’t havin none of it.
So they gave all the kids a little drum or tambourine and started singin ‘the Wheels on the Bus.’ Nicholas listened for all of twenty seconds, his frown deepenin and deepenin. Then he got up, threw his tambourine at the ceiling and went round the circle kickin the drums and triangles out of the little kiddies’ hands, roaring in anger. ‘STUPID BUS!’ he yelled. ‘NO STUPID BUS! ONLY WANT MY OST BOYS.’ He rushed over to the craft table and tipped it over. Playdough and scissors went flyin. He grabbed the snack table and tipped it over, and kicked it. Crackers and marmite and Fruit Shortcake went all over the floor. Everyone were just lookin on in shock and horror. I mean, how were he even that strong? He were only like two and a half. It’s like he’d been taken over by something that were not even himself, like he were possessed or somethin.
Thinkin about it I realised that since the only music he had ever put up with were the Lost Boys, he sort of thought that were the only music what existed in the world. To see other people suddenly indulgin theirselves in other music seemed like All Wrong, if you get my drift. I sort of get it, why he thought it were So like Wrong.
So it were a shame but we couldn’t go to the Mums and Tots after that, which meant it were harder for him to make friends. So we sat at home a lot. He did his paintin at the table, you shoulda seen the amount of paper that lad got through, forests and forests of the stuff, and I would smoke and chat to Debs or Shelley on the phone. When he started school, we was nervous, because his teacher were this young lady what loved to sing. We had heard that she sang all day to the kids. Matt went and had a quiet word with her about Nicholas’ obsession. She were so nice and said that for the first couple of music lessons they would play and sing some Lost Boy songs, and introduce other songs little by little, which eased him in and made him slightly more acceptin of other things.
Chapter 18. Things start hotting up.
When he got to eight, Nicholas came to me, took me fag off of me and stubbed it out, I were like ‘Oy, give that back,’ but he said, all serious, ‘Mother, I’ve made up my mind. I want to join the choir at the church.’
I know! Makes me die! His way of speaking is like so…formal. I rolled me eyes. But whatcha gonna do? I don’t think I’m a bad person right? I don’t. I am just a person who did her best. And my mum always says, ‘You can’t do more than your best, Shardie.’ So I done the best I could for that kid, I give it 110 percent, but he’s just turned out the way he is. My mum says, she says, ‘Shardie, they are gonna do what they are gonna do. There ain’t no other way.’ She’s right, you know. There ain’t no other way.
So off he went. And you’ll never guess who the visiting choir-master was. Only flippin Sebastian. He were on a ‘boostin the community’ type mission back in his home town, he told us, to recruit and train talented youth for his choir. Me little boy’s eyes all lit up when he saw him. He broke away from me and ran. Ran into the guy’s arms. From that moment on we hardly saw Nicholas. They was constantly rehearsing, they was tourin with the choir. He were so good at singin, Sebastian promoted him into the Heavenly Host on his ninth birthday. I’m not gonna lie, we was thrilled, but we was also a bit sad, because our boy had to go off on world tours. It were generally expected that we would pull him out of school as it were an honour to be excepted into the Heavenly Choir. We had to arrange like home tutoring for him in Maths, English, French, Science and all that.
We went with him on trips of course. Stayed in hotels nearby. Had him back to our room for the night so he could sleep enough. He grew older and more confident. His voice improved but were still very high. He sang the highest of em all, apart from that girl, Izzy, who practically made your eardrums burst. He were given solo parts. His voice sang out over all the world. When the press interviewed The Heavenly Host as it were now called, they would get a few quotes from Nicholas. He would always say well cute things. Like, ‘I grew up with the sounds of the Heavenly Host in my ears. I wanted nothing else from my life except for that beauty. It made me feel peace within my soul.’
We just gave ourselves up to it really. Accompanied him on his travels. Accepted that he were an important and talented person. As my mum always says, ‘A person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do, Shardie, it’s no good tryina stop em. It’s just not gonna work.’
Luckily the other members of the choir had given up pesterin Matt about him being their father, but I often noticed them stealin looks at him when he were turned away. They gazed at him with adoring eyes. It were clear to me that they was still convinced he were their father. I damn well knew he were, but no way were I going to admit it!
The choir got bigger and bigger. Every country we went to another five or ten kids seemed to be scooped up. Always with the same look. White hair, blazin eyes, long cool fingers, clear-cut cheekbones. They was becomin legendary in the world. I began to wonder to meself, how on earth was all these kids really Matt’s kids? Were that really possible?
I phoned Pat one day from a hotel in Rome up near the Spanish steps. I were havin a sudden fit of curiosity. ‘Pat,’ I says, ‘did you ever send any of Matt’s sperm abroad?’
‘Erm, well, now you mention it,’ she says, ‘I suppose I did really, yes. I used to send it by special van to Amsterdam and Milan. Why? Is there a problem?’
‘No, not a problem….er, Pat? How often did you send it?’
‘A couple of times a week. Over like, what was it? Fourteen, fifteen years? There’s like fifty two weeks in a year…. Oh, bugger, I don’t know, you do the maths! I’m no good at all that, Shardie, you know me!’
I put the phone down tryin a do the maths! I got as far as fifty two times two that’s a hundred and four and then would it be times fifteen? Can’t be! That would be a massive number. I couldn’t do it, so I gave up. All I knew was, it were well possible that Matt had one hell of a lot of kiddies that he didn’t know about, I didn’t dare think how many, like could it be hundreds? Like even a thousand kiddies out there? Thinkin about it made me feel like I wanted to throw up, so I booked meself a nice haircut and highlights at a posh Italian hairdressers rather than go worryin me head about it.