Chapter 21. Should of, Should of.
Basically what happened next is well sad. I’m telling you that because you might go all teary and you might wanna get your tissues at the ready. It makes me all teary just rememberin it all. But me mum says, ‘there ain’t no good gonna come of pretendin it din’t happen, Shardonnay. You gotta accept when something happens that it’s happened. You can’t change it, cos it’s happened, it’s in the past.’
Sebastian got shot. Out of the blue. Some crazy fan on masses of medication for schizophenia heard voices and that tellin him to kill him. Just got hold of a gun, bought a ticket for a concert, sat in the front row and blasted him in the forehead in the middle of their biggest hit: ‘From Little Acorns.’
We was all devastrated. We was in shock. The whole world were. No one could get over that. Sebastian were still so young. He were only twenty six. Too young to die in anyone’s book. He were so pure and beautiful. And this is the saddest thing of all: he never really found what he were lookin for, did he?
I felt bad after this happened. I realised I were in up to me neck. I realised that I should of said something. Sebastian should of known who his father was. I should of told the truth. He should of had a father. Shit. Too late now, Shardie. One of the things about life is, you can’t turn the clocks back.
I din’t sleep that night, the first night after he died. I din’t know what to do. In the mornin, I bought Matt a cup of tea, sat down on his side of the bed. I so badly wanted to tell him, but I just couldn’t. I were afraid he would hate me and leave me if he knew the truth.
He slurped down his tea, then shut his eyes again and slept. He moaned softly in his sleep, surfin waves of grief. Tears squeezed out of his shut eyes.
Nicholas had come back home to his room, hit hard by grief. We could hear his hard rackin sobs through the wall. He had loved Sebastian. Sebastian were his teacher, his role model, his friend. Oh shit, thinkin about it, he were his blinkin brother too, I spose.
At around eleven in the morning the sobs stopped. We heard occasional bumps and thumps. Then Nicholas came out of his room, dressed in many layers, with one of Matt’s rucksacks on his back and Sebastian’s white baton in his hand. ‘I’m going off,’ he said.
Chapter 22. Nicholas on his Journey.
‘Nicholas,’ we protested, ‘you’re only twelve. You can’t go off.’
He looked at me. ‘Mother. Goodbye,’ he said, but politely, not in a rude way. And then he started walkin. And walkin. We ran up the road after him. A photographer who had been waiting outside the house followed, snappin him. Nicholas refused to stop. He sang softly at first, then more lustily. A couple of teenagers joined him, singin along. By the time he reached the park down the bottom of the hill he had six or seven followers. People was dropping everything and running alongside. By the time we got to the outskirts of town there were a whole crowd. Nicholas stalked along at the front, tireless, frowning, singing and waving that bloody baton. A press car drew alongside, massive cameras pokin out the windows. ‘Where are you going, Nicholas?’ asked the journalists.
‘It doesn’t matter,’ he replied. ‘I am on the move, that’s all. On the move, until I feel better.’
The followers took shifts, hoppin on buses and that to keep up. Nicholas just kept going. I had to stop and come back home. I were out of breath. Shouldn’t smoke so many fags. Din’t matter, I could watch him on the telly. At nightfall he put up a little one-man tent he had in his rucksack and crept into a sleeping bag. Six hours later he were again on the move. His shoes wore out. People bought him new ones. He never had to worry about food. People handed it to him in the street. Crowds now lined the streets, waiting for him to pass by. People chanted for him. The telly devoted a 24 hour channel to him.
I found the whole thing quite exhaustin. The power of the little guy were quite extraordinary. Me mum and me we watched most of it on the telly. Me mum said, ‘There’s no stoppin im, Shardie. Sometimes you just gotta let em go. No sense in holdin em back. You just gotta let em go.’ She’s right you know. Sometimes you just gotta let em go.
I just felt it were strange, but fittin, in a way, that I had now lost me boy. And that feeling of loss were not unfamiliar to me, know what I mean? And I thought how, really, we’ve all lost somethin, we’re like born like that, none of us feel complete, do we? I mean, look at Nicholas. He had his dad, but he’s still one of them, one of them Lost Boys, inne? And I cried because I wondered suddenly if it were his mum what he felt he didn’t have. Like, had I been a good enough mum to him? My mum hugged me. ‘Shardie,’ she said, ‘You been a great mum to Nick. That’s how he’s so brave that he can go off like that!’ She made me some popcorn to cheer me up.
The TV came round to me house to see what I had to say about it all. I put down me popcorn and shoved me face right into that camera. ‘Go it, Nicholas!!!’ I yelled at the top of me lungs. ‘We’re all behind ya!!!! Don’t know where you’re goin, but we don’t care, do we Nan?’ I laughed and pointed the camera at me mum.
‘Go On Nick!!!’ she screamed. ‘You can do it! We believe in ya!’
‘Just send us a postcard when you get wherever it is you’re goin!!’ I yelled. ‘Alright?’ I waggled a finger at the camera.
Nicholas reached the coast. He bought a ticket for the ferry. Went across to Cherbourg. As soon as the ferry got to the other side, there he were again, on our big screen, walkin and walkin. There were a whole scrummage of people walkin with him now. They kept tryin to talk to him, but all he would do was sing Sebastian’s songs and clutch that baton with a white-knuckled grip.
My mum said ‘He’s upset, Shardie. When someone’s upset, there’s no tellin what they’ll do. And I’m tellin ya, he is one upset little kid.’
We gazed at the screen, at his little face, his little limbs goin. He seemed determined but in such a calm way, like he knew he had to do this from some other knowledge. Lookin at him, I realised I wanted to feel like that, I wanted to be like him. I think everyone in the world, watchin him, would want to be like him, to not care where they was goin, but go there anyway type thing.
Matt had not gone back to work since Sebastian died. He were just watchin telly with us all day, big bags under his eyes. Suddenly he stood up. ‘I’m going after him,’ he said.
Me and mum just looked at each other. ‘He’s a man, Shardonnay,’ said me mum. ‘Sometimes a man’s just gotta do what a man’s gotta do.’
He packed a bag with a few things, a coupla changes of clothes. And off he went in his car over to France to follow his son.