It was my dad's idea to write about Lucas and Angel
and everything else that happened last summer. "It won't
make you feel any better," he told me, "it might even
make things worse for a while. But you mustn't let the
sadness die inside you. You have to give it some life.
You have to . . . "
"Let it all out?"
He smiled. "Something like that."
"I don't know, Dad," I sighed. "I'm not sure I can
write a story."
"Ah, now, that's nonsense. Anyone can write a story.
It's the easiest thing in the world. How else do you
think I make a living out of it? All you have to do
is tell the truth, tell it like it was."
"But I don't know how it was, I don't know all the
details, the facts"
"Stories aren't facts, Cait, they're not details.
Stories are feelings. You've got your feelings, haven't
"Too many," I said.
"Well, that's all you need." He put his hand on
mine. "Cry yourself a story, love. It works. Believe
So that's what I did, I cried myself a story.
And this is it.
I first saw Lucas on a fine afternoon at the end of
July last summer. Of course, I didn't know who he was
then . . . in fact, come to think of it, I didn't even
know what he was. All I could see from the backseat
of the car was a green-clad creature padding along the
Stand in a shimmering haze of heat; a slight and ragged
figure with a mop of straw-blond hair and a way of walking
I smile when I think of it a way of walking that
whispered secrets into the air.
We were on our way back from the mainland . . .
As we drew closer, the figure became clearer. It was
a young man, or a boy, dressed loosely in a drab green
army jacket ties around his waist and a green canvas
bag slung over his shoulder. The only nongreen thing
about him was the pair of scruffy black waling boots
on his feet. Although he was on the small side, he wasn't
as slight as I'd first thought. He wasn't exactly muscular,
but he wasn't weedy-looking either. It's hard to explain.
There was an air of hidden strength about him, a graceful
strength that showed in his balance, the way he held
himself, the way he walked . . .
As I've already said, the memory of Lucas's walk brings
a smile to my face. It's an incredibly vivid memory,
and if I close my eyes I can see it now. An easygoing
lope. Nice and steady. Not too fast and not too slow.
Fast enough to get somewhere, but not too fast to miss
anything. Bouncy, alert, resolute, without concern and
without vanity. A walk that both belonged to and was
remote from everything around it.
You can tell a lot about people from the way they walk.
As the car got closer I realized that Dad and Dominic
had stopped talking, and I was suddenly aware of a strange,
almost ghostly, silence to the air not just in the
car, but outside as well. Birds had stopped calling,
the wind had dropped, and in the distance the sky had
brightened to the most intense blue I'd ever seen. It
was like something out of a film, one of those slow-motion
episodes played out in absolute silence when your skin
starts tingling and you just know that something
stunning is about to happen.
Dad was driving quite steadily, as he always does,
but it seemed as is we were barely moving. I could hear
the tires humming on the dry road and the air rushing
past the window, and I could see the railings at the
side of the road flickering past in a blur of white,
so I knew we were moving, but the distance between
us and the boy didn't appear to be changing.
It was weird. Almost like a dream.
Then, all at once, time and distance seemed to lurch
forward and we drew level with the boy. As we did so,
he turned his head and looked at us. No, that's wrong
he turned his head and looked at me. Directly
at me. (When I talked to Dad about this a little while
ago, he told me that he'd had the very same feeling
that Lucas was looking directly at him, as
if he were the only person in the whole world.)
It was a face I'll never forget. Not simply because
of its beauty although Lucas was undeniably beautiful
but more for its wondrous sense of being beyond
things. Beyond the pale blue eyes and the tousled hair
and the sad smile . . . beyond all this there was something
Something . . .
I still don't know what it was.
Dominic broke the spell by peering through the window
and grunting, "What the hell is that?"
And then the boy was gone, whizzing past into the background
as we left the Stand and veered off towards the east
of the island.
I wanted to look back. I was desperate to look back.
But I couldn't. I was afraid he might not be there.