Lost Boys - Excerpt

She is thinking about Michael, letting images of him pass before her inner eye like a series of slides on a screen. The soft peachy beauty of his baby skin; his funny single-toothed smile as he sat for the first time unaided on the patchwork quilt; the intensity of his eyes; his gossamer hair. His smartness in his school uniform on the day of his father’s funeral, and the feel of his little hand holding tightly on to hers as they followed the coffin down to the graveside.  His frown of concentration and the physical effort as he wrestled with his first accordion, as though it was some unwieldy prehistoric reptile writhing and wriggling in his inadequate arms. And then, as a teenager, his hair growing long and unkempt; his preference for shabby, frayed clothes; the strange, sweet, herby smell about him which she was not able to place until years later as the smell of marihuana. His increasing propensity to go off for days, to ‘gigs’ and festivals, with his accordion and insufficient clean underwear. His announcement that he would ‘busk’ his way round Europe, and watching him go, with his long-legged loping stride, off down the cobbles of the street, a bulging back-pack over one shoulder and his accordion over the other, his single wave at the corner and a sudden inner sinking feeling as though her heart had slipped out of her chest and landed with a soft, wet plop at her feet.