Chapter Three

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Dear Diary,

I have to speak to that same policeman tomorrow. He talked to me like I was some kind of teenage bum and kept eyeing my outfit up and down. What, my military look makes me a suspect in an assault does it? Sheez. I didn’t actually say this to him by the way. I couldn’t help thinking that I quite liked the look of his bulletproof vest and wondered if I could pull off that look at our next gig… Hmm…

Despite the fact that I thought I was about to end up in jail all he did was find out how I knew the man and what happened last night. I told him I didn’t know him personally at all. I think he believed me. I mean, I don’t know that guy. I do want to know what he knows about my Mum though.

He asked me why we had argued. When I told him he said:

‘Oh, you’re one of the kids involved in the “Harwood case”. Ah, yes, of course. Your surname… Harwood. Yes, I see now, I see.’

He rubbed his finger on his chin back and forth until he finally gave me a nod, took my number and said he would call me tomorrow. What an idiot. “Harwood case.” Yeah, a case he and his police friends never solved! Oh well, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

After he left Cheryl looked triumphant and said:

‘They’ve go nothing on us. That guy deserved it. He’ll be out of hospital by tonight and we won’t hear another thing about it.’

I hope she’s right.

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I spent this morning looking at old photographs. I could hear Leo strumming to himself upstairs. It sounded like he was working on a new track, the melody didn’t sound too familiar but it was gorgeous. I always get shivers down my spine the first time I hear his songs.

I sat myself down in my favorite armchair in our front room. We hardly ever come in here. Mum used to keep it as a special room, for guests. She’d get out the china teapot with all the delicate cups and saucers on a tray whenever anyone came round. We still keep this room special but it’s empty most of the time. It’s always colder in there than anywhere else in the house. I reached up to the top of the shelves next to the fireplace and found my parent’s wedding album.

I sat in the armchair and stroked my hands across the front of it, feeling the raised silver pattern beneath my fingers. As I opened it up – the smell – old and woody, brought back a river of memories. Ever since I can remember I have always been drawn to the pages of that album. As a child I would sit with Mum and she would tell me who all the people were and what her dress was like. I would look and listen for hours, imagining every pearl, every flower, hearing the music in my head as she walked down the aisle.

Today, in the silent front room I poured over the pages. There was Mum, her curly hair running all the way down her back. She looked so beautiful. Not all that much older than me. They had married young. And there was my Dad, so handsome with the lapels of his suit looking way too big.

I never met Dad. He died before I was born. I would ask Mum but she found it too hard to speak about him. It would be one of the rare times where I would see tears in her eyes. I hated to see her cry so I learnt not to ask anymore. Instead, I would make up images in my head of the two of them together, riding through the countryside on a motorbike, or eating biscuits next to the river.

I’m absolutely sure my Dad was handsome and heroic. My Mum loved him with every bone in her body. I just know she did. Leo knew him but can’t really remember. He must have been so small at the time, not even walking yet. All he talks about is how Dad constantly played music. Jazz. Blues. Rock. Classical. Everything.

As I turned the pages I found my favorite picture. Just outside the village church, the hills in the background, the spring sun shining down on my parents. Dad smiling at Mum as she looked directly into the camera. Her eyes were so clear.

As I sat in the empty front room I felt haunted by that look. How could anyone do what they did to her? All the familiar feelings of disbelief and loss sprung up inside me – the same feelings I have lived with for a long time now. I bent over the album and cried bitter tears.

It is seven years since it happened. I will never forget the day when I heard. Leo and I were in the back room, practicing a routine we had thought up together. Even at that age we were always coming up with some performance or other. We were both on our acoustic guitars, strumming away happily when Granddad came in, his face grey and long.

He sat down in front of us as we watched tears fall down in his face like small streams of water running down the side of a mountain. He told us that Mum had ‘passed away’. I told him I had just seen her the night before. He took us to the hospital.

Eventually I realised that passed away meant dead. Like dead, like really gone, not coming back. I knew that something terrible had happened – I could see that by the way everyone had puffy eyes – but it wasn’t until Leo gently told me we would never see her again that I realized.

And it wasn’t until I caught sight of the local newspaper a few days later that I discovered it was worse than death. It was murder. And nobody had a clue who did it, or at least – that’s what the front page said.

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