Chapter Thirty Two

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Dear Diary,

I never did get the chance to talk with Leo about what Farley and I found out. I know it’s a pathetic excuse but we really have been so busy and it’s taken all my efforts to drag Leo about enough to actually get us to New York. That’s right! I’m writing this from New York, right now, I’m here! Ellwood feels like a dim memory even though we’ve only been here a couple of days.

This place is a whole new world. I’m sat here on a bench I found in a ‘dog park’ just outside our hotel. It’s full of people and you guessed it – dogs. There must be more people and dogs here than there are in the whole of Ellwod, God practically in the whole of Lancashire.

It’s funny though because the dogs seem to be either really big or really little. There’s even two sections – one for the big dogs that run up and down this pen thing, then there’s a load of tiny dogs teetering around in another area. If I had to choose I would definitely go for a big dog with slavering chops.

Everywhere around me there are high buildings, everywhere you go you have to look up all the time. I never realised until now that in Ellwood we’re always looking along the way – out to the surrounding hills or whatever. Here, it’s all about the neck craning vertical view. And the sounds, oh my God – it’s constant. Right now I can hear talking, cars, police sirens, aeroplanes, barking, children screaming. Wow.

The first day we were here, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I never realised how silent Ellwood is before. Even at nighttime here there’s a constant hum and buzz. Leo and I were both the same, looking at each other with bemused faces, like what on Earth are we doing here?

But now I think we’re getting used to it. It’s sort of like actually living in an amusement park. On every corner there's something new to see, someone interesting to look at. It makes my heart miss a beat to think about the gig itself. Who will be there? What will it be like? I can believe that there will be plenty of people.

I wonder what these Americans will think of us? So far they seem to think we’re ‘adorable’. Every time we open our mouths someone seems to say ‘oh, what a cute accent!’ I don’t think some of them even understand what we’re saying!

As we were checking in to the hotel on the first day this woman came past us – all glammed up wearing a fur coat, grabbing onto one of those wee dogs under her arm. She stopped in her tracks when she saw us, surrounded by bags and guitar cases.

‘Oh my gawd!’ she said. ‘Look at you two. You’re British, right?’

‘Uh, yeah,’ said Leo.

‘You’re so cute! You’re in a band?’ she said.

‘Yup,’ said Leo.

‘Ah! I love the way you speak. A British band, that is just amazing. You two together, oh my gawd, they’re going to love you over here. Look at your style, you’re both just so now,’ she said.

‘Er, thanks,’ we both said as she waltzed out of the building.

‘Bye cuties!’ she said, waving her hand at us as she left.

They all seem to be a bit like that these Americans. Certainly very friendly. They don’t seem to mind just coming right up and talking to us.

At least Leo seems to have perked up a bit since we got here. He was like a lump of lard for the week before. Not like him at all. He would usually be ‘training’ us within an inch of our lives. He would usually get us in band practice by seven in the morning or something stupid like that. I’m not too worried about the gig itself, I know we’ll pull it off anyway. We practiced enough for a whole year just before the Manchester gig.

I’m more worried about Leo. He’s been sick and maybe he still is a bit. He’s been moping around the house and it’s me who has called Jimmy and got him to come round for band practice. It’s me who has made every meal for all of us and cleaned the house. I also had to do most of the packing which was a bit of a nightmare.

I couldn’t decide on outfits so I just brought most of my wardrobe. Leo wasn’t up to telling me off and getting me not to take so many clothes as he usually would do. He kept just diving onto the nearest sofa or bed and lying there. I didn’t want to get into anything heavy with him so I never told him what Farley and I found out about Mum and her past. I just didn’t see that he was up to hearing about the fact that Mum used to go out with Luke Crombie. Uncle Luke. Ugh. I mean, maybe he wouldn’t be that bothered but I didn’t particularly want to get into it with him.

It’s really hard at the moment to actually have a proper conversation with him. It’s like he’s floated out to a new galaxy somewhere and I can’t quite reach him. He doesn’t say so but it’s like he just doesn’t want me to reach him, like he would prefer to hang out in his new galaxy alone.

It’s hard for me to tell if it’s because he’s ill or if it’s something else. It reminds me of when he used to have terrible sulking fits when we were kids. Let’s say I didn’t want to play a game or something like that, he would storm off and fall headlong into this humongous sulk.

Thing is, back then I would lose him for a few hours and then I would do something funny or shout at him and he would eventually snap out of it. This time is different. I have to keep reminding myself that he is ill as well. He went to the doctor who said he had a fever, so it’s real. And he looks constantly pale. It’s just such bad timing.

Anyway so here we are. The Dovetails in New York. Not just the band, it’s the whole lot of us. Once Cheryl, Jez and Lambert heard we were coming they insisted on joining us, plus Tony as well of course. Big Tony who I had to sit next to on the plane – thank God he kept getting up all the time to go to the bathroom or stand around the aisles talking.

I got a window seat and so did Leo who sat just behind me. We were both transfixed as the plane set off, staring out the window as Britain got smaller and smaller. I wasn’t scared at all. I liked the feeling as the plane whooshed off the ground, wings flapping, clouds whizzing by.

Here’s the big news. Farley is coming too. Tomorrow. I didn’t get to see much of him once I found out about the gig here. I did get to meet with him briefly to tell him that we were going. I asked him if he wanted to come and he said yes. He didn’t know how but he said he would come.

The time has arrived for Farley to be here with me, no matter what. To be around the band, my friends. To meet Leo. Yeah, that is a terrifying thought but it has to happen some time. Why not here in New York? I just can’t keep living such a separate life – two different sides all the time, neither knowing much about the other. It’s too weird.

Here’s the thing. I love my brother. I’m not stupid, I know we’re not ‘normal’, plenty of people have told me over the years. Of course to me, it is normal. Our relationship is the most usual thing in the world. Who else have I had all my life? After what happened with Mum it’s been Leo all the way. My best friend.

Then there’s Farley. This person who seems to have come out of nowhere. I didn’t expect him to come along but he did and now we have something special. We’re connected. He already knows more about me than I ever thought would’ve been possible. I look at him and I see my future reflected back at me.

So there you go. The two worlds will meet. Right here in New York. Tomorrow. Central Park. There’s just nothing else for it.

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