Monday, 17 August 2009 - 9:19 pm


It’s not fair. It sounds childish, but it’s true. This isn’t justice, or karma, or divine intervention, because it’s just not fair.

I had been dreading finding Dillon’s family. I tried to ignore it, I tried not to say, but there was a part of me that hoped we wouldn’t find them. Because I didn’t want to say goodbye to him. I didn’t want to give him up. I didn’t want there to be Seekers without a Dillon in it. I selfishly wanted him to stay with us – with me – always.

He deserved better. He looked after me, even when he was hurt and hobbling. I remember that hand on my head when I needed it. I tried to do the same for him, but the damage was so bad and he just couldn’t hold on. He tried. He gripped my hand so tightly as I told him, we’re almost there, it’s just a little further, stay with me. Stay with me. Then he smiled and asked if his folks were here yet. I’d really like them, and they’d like me, too. Is that them he can hear?

I don’t think they liked me. I brought them a dead son. I tried to give them more than that as I handed him over, but I don’t know if they heard me.

He looks just like his dad. The little tilt to the corners of his mouth, the way his eyes went solemn and nakedly sad in the face of bad news. Even the way Mr Holt comforted his wife. I think that’s the only reason that I was able to let him go, when my whole body was screaming at me to hold onto him, he’s mine, he’s not allowed to go yet.

It felt wrong to leave him there, but it was right too. All I know is that he got what he wanted – to be with them again. That’s what matters, I guess.


It feels different with him than it did with Ben. Ben left me hollow, hardly able to feel anything. With Dillon, it’s more like losing a limb. The nerves are raw and I keep feeling as if he’s right there. It’s hard to walk forward, as if I have a leg missing. I want to curl around the wound, and shout about how unfair it is. The cuts Ben left on my arm, the pounding that the landslide gave me – it all hurts less than this does.

I woke with heavy eyes and a headache this morning, and Matt was curled up around me. For a moment, I thought it was Dillon, but that was just a wish that slipped through the confusion of waking. I was grateful it was Matt. I turned over and hugged him in return; he needs it as much as I do.

I haven’t seen Matt go grey with grief before; even when his family kicked him out, he put a brave face on it. He’s not even trying to do that this time. I guess it’s because he knows he doesn’t need to. He seems faded, worn through.

Then there’s Thorpe. He got close to the kid too, more than most; Dillon looked up to him, and I think the big fella liked that. But he won’t show it. He knuckles it all down somehow. I guess it’s one way to cope. I’d explode if I tried that.

He gave me a hand this morning, tossing some of the heavier packs into the back of the van. He didn’t need to but I didn’t mind. He asked if I was okay, and it was so unusual I stopped what I was doing and looked up at him.

“Not really,” I told him. There didn’t seem to be any point lying about it.

I returned the question but he didn’t answer. He just put a heavy hand on my shoulder and bowed his head. On impulse, I stepped in and hugged him, partly because I knew he’d never ask for something like that. Hugging him is a bit like being swallowed – I barely come up to his shoulder. I think it was partly the awkwardness of his squeeze that brought the tears up again, and partly because I knew he hadn’t cried yet. So I cried for both of them, the last of the original Seekers.

There’s only Thorpe and me left now, of those who came out of the city. All those miles and months, and there’s only two of us still moving. It’s a frightening attrition.


We’re still moving. We pushed our two battered vehicles until they started and we put miles under our tyres. Heading in a new direction now – north and slightly west, out of the mountains. Moving on to the next dot on the map and leaving a part of us behind. A part we’ll carry with us, at the same time.

I still can’t say goodbye. Goodnight will have to do for now.