sound filled my head and it hurt so that I couldn't feel any other sort of hurt, like the hurt in my chest, and I couldn't hear Mother and Mr. Shears arguing and I couldn't think about not doing my A level or the fact that there wasn't a garden at 451c Chapter Road, London NW2 5NG, or the fact that I couldn't see the stars. And then it was Monday. And it was very late at night and Mr. Shears came into my room and woke me up and he had been drinking beer because he smelled like Father did when he had been drinking beer with Rhodri. And he said, "You think you're so fucking clever, don't you. Don't you ever, ever think about other people for one second, eh? Well, I bet you're really pleased with yourself now, aren't you." And then Mother came in and pulled him out of the room and said, "Christopher, I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry." The next morning, after Mr. Shears had gone to work, Mother packed lots of her clothes into two suitcases and told me to come downstairs and bring Toby and get into the car. And she put the suitcases into the boot and we drove off. But it was Mr. Shears's car and I said, "Are you stealing the car?" And she said, "I'm just borrowing it." And I said, "Where are we going?" And she said, "We're going home." And I said, "Do you mean home in Swindon?" And she said, "Yes." And I said, "Is Father going to be there?" And she said, "Please, Christopher. Don't give me any hassle right now, OK?" And I said, "I don't want to be with Father." And she said, "Just. . . Just. . . It's going to be all right, Christopher, OK? It's going to be all right." And I said, "Are we going back to Swindon so I can do my maths A level?" And Mother said, "What?" And I said, "I'm meant to be doing my maths A level tomorrow." And Mother spoke very slowly and she said, "We are going back to Swindon because if we stay in London any longer. . . someone was going to get hurt. And I don't necessarily mean you." And I said, "What do you mean?" And she said, "Now I need you to be quiet for a while." And I said, "How long do you want me to be quiet for?" And she said, "Jesus." And then she said, "Half an hour, Christopher. I need you to be quiet for half an hour." And we drove all the way to Swindon and it took 3 hours 12 minutes and we had to stop for petrol and Mother bought me a Milkybar but I didn't eat it. And we got caught in a long traffic jam which was caused by people slowing down to look at an accident on the other carriageway. And I tried to work out a formula to determine whether a traffic jam would be caused just by people slowing down and how this was influenced by (a) the density of traffic, and (b) the speed of the traffic, and (c) how quickly drivers braked when they saw the brake of the lights of the car in front coming on. But I was too tired because I hadn't slept the night before because I was thinking about not being able to do my maths A level. So I fell asleep. And when we got to Swindon Mother had keys to the house and we went in and she said, "Hello?" but there was no one there because it was 1:23 p.m. And I was frightened but Mother said I would be safe, so I went up to my room and closed the door. I took Toby out of my pocket and I let him run around and I played Minesweeper and I did the Expert Version in 174 seconds, which was 75 seconds longer than my best time. And then it was 6:35 p.m. and I heard Father come home in his van and I moved the bed up against the door so he couldn't get in and he came into the house and he and Mother shouted at each other. And Father shouted, "How the fuck did you get in here?" And Mother shouted, "This is my house, too, in case you've forgotten."