Music.  Words put together to form sentences, stanzas, poems about life, death and all things in between.  Leon could not speak as you and I know the meaning, verbalising words which extract themselves from the throat made real by the vocal chords set inside there.  Leon could make noises, one of the best noises he made was his laugh.  A guttural and sometimes dirty laugh one of cheek and mischief.  He would laugh mischievously at people who were in trouble and being told off.
The music for his birthday came about because it was his 18th Birthday.  I put together five CD's as a stand by just in case the DJ did not have any good music on the night.

On the afternoon of his party Linda, Tara, Uli, Sarah, Charlotte, Sarah and myself turned up early to get the room ready which we had hired.  No such luck.  The room was not even open so we had to go home and return at 18:00.  Still not open.  The DJ turned up expecting to get in also so I got chatting about the type of music he would be playing.  It turned out he was a big Soul DJ but had failed to bring his collection with him expecting the party to be primarily young people and had brought the usual chart rubbish. 

He shot off home to get his collection and we waited for the doors to be opened.  Finally they opened the doors and frantically we put everything together.  The DJ arrived again this time with everything he had in music.  As he set up I gave him the albums I had put together and asked him to play some tracks off of them.

The party was a brilliant success largely due to Tara and her friends who put in a great deal of time and effort with the food and arrangement of the room.  There were green, gold and black balloons hanging over each table.  These colours were chosen to reflect the colours of the Jamaican flag.  Tara had also made him a cake in the shape of a red car.  His favourite.

The DJ asked if he could keep the CD's as there were tracks on the albums he had not got.  He was also really impressed with the quality and range of music on the CD's.  Leon had taste.

When Leon arrived at the party he didn't want to get out of his dad's car, so, in order to distract him, Linda had to make him get out and take him in her car to pick up something she had forgotten so that when he returned, he might be more willing to get out. When he returned he still would not budge.  Cheeky grin all over his face.  He had a captive audience and was in control.  He knew how to wind you up.  So we sent in the big guns, namely a 5 foot 3 slip of a blonde girl named Charlie,  this time he had no chance.  He also was a sucker for a blonde.

 We managed to get him out of the car and in to the party.  As soon as he walked into the room he realised it was all for him.   It was a joy to watch him traversing the room mixing with family and friends taking food off other peoples plates, drinking drink (J2O) and having a blast.  Usually, he would want to either hang around outside or glue himself to a window not really taking part but just being there.  This time was different.  He become a real social butterfly and excellent host.  He moved around the room mixing with each group of people.  There were family, friends, school friends, teachers from both schools he had attended.  Even his old Head Teacher, Ed Thompson came.  Leon moved with ease amongst each group of people.  He was even caught on camera having a dance with his girlfriend Tami ........SMOOTH MOVER.  As he hung around the bar he was encouraged to buy his first drink as an 18 year old.  It didn't stay in the glass for long.  He drank it straight down without stopping for breath. 

We had been to other 18th birthday parties but none were like this.  It was a real grown up affair.  No silly disco Jive Bunny songs.  It was as if he had created his own perfect world.  There were people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, race, creed or colour.  People who would not normally be in the same place at the same time.  But there we were.  All enjoying each others company and diversity and all getting along.  All because they knew Leon and he had touched their lives.  A perfect world.  What an achievement for him. Yet he did it with ease and charm.  If only we had more people like him, the world would be a better place.