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LAST TAKE - BOOK ONE
By M. S. White.
“The purpose of human endeavour is the pursuit of personal self improvement.”…Author Unknown.
It was on the second anniversary of my great loss when I slipped into the hospital grounds unseen by any but the waning moon and entered the underground tunnel way that had been originally built to link the Operating Theatres with the outside surgical wards. It wouldnt really have mattered if a dozen people had seen me in the area because as an employee of the hospital I had every right to be on the grounds and as such was well acquainted with most of the staff and therefore familiar with the layout of the premises. Since the construction of the new Operating Theatre Block several years ago the tunnel way had been locked and placed off limits to all and sundry and virtually forgotten about. By means more foul than fair I had secured a copy of the key that enabled me entry at my leisure. After a few previous exploratory trips into the tunnelled corridor I decided it suited my macabre purposes perfectly. On the evening in question I used torchlight to guide me to where I had secreted a thick cushion, a blanket and a small kerosene candle lamp which I quickly fired up and instantly weird shadows caused by my movements came to life on the cream white walls. After adjusting to the tomb like atmosphere and silence of my concrete burrow I reached for the bottle of Teachers Whiskey from my small backpack and quaffed a cheery mouthful and savoured the liquid warmth of its welcome.
With relish I studied the extensive graffiti on the facing wall and had to suppress the urge to laugh uproariously as I reread some of my own work from a week earlier when I had entered the tunnel, smoked a joint and worked furiously with cans of black and red spray paint and set to writing abuse and accusation directed at certain working staff in particular and the Bureaucratic system in general upon the flat enamelled canvas of the wall. In three hours of emotional venting I had written a great deal of poetic vilification against those I considered deserving of attack. I had scribbled in felt pen the personal secrets that I knew about certain people who had slighted me in the past, leaked private Union and bureaucratic business that needed to be exposed and basically did a great job of character assassination on those whom I perceived to be my transgressors and enemies. The affair proved to be quite a therapeutic exercise in neurotic emotional venting and now all that remained was for me to put my signature to it, which I got up and did with relish before seating myself down again to the task at hand.
I quaffed of the scotch and felt it run its fiery fingers through my stomach and up into my brains and waited in the cave like silence and contemplated what it was that I was about to do. Then when I was ready I strapped and tightened a cordon of rubber lashing around my left arm just below the armpit.I liked the feel of the tourniquets constriction, it felt as I did, secure and sure of intent. Beside me on the floor shielded in a spectacle case slept a hypodermic syringe fully loaded with a dose of high grade street heroin.
As I waited for my mainline artery to thicken I fondled the weight of the loaded syringe and thought how supremely glorious it would be when months from now the stench of my putrid remains would necessitate a baffled exploration and I chortled mentally as I imagined their alarm at the discovery of my decomposed corpse and the corridor walls alive with the vibrancy of my last insulting message to them and to the world. I would go down in hospital history and generate a round of eternal gossip that would ensure my legendary status forever. There was no doubt that I would have the classic last laugh. And just in case the stenchof my decomposing remains didnt reach to the outside w orld, I had it arranged with a mate of mine that after several weeks he was to post my self written letter to my employers alerting them to my decomposed presence in their midst. After a most satisfying chuckle I turned down the brightness of lamp and spent several minutes reviewing the circumstances that had brought me to this imminent act of suicidal closure which began just over two years ago withthat defining dream of my beloved mothers death.
“The dream prophetic begged for my attention, but blinkered eyes cared not to see, nor curiosity explore”…..Luana Maxine Moy.
That prophetic dream begins with my mother and I shopping at a large supermarket centre. We are slowly pushing a well-stocked trolley along the shiny linoleum floor, idly looking into shop front windows as we exchange smiles and small banter regarding their products and we chuckle at the sheer lunacy of what some people think they need in life. Although we are indoors there is a definite sense of outside air brushing pleasantly over our bare skin and there is a strong outside smell of open bush land. Casually mother and son make their way to the outside area where we find the bus stop. My mom sits on a space between two elderly ladies and they quickly set to making conversation, something my mother has never been afraid to do.
I gaze about the hub of suburbia and spot a couple of teenage girls walking past rows of sunlit shinning cars and note their bodies waltzing with a sensual pride born of youth and freedom…and my loins tingle as the imagery of sweet kisses and nubile bodies tumble through my sexual lens. Then a bus pulls up like a sleepy ghost; it is soundless and strangely intrusive andI instinctively know its not the one for us. I throw my glance towardsthe two girls but theyre gone and for a moment I wonder about whom in the future will delight in the fruits of their gifts as they wander their way through the stretched and shrunken moments of what will constitute their lives.
Then I turn my head back to the bench and I am momentarily perplexed to see that my mother is no longer sitting there. Her two bench mates are still thick with babble between themselves and our shopping trolley stands incongruously unattended with its several stuffed plastic shopping bags. I look about me and then scan the length of the bus windows until I spot her looking vacantly through the window at me. I go to board the bus but there are two other large women blocking my access so Im forced to shoulder past them softly as I tell the bus driver that my mother has stepped on the wrong bus and thatIm going to get her. He twists a frown upon a weathered and impatient bow and mutters “Be quick about it, Im already behind time”. For a stretched moment my brain puzzles with the concept of getting behind time. How does one do that? Does one have to travel at well over the speed of light to a moment far into the future and then view it from a present that has somehow mysteriously become the past? Then of course there is dying…no surer way than that to “get behind time”.
I reach my mother and tell he r that shes on the wrong bus. She looks at me with puzzlement and I realise that she is acting as if she has never met me before and I rationalise that shes being the actress again, which for decades has been an eccentric behavioural pattern between her and I. However I insist that the bus is the wrong bus and the driver is a grumpy old fart who doesnt want to get any more „behind time than he already isso lets get a move on, shall we. But she insists that this is the right bus, and that in fact she has been waiting for this bus a whole lifetime. Her last remark informs my defence system that things are not quite right. I sit beside her and wrap an arm around her shoulder and tell her that we have left the groceries behind and that we must get off the bus, retrieve them and take a taxi home instead. I begin to pull her up gently from the seat and feel her body stiffen as it begins her first round of resistance.
Cajoling I pull her forward down the length of the aisle despite her insistence that she has no desire whatsoever to get off the bus. Her hesitancy disturbs as she protests to the other passengers and I assuage their doubts by a roll of the eyes to indicate thatshes a bit old and loopy and not to pay her any attention. The driver (realising that this woman is the cause of his being behind time) jumps to my rescue and using what remains of his dwindling patience assists me to get her begrudgingly down the bus steps to the footpath. As soon as her feet touch terra firma, the „whooshee of the bus door hisses and the driver flattens the accelerator in his zealouspursuit of “lost time".
My mother anxiously watches the bus speed away with tears glistening in her eyes and it breaks my heart to see her cry. I hug and comfort her bysaying, “its all right, were going home now", but she just sobs and says, “That was my bus and you had no right to stop me from going home. What am I going to do now? Wander around like a lost soul?” she demands with unveiled venom and I know for certain thatsomethings not right. Then she breaks my embrace and starts to walk with a step that step that is surprisingly strong and determined towards a treed roadway where the shopping centre ceases and suburbia begins. I follow by maintaining her steady gait while trying valiantly to question what it is that she thinks she is doing.
Then suddenly she halts in her tracks, cranes her head to the right and gazes up with a wide-eyed look of disbelief and joy. I turn to see what has attracted her so and I notice we are alongside a large four-story apartment block with each apartment sporting a small balcony facing down upon us, and that on each balcony there are groups of people mostly aged in their early thirties. I also notice that there is an obvious harmony of colour in the arrangement of their clothing which soothes me in a most indescribable way and I am compelled to observe further.
There seems to be a great deal of energy coming from each balcony and there is a splash of surreal light across the whole apartment face. Then suddenly all the people start laughing and calling out to us with arms waving and faces full of warmth and welcome as if greeting the arrival below of a pop group or well known celebrity. My mother smiles and waves back and I sense a sudden wave of supreme happiness wash through her. Then she spots one balcony in particular and waves furiously and calls out names Im somehow familiar with. I look towards where her gaze is focused and I find I am zooming in upon the balcony scene in question. I briefly spy the gleaming faces full with cheer before the reality of the unreal scene explodes into bizarre explanation…the familiar faces are those of my own relatives and various family friends who are deceased.
Instantly I recognise both sets of grandparents as I remember them from photos of their early youth…and then I see my God parents looking exactly as they had looked when I saw them last as a nine year old boy. I see childrens faces wild with the wonder that only childhood can convey and immediately spot Stephen Emingham, a dear boyhood friend who was lost to us early in his life as a result of muscular dystrophy. As my fractured awareness absorbsthis macabre incongruity Im suddenly made aware of the phenomenal energy and magnetism which is emanating from these balconies of people.
My mom turns and te lls me that shes all right now and that this is where the bus was supposed to bring her and now she must say goodbye to me before entering the building to be with her “people”. Her statement is said with so much certainty that I immediately become very anxious. Then she points with excitement to another balcony which is set squarely in the middle of the apartment face and it becomes instantly conspicuous because it is acutely empty and I wonder that I had not noticed that before. Something powerful insists that I stare at it and after a few moments the emptiness of that balcony becomes almost agitating, but I cannot break the spell of allure that it has over me. Then suddenly the sounds of gaiety and activity ceases and an eerie silence ensues as the residents of the apartment block place their focus upon this lone and empty balcony.
My mothers shrill and excited voiceshatters my perplexity. “Hes coming, Marty,” she says with joyous anticipation.
“Whos coming?” I ask anxiously. She doesnt turn her gaze from the balcony as she says quite flatly and with obvious impatience, “Gavin, you dork.”
“Gavin?” I repeat by way of shocked question, wondering simultaneously where she picked the "dork" bit up from. Effusively she points upward and I look to see a young man enter the stage of his central balcony and then the profound awe of that moment engulfs me. I cant explain how I know; I just know that the young man in question is my deceased brother Gavin who died as an infant of cerebral malaria.
The grown up Gavin smiles and waves to her and I with utter joy. When he speaks he speaks normally and by projecting his voice he is heard with clarity by us below. “Hello, Momma. Its good to see you didnt get lost. Whos that drongo youve got with you who keeps leading you astray?” He smiles especially for me and I feel his love roll over me like a thick liquid tremor. The dream is beginning to take on a weird kind of reality. I can actually sense that I am dreaming and that I am in my bed beside my darling Polly who is snoring like the sweet pig she is. The giddy portion of my ego which is drugged by sleep on one hand wants to awaken, but on the other wants to hang in there and follow the experience deeper, and for a fleeting moment I truly sense the validity of two realities at once.
Without intending to I shout out to G avin “This is weird man, whats happening?” His smile is embracing and he informs me that I need not talk per se, but rather mentally think the dialogue and it will be conveyed and understood. “Use mental telepathy Sprite,” he says calling me by some ridiculous name Ive never heard of. “Thinking is talking without having to raiseyour voice,” he tells me telepathically along with an equally sound telepathic chuckle. This is truly weird, I think to myself…and whats with the Sprite business, I wonder?
“Sprite is the nickname I would have given you had I stayed around to become your older brother,” he said telepathically answering my question.
“Why didnt you stick around, big brother?” I asked vocally rather than waste time trying my hand, or rather my mind at telepathy.
“Thats too complex an explanation to get into right now,” he replies telepathically, “but soon into your future a very sanguine woman will come into your life and clarify that issue for you…in the meantime there is much at hand.”
My dream brother then informs me that our mothers time on earth is nearing its completion. She unconsciously knows this and has been coming to the new realm in her dreams quite often of late and in so doing is familiarising herself with the death process. “The influences and energies are perfect for her easy entry,” he says and an icy shiver convulses through me just before I tell him that I am not ready yet for that to happen again. After allId already lost her once for two years while I was away at boarding school and the thought of experiencing such a loss in a permanent sense would be more than I could endure. It seems I protest vigorously for a long time until I find a thought that sobers me quickly. I suggest to Gavin that if anyone should be “taken” it should be the old man. After all he doesnt have the emotional involvement with us like she does; andhes always been an island unto himself, somewhat cold and detached for reasons of his own making, whereas shes our guiding force, our adviser and our sanctuary when our fears come hunting us out. “Pleasefor Gods sakes, take the old man instead,” I blurt out urgently.
Suddenly the ramifications of my statement reduces me to uncontrolled tears and all I feel is huge chunks of me breaking away from something sad and solid that has lived inside me for a long time like an unknown tumour, benign but still invasive…and that dark pulsating tumour is all the guilt of all the lifelong anger and confusion that I have focused unconsciously and consciously upon my father, and I realise that in spite of my self proclaimed psychological astuteness I have long fed to a secret well the waters of my repressed bitterness.
It was Gavin who came to my rescue by focusing me on the immediate situation. His telepathic voice was smooth and soothing. “The old man offered,” he said, “but that does not suit the overall purpose of your combined Soul identity. Mom has new purposes to pursue now. And though her absence will cause great pains it will also provide invaluable gems of learning and wisdom for the Soul family. Nothing, irrespective of its beauty or ugliness, love or fear, is without meaning and purpose. You must let her go now that she is ready. If you hold her back she will be forced to create new circumstances which may only serve to make her eventual exit more difficult than it need be. The time is ripe now my brother…you must let go with both love and longing. Do you understand, Sprite?”
Understand what? That I was having a dream in which conscious dialogue was taking place; that my dead brother was about to receive my mother into the arms of death and dissolution? No, I did not understand. And what did he mean by, “it not suiting the purpose of the overall Soul identity?” I had encountered this type of esoteric philosophy where it was conjectured that the individual soul itself was also a functioning part of other souls, who in their turn were all part of the overall identity, the Oversoul, which was itself an individual part of an even greater Oversoul in a maddening lineage of endless mutating replications. Its true that fractal science hinted at this possibility, but it was still only a philosophically hypothetical postulation. Dreams may seem real, but they are not reality.
Again Gavin asked me if I would agree to let her go. I refused flatly and he knew from my telepathic intent that I was not going to yield on this issue and in an instant I could feel his deep disappointment. He was quiet in thought for a few moments and then he said resignedly, “So be it…this then is your choice.” It was the highly energised tone of“your choice” that sent another icy chill through me and I distinctly knew that a potential burden had been placed upon my shoulders as a result of my decision.
My attention was then drawn toward my mother who was speaking urgently. She was saying that it was time for her to go and be with her friends and family in the apartment block. Then she turned to face me and I saw that her features were alive with the youthfulness and vibrancy of a woman much younger than she actually was, and I knew she felt as happy as she could ever hope to be. But all I could think about was my dread of having to say goodbye to her and that fear alone was too great for me to face in that moment. “Im going to go now, darling,” she said, smiling with absolute love.
Oh Christ! Curse the world for being so cruel. Those were the very words she uttered to me a long time ago when as a child she and I said our first farewell at the poolside after my enrolment in a catholic boarding school which would separate us by thousands of miles for the next two years. That period of incarceration and the emotional and physical abuse which I suffered so acutely suddenly frothed into recall and inundated me with the agony of it all; and I recollected the solemn vow I had made to never allow myself to be parted from her again…until death we do part, I had sworn. And yet now with the advent of her departure, I still refused to say goodbye. “Mamma, I cant let you go,” I said flatly as I fought to restrain tears of grief.
She smiled and said, “Dont be so silly, theyre my family…thats where I belong.” “You belong with me…they can wait,” I told her sternly as she threw her eyes urgently towards the building.
“ But I can’t,” she replied with a warming smile as she took me in her arms and brushed her lips loving across mine before beginning her advancetowards the building. “Mom, youre staying with me,” I snapped as I lunged forward and grabbed her arm by way of restraint, in spite of which she still managed to drag me a few paces toward the building. “No, mom,” I begged as I placed a firmer grip on her other arm and pinned her in place. “Marty please,” she begged, “let me go, darling. Let me go.”
Her imploring so frightened me that my embrace upon her involuntarily tightened as I urged her not to worry because I was here and that I would always look after her. But she shook her head in a defiant gesture and tried to break from my hold. I was dreading an increase of the struggle between us when Gavin came through the apartment block entrance and stood by the open double doors some twenty feet from us. I felt my mother attempt to lunge forward towards him, but my arms greedily held her back. Oh Christ what was happening? Why couldnt I just wake up from this fucking nightmare! Urgently I looked to my brother for some kind of lifeline, but he just stood there and dowsed me with an incredibly compassionate and loving look and then he spoke to my mother vocally instead of telepathically.
“I know you want to come, mom…and we want you to,” he said gesturing to the balconies above overflowing with cheery smiles and waving arms, “but Martys great love and fear of loss is holding you back. Hes still deeply attached to the pain of desertion that he felt when he was sent away from home, so its understandable that he wants to keep you with him. Why dont you stay a little bit longer and by doing so make up for that act of abandonment on your part?Dont worry my darling, therell be another bus coming along for you soon enough; and well still be here waiting.” He smiled so affectionately that I felt that he now too was undergoing the very same pain of departure that I had endured as a small boy. “Would you be happy to do that?” he asked in an encouraging tone.
For a long moment I felt myself to be in a vacuum and then I saw her head drop in some gesture of resignation and then lift up to slowly nod her consent. My brother smiled a congratulatory smile and then solemnly told me to make the most of what little time remained as a result of this reprieveand then with a healing smile he said, “God Bless you Sprite,” and casually walked into the disappearing depths of that strange building.
Suddenly the sound of traffic became painfully apparent and I could smell the pollution in the air and I felt that the worst was over. Then unexpectedly I felt my mothers body become limp in my arms as she sagged with her full weight dragging me downwards. At first I thought she might have fainted as I eased her bulk gently onto the grass and propped her head upon the thigh of my outstretched leg.But she hadnt fainted as such; her eyes were wide open and full of tears and a glazed agonising sadness and I knew she felt betrayed and that she was blaming me for holding her back when it was her wish to go…and a piece of heart brokeaway like a rogue bull elephant thats no longer fit to travel with the herd he has loved for so long.
I was trying to rationalise her feelings in conjunction with my own when a look swept across her face that plunged me in the deep end of the panic pool. It was the face of death and I realised that she was dying right before my eyes. Then she looked at me from far away as the life force ebbed, and with the last of her energy she raised a gentle smile of forgiveness and absolute love before she convulsed softly and slumped in my arms. The horror of that moment engulfed me so intensely that I screamed a scream so primal in its pain that it rattled my very bones and served to wake myself up out of that horrific nightmare. Polly sprung up like a mother ready to defend its young with her life only to find me a shivering, sweating, frightened and weeping wreck.
Polly Tailor was a divorced mother of two beautiful children under the age of seven with whom I had been living amicably with for over a year. Previously I had spent a great deal of my life either living with others in rented houses or renting at home as it suited. Under my belt dangled the scalps of several women with whom I had been at one time or another deeply involved; all decent and well-intentioned women for whom I still held high regard. Needless to say the failure of those relationships lay squarely with me and my inability to commit. My nature was basically self serving and it was not unusual for me to make any manner of excuses for my behaviour in order to get what I wanted; and I could be cold and calculating and certainly manipulative with ease. Butby the time of the dreams appearance I was starting tomature and understand the „ins and outs of human love relationships, certainly enough to consider our making a marriage. She was eager to have another child, which instead of putting me to flight with fear seemed strangely attractive and intriguing. Such was my love for her.
However I could not rid myself of the impending sense of doom that the dream in question had evoked. Usually I will tell my mom everything, but I could not tell her of this dream for fear of upsetting her. Being something of a psychic herself she would in all probability take it as some kind of omen of things to come. In any event for the following months I was slavishly devoted to spending time with her believing that I might be losing her at any moment. But then as time went by I settled down and rid myselfof the dreams influence and become more involved in my own plans with Polly and soon the dreams impetus toward familial involvement faded and life went back to its well worn routines. Chapter 3.“My heart is a calcified rock, a tombstone upon which is brutally carved my beloved mothers name”…Catriona Bor.
I can vividly recall the first measured steps of my mothers decli ne towards her untimely death and the start of my own imminent fall into the depths of depression and detachment from involvement with life in general which heralded the slow insidious disintegration of my own outward self.
Almost a year after that dream of great disturbance my mother became ill. She started to lose weight rapidly and became tired and weak and after a thorough consultation and examination with a round of specialists she was diagnosed with a terminal and inoperable cancer. My world was shattered and the old boarding school nemesis of fear, doubt, rage and helplessness began once more to make serious inroads into my state of normalcy and well being. The shit had finally hit the fan and the fabric of my world was about to unravel and upturn me into a bundle of raw and confused loose ends.
I expect I should be grateful that my mothers death was a comparatively quick one. She had smartly made up her mind not to linger and cause her family any additional grief and was quite nonchalant about being able to make that choice. Various medical staff had warned her to expect a period of protracted pain which of course they reassured her would be kept to a minimum with the use of painkillers. From the time of her diagnoses to the time of her death several weeks later, she held her head high, kept her composure and positive attitude and acquitted herself with a dignity befitting her basic nature.
Even in her dying she did the right thing by making sure that she had the strength and will to stay at home and enjoy her family as much as she could before having to be finally hospitalised. However, for us, her last week in hospital was a hell of emotional rude awakenings and bitter acceptances. She was often under the heavy influence of painkillers which resulted in the creation of a strange foggy incoherence on her part, which denied us of some considerable time that might have been spent more valuably. I took leave from work to be with her constantly and my vigilance at her bedside was strongly supported by my father and my sister Louise as we split shifts so that if she spoke or was rational, one of us would be in attendance to let her know that we were still there and just how much we loved her. I suffered openly with tears and bitter sadness, while my father and sister suffered in strong silence, as was their way. They had been the solid ones to make all the necessary impending arrangements while I went privately insane. And for the first time in my life I really prayed in a spiritual sense for some kind of salvation from my impending state of insanity, and if it meant clutching at fictitious straws I was happy to do so.
I was most definitely not a religious man, but I did consider myself a borderline contender for something mystical should it ever happen; and until such a state occurred I determined to remain an Agnostic. My mother had always been a devotee of Spiritualism and through her I got to be quite comfortable with it theoretically. Yet paradoxically as a teenager I had feasted on reading science fiction and all matters occult and super natural. As an active spiritualist my mother had some amazing experiences to recount. During her years of regular meetings and séances she had seen and handled ectoplasm, that milky fluidic substance that is considered in Spiritualist circles as being the very stuff of life, which unfortunatelydoesnt maintain its structure for very long in our atmosphere and therefore science has never had the opportunity to analyse its molecular composition. Some devotees propose that when the time is right for the people of the earth to evolve further, ectoplasm will become available for analysis and from this analysis a great new knowledge and understanding of the universe, the spiritual realms and our future directions, will be revealed.
She had also seen the materialisation of spiritual forms and been physically fragmented into four pieces herself and sent up into the high corners of the séance room, where from that fragmented perspective she briefly recollected four previous earthly life existences and the manner in which she had died. She had been bequeathed her own personal spiritual guide, an American Indian named Little Oak, who on several occasions had spoken through her in trance states. The first time of his appearance, his huge bulk caused her blouse to burst its buttons and tear at the seams as his presence over shadowed her lithe form while the booming power of his voice made her throat ache for a week afterward. She hadbeen witness to the „trumpet effect, where voices of deceased persons can succinctly communicate through a simply made voice enhancing trumpet. She also had a facility for performing psychic readings by merely handling the personal articles of others; a watch, a ring, a pair of spectacles, an old button or book, they all told a metaphysical story which my mother was somewhat able to translate.
As a boy I was naturally spellbound by her stories and often attended the meetings of the Society, but aside from the enjoyment of seeing others receiving comfort and pleasure, I never felt any great movement within my own spiritual breast. It never disappointed her that I was not of the same ilk as her in that respect. She always said that a person had a whole lifetime in which the Spirit could make itself known, and in her honest estimation no-one, irrespective of their culture or creed or outright negative disposition was beyond the reach of the Spiritual force. In fact I have a rather cherished memory regarding a healing session that was held expressly for me as a small boy.
I was in a warm room of our home at the time. I say warm, not in the sense that the house was heated, but rather there was in the room, an energetic warmth of atmosphere. I was lying naked except for a pair of shorts, on a blanketed tabletop with a small pillow under my head while the room was dimly lit with candles. Standing over me with their arms extended above my bodywere my mother and three other “devotees” of the Faith. It seemed I had been sick with something for some time and it was decided to give me a “hands on” healing session. I dont know if it worked or not, but the poignant point for me is that I can recall feeling peculiarly comfortable during the proceedings, and for me personally there has always been a something special about that event. It is a recollection of emotion that I used throughout my boarding school years to calm and give me solace at a time when I was trapped and struggling in a storm of pain and fearful confusion. But there at my mothers deathbed a cry went out from me to that which was indefinable and unknown to me, for some kind of miracle. I so desperately wanted to give conviction to my pleas, but I always harbouredthe doubt that there was any “God-thing” that could step into the breech and slay my demons; yet still I begged and prayed and supplicated. I even promised that if It would deliver my mother from this certain death, I would seek forever to know and give of myself to „It by way of thanks. Do this, I said, and I swearIll be a good Christian soldier evermore, and I believe I meant it. It was suddenly so easy to believe now that I had a very valid reason to do so. But as the weeks rolled by like a steamroller over my feelings I finally realised there was no help coming and thats when the cracks of defeat widened into gulfs of apathy and surrender and I would writhe with anguish as I recalled a history of events involving her and I from my early childhood to the present, thereby turning a process of honest grieving into a neurotic ritual of emotional self flagellation.
In those last moments of false hope I wanted chronically to believe what my mom believed…that as spiritual personalities we exist after death and in a realm where no fear exists and new avenues of loves expression are open to our perusal, as much, if not more so, than they are during physical existence.And given that belief creates ones personal reality, then from an optimistic point of view, anything was possible. But because I had no empirical point, no defining moment of actual experience upon which to build a bridging belief, such an after death scenario could have no credence whatsoever. And so in the final analysis there was no divining power whatsoever, only an instinctual force driven by the sole need to survive before the raw truth of death brings life to its close. After all the death I had seen at the hospital, I knew enough to know that the sun would soon pass over us and caste our forms as nothing but thin shadows on the ground; and that when the substance of the flesh had fled its bones, the fictitious Soul would be nowhere to be found.
We were all present the night our Queen passed away…and not by coincidence either. Two days prior to her passing she had slipped out of her morphine induced nether world to greet my sister and I with lucidity as we sat the vigil with her in her private room. After almost five days of fragmented awareness, muttered sentences of gobbledygook, groans and grimaces of pain, something in her had sprung back to life with a temporary vengeance and she was her vital self once more. Lus first impulse was to call Dad and get him over as quick as possible so we could all talk, but Mom halted her. „Dont bother the old sausage, she said, „by the time he gets here Ill be back in gaga land.
„Gaga land? Lu asked with a creasing frown.
„Yes dear, she said calmly. „You know, that heavenly realmwhere Ive been while I havent been here. And then she instantly dismissed the validity of her own remark.„Oh, never mind all that, she added, „youll know what I mean one day. Now tell me, whats been happening with the family?
When we were done talking we just sat there in a kind of vacuumed silence for several drawn out moments while noisy emotions strutted and fretted upon the stage of our whirring insides. Then she asked Lu to arrange a lunchtime picnic for tomorrow with her and Polly and their respective kids in the lovely Chapel surrounds, after which the immediate family were to gather around her bedside at seven that same evening when she would be ready to receive and bid her fond farewell.
„Its time my babies, she said decidedly, which was the straw that broke the emotional camels back and Lu and I hugged her respectively and wept like the two little babies we once were. She comforted us as she had always done with her quiet strength and told us not to be the slightest bit concerned for her because she“had seen the„other side and that it was like no place on earth”. She laughed at her own quip and the music of her laughter only served to drive deeper the stake of foreboding into my heart. „Whoops, here I go again, see you then my darlings, she said hurriedly as she slipped back into the comfort zone of her drug-induced oblivion.
At seven oclock my sister, father and I huddled around our beloveds bedside with the scent of fresh flowers in the enclosed room. My mother had been alert for most of the day, writing some last minute letters and visiting others in the ward before her arranged picnic lunch and heartfelt farewells to Polly and all the kids. Now showered and reclining on her bed with a bit of make-up delicately applied, she looked more like a convalescing lady of leisure than a person about to die. She was very chirpy and animated and her presence brought us all to life. We spoke openly of many things and raked through a history of memories; and then as the evening wore on she asked us individually to talk with her in private. My sister went in first and came out some time later with streaking tears to suit her muffled sobs and quickly made her exit to the outside gardened area where our father was. Then I went in, feeling numb and confused and dreading the very thing I had feared all my life…saying goodbye to my mother forever.
The room of a dying person is a strange place for anyone to be, let alone a son and his mother. I lay beside her on the bed with our hands entwined as I had done a hundred times before throughout the course of our life together. There were confessions and apologies made and undying love declared on both our parts. We talked of the family and the potential new grandchild that would come from Polly…and she said that seeing me happy made departure easier for her becauseI was her “special one” and my happiness had always been her prime concern, especially during those torturous years for us both when I was away at boarding school.
She told me not to be concerned for her because she was more than ever convinced that there was a place for her to go to when she closed her eyes tonight, and that I should hold on to that belief as a means of comfort. She spoke of the interesting life that she “knew” I was going to have and there was a distinct reference to one day wielding a very profound influence regarding the empowerment of others. This all had something to do with the approaching New Age when there would be great challenges to meet and overcome. After we had finished and were lying quietly in embrace, she took a breath and said something that rocked me off my perch. „Gavin is here with me now…and this time youre not going to hold me back. A faint smile curled around her lips as she eyeballed me with a lively look.
I couldnt believe what I had just heard. Was it possible she was actually referring to that dreadful prophetic dream? Yet there was no way she could have known about that. Only Polly and I knew and it was agreed that it would remain our secret. „Im sorry, mom, you got me there. It must be the morphine theyre giving you. Got any left over? I said playing dumb while I tried to gain some mental equilibrium. She smiled and sighed as if she knew I was being duplicitous.„Okay, Ill come clean with you, she said. „I know about the dream. I didnt before, but I do now. Gavin has reminded me about it. Again my head went into a spin. How the hell could this be? All I could think of was that perhaps Polly had betrayed my confidence and blabbed it to her that afternoon. Still, my curiosity was swamped with the desire to know more. „What dream? I asked, trying to control my disbelief.
She laughed a short soft laugh and slapped me affectionately on the thigh and calmly explained scene by scene, the dream of the apartment building with the balconies of people and Gavin wanting her to go into the building with him and my refusing to let her go, while all I could do was lay there in a stupor and question how this could be. „Dont try and work it out…just try trusting that such magic is, she said with a rub of her hand over mine. There was a long drawn out silence between us before I was able to clearly articulate again.
„ Momma,I couldnt let you go then any more than I can now, I told her as fresh tears raked my cheeks. She cuddled me and said that she knew how I had always felt about good-byes ever since that poolside departure so long ago when she abandoned me at boarding school. Then she explained that the dream had been a significant step in the process of my coming to terms with my fear of farewell. „It was intended that you would be given time to understand that you should joyfully let me go, without fear for your own concern. She took a breath and gave my hand a squeeze before continuing.
„There was no need for usto have gone through it like this, she said solemnly. „If you had accepted while in the dream, the responsibility of allowing me the choice to go of my own accord without your own concerns there to block me, then I would simply have passed away in my sleep one evening after a good meal together with the whole family, instead of having to put us through all this unnecessary business. She paused and then stated pointedly that I was in no way to blame myself because she had agreed for her own reasons to stay and see it out this way. „I stayed on for you then…but now I go for me, she said turning her eyes to face mine and smiled lovingly.
Tears bittersweet clawed once more at my cheeks as she squeezed my hand and told me how much she had always revered these bedside chats of ours. Then she insisted that I was not to fall into some morbid state of depression once she was gone, becauseshe wouldnt really be gone, and that from where she was going she would be with me more than ever. „Death is just letting go of a bag of old bones and a setting free of the ever youthful and vital spiritual self, she said factually. „From here I go into a glory of my own making with all that I love and desire. And as I came here to prepare a place for you, my darling son, so do I go into that other world to prepare yet another place for you and I to be together, ever more, world without end.
„How do you know this, Momma? I asked, looking into the bright pools of her eyes, tears
staining mine . „Because I believe it, you dork, she said in a mocking tone of chastisement, „and one day you will believe it too. Her head went up to my cheek and she kissed me softly and whispered in my ear. „Go with faith and wisdom and joyousness throughout the days of your life. You know I do so love you, my darlinglittle boy, she said unable to contain her own tears and together we wept in the vastness of those profound and painful moments of closure and farewell. Then we embraced tightly and I knew my time with her was up and I did my damndest to collect myself from the far off places that I had been flung emotionally.
„Now go and get that mean old Mr. Mustard and Ill talk to you all a little later, okay? she said with half a sob and half a smile, butI knew there would be no “little later” and it took some torturous seconds to calm myself enough to unfurl from her embrace. Then when I was composed I kissed her softly on her lips and told her how much I loved her and how sorry I was to have put her through all this and that I would never again not let someone go out of my life without love, and then without looking back I hurriedly joined my sister down in the courtyard for emotional support and although I had given up cigarettes over a year ago, I now very much needed one or two or twenty. What the hell…the way I was feeling Id be happy to die right there and then myself
An hour passed by while my sister and I discussed some of what our mother had said to each of us and how we could best support one another. It was a balmy night and I noticed for the first time that week that the moon was almost full and I could feel the familiar melancholy of the lunar cycle erupting from giant volcanoes within my being. Halfway through my tenth cigarette and my thousand private fearful thoughts, our father approached us, and looking into his eyes we could see there was a profound change in the man we had known all our lives. His eyes were bright and bristling with a tearful compassion neither of us had ever seen as he moved solemnly towards us with his arms extended in gesture of embrace.
„Shes gone, he said, as if he was talking about a houseguest, but we knew how much it wa s tearing his poor heart apart. „I watched her leave…she was very pleased and peaceful, he said, trying to keep his stoical cool; but when our arms wrapped around each other in a group hug there was no longer any containment of emotional upheaval on my or my sisters part and a terrible unrestrained weeping united us as one in our dreadful loss.
„ Theres no point in going up there andtheres no point in being here any more, he finally said swallowing hard and assuming his cool and commanding and role; after all, he was our leader, the captain of our ship and he felt it his duty to be strong and hold his family together. „The staff will collect her possessions and Ill come in tomorrow and pick them up and then well see her off next Sunday, he said with the old aloofness returned to his voice, but we knew he was finding this very hard. „Were on our own now, he said, his trembling shoulders conveying the pain of his great loss. And then for the first time in my life, he broke down emotionally and had to quickly walk away from us. It was a defining moment for the three of us in the course of a cruel journey through the last few months.Chapter 4.
“The parasitical seed of sad thought seeks for its disastrous adventure, any eager host”…Lucy Wheeler.
From the point of my mothers d eath onwards, I slipped head and heart into the murky world of guilt and depression. I knew I was crumbling at the edges and as each piece of me broke away the whole self, I grew weaker and more fragile. I stopped eating and lost weight and started drinking and indulging in pot and amphetamine based drugs to try and cope with my overwhelming feelings of despondency, and then I used Vallium and sleepers to try and get some much needed sleep. I became aggressively embittered and anti social and as a result my job started to suffer. I took compassionate leave which I spent in becoming more isolated and depressed. I began behaving like a tyrant in the household, causing Polly and the kids to become wary of me without realising the repercussions of my wild mood swings until it was too late.
Polly did all she possibly could under the circumstances, but I was making it increasingly difficult for her and the rest of my family to reach out to me. She insisted several times that I see a psychologist which I refused outright to do and her insistence felt like a betrayal and I only fought with her more. She had warned me often enough that if things didnt improve then there was a chance that I might lose her, but I was so steeped in morbidity I just couldnt take anything seriously. I was going under and I wouldnt stop until I hit the sucking quagmire at the bottom of my dark and depressing descent. Several times I became mildly physically violent and one afternoon when my father confronted me about it, I lost the plot altogether and psychically assaulted him rather badly, which only alienated me further and deepened my guilt and self loathing which I insanely masked with indifference to all and sundry.
After several months Polly made her break from me permanent and moved in with her younger sister. I begged her to give me yet another chance, but I had burnt too many badly built bridges and she was adamant her love had changed and no amount of protestation or change on my part could convince her she could trust me with her heart. It was over and a restraining order only made it obviously official and now the two women I loved the most had become lost to me and I began to wonder if life was worth living. Each day I would drag myself through my workplace duties while creating conflict with my workmates and my supervisors. My overall health declined and I started experiencing the same strong suicidal tendency that I had entertained so seriously as a schoolboy in exile. I spent one week to the next playing juggler to my suicidal desires on one hand, and my fantasies of rebirth and renewal through the medium of my art, on the other.
As well as having been a polished amateur stage actor for many years, I also considered myself to be quite a fair writer. Since my teens I had been writing short stories, one act plays and poetry; to be creative and think imaginatively had long been a cornerstone of my persona. And for a long time I had been harbouring a dream that one day I would be released from my prison of fears and write a novel proper to make my Mistress Muse proud. By the time I met Polly I had already almost completed a collection of my better poetry into a well developed treatment accompanied with representative collage art of my own, and I had successfully started a novel based upon a one-act play of mine which was making excellent headway until the shitof my mothers death hit the fan.
Sharing digs with two mates of mine from the hospital was made easier by our sharing the same addictions to drink and drugs and the flesh. And for better or worse I was happy to ghost along with things the way they were. And then suddenly I discovered I was impotent. The fear of failure in sex is an insidious ill, particularly in a man. At first I thought my inability to sustain an erection was just a temporary phase brought about by my refusal to let go of my emotions regarding Polly. But then in no time I could not manage an erection at all. I was devastated and I wondered if the increased intake of alcohol and a variety of drugs had something to do with my libido, so I cut right back. But after several weeks the problem remained so I simply slipped back into my previously hedonistic lifestyle.
My absenteeism from the workplace became chronic and although I still maintained my compassionate ethic for hospital patients, I became increasingly belligerent and unnecessarily quick tempered with others which only served to feed my supervisors a sweet feast of reasons to have me sacked. After several attempts to do so, and each time being rescued from the brink by the Workers Union, I was firmly told that by my Union representative, “If youdont clean up your act then you had better join another circus, because this one already had its quota of clowns.”
Cynicism, morbidity and acute depression became my mood of permanence until one evening I found myself cock sucking the barrel tip of an old 303 rifle and repeatedly depressing the trigger with my thumb to feel the jarring crash of the hammer pin smashing home on an empty chamber until my head, jaws and teeth ached with a dull pain which I knew potentially heralded the actuality of a suicidal bid. But I didnt care in the least. In fact, I amused myself with the various ways in which I might achieve my release, making mental selections of those means that I found the most appealing.
The gun was too messy and I was never into all that macho Hemingway shit. Slitting my wrists in a bathtub seemed peaceful enough, but the thought of emulating the decadent of ancient Rome turned me off. Laying my head on the railway tracks frightened the hell out of me, whereas careering of a cliff face on my faithful old Honda 350 seemed an appropriate end for both man and machine. Drowning was anathema to me, but not so gassing myself, and hanging by the neck like some criminal simply left me cold. In the end a drug overdose was my preference of choice and it came down to one of two choices; to go to a secluded part of the beach on a lovely day just before an incoming tide and take a huge overdose of valium washed down with whiskey [with the purpose to send me into a deep sleep] and then attach a few of heavy bar bell weights to my neck, which would insure my head would not float up when the tide came back in to drown me proper. A dead certainty, I mused. But in the final analysis a heroin overdose in the place of my choosing got top vote and the remembrance of the locked tunnel way sealed the decision to find my solace in suicide.
I was howeverdetermined to ease my familys sense of guilt and pain as much as I could under the circumstances and so I video taped a complete self interview in which I explained that they were in no way to blame for my speedy ruin and final demise. I explained the fault lay with my neurotic/psychotic consuming loss of my mother. I told them each how much I loved them and regretted that things should come to such a cruel conclusion and I begged their forgiveness. Finally I read out a Last Will and Testament detailing which of my possessions went to whom, which served to be quite a cathartic experience. I left the video with the same friend who would later alert my supervisors of my smelly presence in the tunnel way, with instructions to give it to my sister after a certain period of my absence. Chapter 5.
Reliving those events in that crypt like tunnel way served to strengthen my resolve to act as planned. I got out my walkman CD player, slipped the earphones into place and pressed PLAY…Beethovens Moonlight Sonata blasted into my ears with the exquisite pleasure that only that kind of music could elicit. I had looped the Sonata several times to give me a continuous playing time of about an hour. I listened to that beautiful music for several minutes and gently sank into the euphoria of peaceful escape that it so often produced in me. And then when I was ready I took the syringe from the spectacle case and lined up the bulging artery and inserted the hypodermic up to its hilt. Very gently I eased a fifth of the deadly contents into my artery, just enough to create the hint of euphoria needed to deal with the final approach. Then I just let it lay there while I cleared my mind and let the music dictate my imagery and mood.
I could feel my whole being become lighter as my burden rose up through me and into the atmosphere of that music. I was floating with the melody, rising and swaying and bobbing like a feather in a breeze of musical notes when suddenly an image of my mother as a young woman appearedin my minds eye. She floated with the music and her thin blonde curls quivered as if a light wind were bathing over her. For several very intense seconds I joyfully soaked up her image; and then I heard a voice speak from within the vision; but it was not her voice.
“Were not going through all this again, are we?” it demanded to know. The question was clear and concise and I sensed in its tone something familiar “Were not going to go through all this again, are we?” it repeated, and to be sure there was something strangely familiar about the voice. It was neither male nor female and I was about to make a concerted effort to try and recall its origin when the realisation struck me that it was the same voice I had heard decades ago one late evening when as a boy on my return to boarding school, I stood in the coupling area between two railway carriages of a speeding train and prepared to leap to my death on the barren plain.
In an instant the recollection of that event was as much upon me as I was within it, and I recalled how that macabre night a voice had appeared quite audibly in my head advising me not to commit the act of self-murder and detailed the reasons why. It told me that my anguish would pass soon enough and that my death would only cause great grief to my family in general and my mother in particular. It also said that this boarding school experience was the basis for my future betterment as a human being and would bode well for the rest of my life. Instantly I resisted making that fatal leap.
But then no sooner having resisted there appeared another voice…a voice with a sharp edge to it that urged me with opposing reason to stay committed to my act of suicide in order to escape from the terrible pain of my boarding school existence. It tried to convince me that my parents did not care for my well being and reminded me how my father had scoffed at my desperate pleas to be removed from that terrible place and that my mother had made no real effort to influence my father to the contrary. “Oh sure she wishes you were home, but what worth are wishes… and dont think the horror is going to end soon because it wont…it will go on as long as theres no-one who cares enough about you to make things change. Believe me, this is the best choice, leap, leap and find an end to your pain.” And so again I prepared to hurl myself from that speeding train and again the first voice set to influence me not to do so. It me gently explained that my boarding school experience would ultimately prove to be the greatest treasure of all; that from its pain and confusion would grow the seedlings of strength of spirit and wisdom and the test was to simply endure the anguish a little longer, assuring me that it would end soon enough. That said I pulled back from my intention to leap once more only to have the second voice counter the first and set to convince me to jump into the welcome oblivion of that night.
Obviously in the end the first voice won me over, and it did so by suggesting that should I survive the jump, there was no guarantee that I would die instantly. And then it played on my great fear of hyenas and the knowledge of what those bone crunching jaws could do to my small and possibly still alive body. And it was that thought alone that was enough to make me choose to live and endure the continued dread of those terrible boyhood days. Of that strange episode I could only conclude that it was a hallucination brought about by the great mental and emotional stress that had driven me to the very point of extinction. And of course that is exactly how I now rationalised the return of the first voice.
But what had become of that second voice, the voice to urge me to end it all, I mentally asked myself? Should it not be playing its part in this debate? I waited but no second voice spoke and I wondered if this meant that I was to resist again my suicidal venture? In my vision my mothers face loomed large and then her lips moved in mime as that second voice spoke. “Its your choice, my son. It has always been and always will be your choice.” And then I saw great tears run like acidic scarsdown my mothers cheeks as her image slowly faded leaving me in the semi blackness of the tunnel withBeethovens music suddenly come alive again.
A feeling of bitter anguish swept through me with such force that all I wanted to do was give the wildest howl ever and let my pain burst forth; but then I realized that my howl might well alert someone in the outside world and so I repressed my agonising urge to do so, which was just the impetus I needed to help fulfil my suicidal bid. My hand went straight to the syringe sleeping in my artery and I readied myself to begin the slow squeeze, and for the first time in a long time I felt a wave of ensuing relief from the pressures of my private torment.
But as Fate or the peculiarities of life would have it, the moment I began to push the syringe home, a huge rat toppled on top of me from the electrical conduit on the wall above my head and landed square on the back of my neck, where I felt with revulsion the struggle of its tiny furious claws as it tried to escape from the tangle of my long hair. This so startled the hell out me that I jerked the syringe out of my arm and sent it smashing against the facing concrete wall which served to break the hypodermic squarely off at its base, leaving the implement of my demise a useless wreck. Fuck it! Fuck it! Fuck it! I could not believe my misfortune at such a golden opportunity lost.
For a few moments I gathered my thoughts. Okay, what was done was done. I would have another attempt at a later date, but for now I should get the hell out of that tunnel. Before blowing out the kerosene lamp, I gave a quick spray paint blast to obliterate my signature on the wall of my vilification and begrudgingly slunk out to a nearby park where I promptly finished off the contents of the whiskey bottle and fumed at my missed opportunity. I realised that becauseI had been at the Abysss edge, where all fear had dissolved, I was now more determined than ever to succeed in my suicidal bid and the next time there would be no mistakes.
“I welcome any greeting, save that of the hospital hello”… Warren Elliot.
And these were my mental reflections as I stood on the rooftop of the Multi Story Wing of the Redslopes General Hospital where I was only just surviving as an employee. I could feel the old urge building up in me, even then, to take the plunge from six stories up. Not long after the building was erected, I and a few select staff members enjoyed the privacy of the rooftop during our day and night working shifts. The view of the central city was quite impressive and many were the nights we enjoyed the spectacle of the city lights while sharing a joint and a drink, but like the underground tunnel, the rooftop had since been listed as off limits and locked. But thanks to my friendship with one of the security officers I had managed to secure a key to allow we select few, easy access at our leisure; and so it became our private sanctuary.
It was a safe house from which to avoid prowling supervisors when we found time to do so and we used this area during legitimate and non legitimate breaks from work. For reasons of rest and recreation we had two or three mattresses and pillows stashed on the rooftop where we could take naps. We also used our haven for a variety of activities ranging from alcohol and pot smoking ventures to the occasional sortie with a member of the opposite sex. We had a signal method worked out that would alert the others as to what might be going on before entering the rooftop area. For instance; an upright broom in the corner of the stairwell of the rooftop doorway meant that there was some penetrating sexual business at hand, and so please exercise discretion. The broom lying on the ground meant alcohol was in use and possibly some pot; and the broom standing upside down in the corner explained that none were occupying the area at all. But the broom with its head separated from the handle meant“WARNING! DANGER!Will Robinson”.
The secrecy surrounding our accessibility was paramount. We were a loyal bunch of bandits and took great care not to be seen on the rooftop. Fortunately the building was the highest building of the hospital complex and so observation of us from the other buildings was out of the question unless one stood at the half-wall boundary of the buildings edge. So other than by direct aerial observation we remained unseen and ran a pretty tight and loyal ship. From time to time an ambulance helicopter would fly patients in, but that was only on rare occasions and we were always well warned by their noisy throbbing rotors. Most of us, as Porterage Personnel were issued with standard two-way radios with which the supervisors could keep track of us as they issued us our portage duties, which could include anything from transporting patients and luggage, to collecting a piece of paper from a clerk in one department and delivering it to a clerk in another department, even if that other department was thirty feet away from the first department. God bless bureaucracy. I worked as a Porter and Cleaner in the Emergency Accident and Casualty Department, know as EAC.
I had worked in EAC for eight years and was the senior serving Orderly in that department which is the first line of defence in the long war against sickness in the chain of command that runs a large city hospital. We see the patients first, assess their condition and then direct the initial stages of their hopeful recovery. My duties as such included offloading the patient from the ambulance or private vehicle into a trolley bed or a wheel chair. From there the clerical, nursing and medical staffs set about their business. In the meantime I may be required to ferry blood specimens, documentation, surgical instruments and pharmaceuticals to and from their respective departments. I can be responsible for the patients comfort and getting him or her something to eat or drink as well as assisting with their ablutions and in some cases their restraint.
Generally I am always stationed at my work desk, and although I am not directly involved with Porterage Control, I am privy to all their conversations, commands, comments and humorous banter via my own two-way radio. Having such a radio on my person allows me the freedom to roam at will around the hospital, knowing that if I am suddenly needed, the nursing charge sister will call me up on her two-way radio and issue me instructions. In such an instance I can be on deck in less than a minute, regardless of where I am within the hospital complex if I run. For that matter, I could be anywhere beyond the hospital boundaries and quite often was. A common practice was having a few drinks and watching TV with a friend who lived in a nearby street. With my two- way radio turned on I could sit, sip and toke to my hearts content while keeping an ear tuned to the ebb and flow of radio communication.
It was a good job and a great life if you kept your back covered, which I always made sure I did. Over the years I had made serious enemies among my supervisors due to my rebelliousness and frontal attacks upon them in writing, in which I exposed their corruption of timecards, toadyism and soft job selection for those they liked and shitty jobs forthose they didnt. I had fought several successful battles with them and having becoming public enemy number one they watched and waited for any opportunity to hang my scalp off their belt. Naturally in recent months I had given them ample opportunity to cause them to increase their scrutiny of my every movement. Henceforth caution became the order of my every working day.
Standing on the rooftop afforded me at that moment the pleasure of a pleasant late afternoon masterpiece. Earlier it had been raining and out over the suburban limits heavy squalls looked ready to buck the city once again. The waning sun was sinking into the last throes of its golden goodbye and the massive purple rain clouds made quite a contrast with the huge white cloudbanks in the background that were now slowly tingeing into copper coated monoliths. It was a sublime sight which immediately plunged me into blissful recollections from my childhood in Africa and that state of supreme contentment that I went on to spend the rest of my life trying to recapture to compensate for the skulking fears that have been lifelong disturbances to me.
“Emotional, mental and spiritual hieroglyphics constitute the anatomy of a single family”…. Julia Dinham.
I was born in Northern Rhodesia in its last months of existence as such before its Independence when it was henceforth known as Zambia. My father who was a native of South Africa worked on the huge copper mines that dotted what became known as the Copper belt, which at that tine was one of the major suppliers of copper to the world. He had mined underground before breaking into the field of plant and machine operating and could drive just about every type of vehicle known; fork lifts, graders, steam rollers, bulldozers, excavators and a range of farming machinery.He was very much a mans man and a heavy drinker who was quick to give argument and negative judgement and who seemed incapable of demonstrating his softer side which he kept under wraps all his life.
But in spite of his machismo makeup, he was a good provider and protector and a fair father as things went. I of course was never able to live up to his expectations and ceased early in life to try. We were at cross purposes most of our lives in one way or the other. For one thing I had a tremendous affinity and attachment to my mother which he resented to some degree. Nothing that I could do well was good enough for him and I was ever hopeful that he would one day become the accepting and encouraging father I dreamed of. My youngersister on the hand was „his girl. They shared the same affinity that my mother and I did with each other simply because they were alike in nature. When Independence came about, like so many Europeans living in Northern Rhodesia we moved to our sister state of Southern Rhodesia which soon was to become famous for its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the British Commonwealth and was thereafter known as Rhodesia and which would later enter into a protracted military struggle with the black nationalist parties.
Life in Rhodesia was as affluent as it had been in Northern Rhodesia; two cars, a boat, servants and broken holidays every year in South Africa, Mozambique and Tanganyika. My father was responsible for my early devotion to nature brought about by regular weekends of camping in the bush, canoeing and shooting and frequenting the many game parks. Life was an absolute joy until the shit hit the fan at the age of ten when I was sent away to a catholic boarding school in South Africa some two thousand miles from my family and home. It crushed me emotionally to be separated and my pain was further compounded by the vicious mental and physical abuse that I suffered at the hands of the Brothers responsible for my care; one in particular became my great petty tyrant. Brother Breadman was my first taste of true fear, persecution and pain and despite all my verbal and written communications of protest and abject sorrow, my father would not relent and withdraw me from that dreaded place. The bitter resentment that I still bear toward my father has its roots in his failure at that crucial time to listen to my protestations with at least a semblance of objectivity and affectionate regard for his only son.
Fortunately, after enduring two years of exile, the political situation in Rhodesia inadvertently came to my rescue. With the rise of military conflict with the terrorists and the global pressure for the country to give the Africans their independence, the writing once again was obvious upon the wall. My father was all for going to South Africa, but my mother knew that the only way she could get me away from my painful predicament was to leave Africa altogether, and so she pushed for Australia citing that what was happening in Rhodesia now would eventually happen in South Africa and that it would be wise to make the final move now and live abroad. My father bought her idea and so at the age of twelve and a half we left Africa and came to Australia, a country which I embraced as my saviour as surely does any refugee from persecution and pain.
Watching from my four storey throne as the bronze sunlight fell on the clouds like welcome shawls, I suddenly I felt as if all might be well with my turbulent world. It was a feeling that corresponded with the sudden emergence of a full blazed double rainbow that started to form and arch before my vision. I have always considered such a sight to be a great natural omen and indeed a thing of beauty. I watched its outer ends fire with a light that moved brightly along its drawn bow to meet at the apex in a fusion of unbroken colour. This was followed by a second though slightly less distinct arch that materialised to ride on the back of the first in its own triumphant glory; twin bands of pulsing hues, iridescent and gleaming and reminiscent of that fairyland wonder to which I thrilled as a child and which I knew so well was reminder of the Biblical event of the Great Flood. For it was through this same parallel archway that the dove Noah sent forth returned with olive branch in beak to bring the good news ofthe earths salvation.
It has been my habit with rainbows that I send a vocalised wish through the archway in order that it may reach the ears of the Cosmic Gods whose purpose is to send me back those same wishes answered and fulfilled. I have been performing this ritual since I was five years of age when our African house-servant Jasson, informed me in his mystical manner, “that beyond the magic bow of colour the King of archers lived, whose duty was to receive the wishes and the prayers of ordinary men and then decide if they were worthy of fulfilmentor not.” I remembered asking him if I should speak out my wish or just think it. He again favouredme with his Tribal wisdom. “Yes young Nkosi, you must shout out your wishes, for the Gods do not favour weakness in a warriors call. He who is heard shall be answered.”
“And ifthere are other people around?” I queried.
“Ah little hunter, that is the test of the warrior. Will the fear of anothers laughter swallow up the strength of your smallvoice?” he asked solemnly.
“And do Itell others of my wish or not?” I questioned in earnest.
“Why not,” he answered, “the more people you tell, then the stronger the belief in your truth shall become.”
And so out of my regard for Jassons Tribal c ustom I verbally voiced and hurled my wish through that mighty drawn bow to the King of Archers in the hope he wasnt asleep this day. My solemn wish had been for a miracle of salvation that would rescue me from my dangerously depressive existence.I was thinking how I didnt really expect such a miracle to occur when suddenly my solitude was rudely broken by the crackle-cackle of my twoway radio as my supervisor annoyingly reminded me that my lunch break was over and I had best be heading back to my workstation ASP, and so I casually sauntered back to EAC to find one patient ready to go to the ward and another soon to arrive by ambulance. Good, I thought to myself, it looks like being a quiet night.
“For those who wish it, a knowledge profound will come to clear their confused cloud.”…D. W. Booth.
Royston Holl was calmly recalling the two defining moments of his life as he lay swaying in the stretcher of the ambulance that drove him to the Redslopes General Hospital. The first when his wife died unexpectedly, and the second when he was on his knees on the bank of a small river not far from the base of Mount Kilimanjaro in East Africa over a decade ago with a loaded revolver barrel wedged up into the back of his mouth. The motion of the vehicle was not unlike that of a sailing vessel footing through a casual sea; and sailing was something he knew a lot about. He had spent his teenager hood boating with his father in the Moreton Bay area in a sloop rigged trailer sailor they had jointly built in a large rented rural barn. Several times they had sailed into Tin Can Bay and to the lee side of Fraser Island and once accomplished a marathon voyage to Nelson Bay and back, and realising that he hadnt sailed in a long time he determined there and then that before his inevitable death he would commune with the sea in just such a way.
Royston Holl was only too aware that he was dying. He knew that he had several months of good health left before the final curtain and as soon as he was rid of this pneumonia, he would set off on the last leg of his journey to seek out his own death. He also knew the precise manner in which he would pass into that other Kingdom of his beliefs; for he had called it forth with the psychic power of his remarkable personality and it lay expectantly somewhere in far North Queensland. At sixty-nine years of age he had already cheated death for over a decade and now he had no reservations whatsoever about its impending appearance. He smiled broadly and a wave of profound joy swept through his being. My God he thought, how unexpected and grand had been his life since that incredible defining moment embraced him in Africa twelve years ago; and with a feeling of deep gratitude he gently drifted back through the years to the first defining event that would change what remained of his life, forever.
It was his wife s unexpected death at the age of fifty-three. She went to sleep as usual one evening and he woke up beside a corpse. Never having had children they therefore invested in each other all they could of themselves; she had been everything to him and her death left him completely devastated which resulted in his developing a severe depression and within a year he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. He underwent an operation which removed a portion of his alimentary canal followed by the usual radium and chemotherapy procedures which only made him terribly ill and even more despondent. When his doctors suggested further surgery and chemotherapy he wasnt sure if he wanted to go through that despairing process again. In any event he met a young member of the medical staff with whom he developed a trust and following her direct recommendations, he declined further treatment and determined that if he was going to die, he was going to do so with some semblance of dignity and choice on his part. The idea of being ground down by a system of medical procedures and then left to die in the cold sterility of a hospital bed was both macabre and unacceptable.
He and his wife had always planned to do a lengthy tour of Africa upon his retirement and with her now gone he decided to do the trip on his own. He sold his house lock stock and barrel and went touring in Africa with the intention of taking his own life when the pain of his disease became too unbearable. Of course he had no idea when and where that moment would spring itself upon him, but he decided that when it did, he would answer its call with his suicide. For this purpose he bought a thirty two-calibre revolver on the black market in Johannesburg, South Africa before journeying on to Kenya.
And indeed that moment did arrive while he was on a short tour of the low veldt land in the near vicinity of Mount Kilimanjaro. His small party of tourists had broken for a bit of „on their own exploring, some lazing in the sun and others some firing cameras like automatic weapons while they casually strolled through the cradle of mankinds beginnings. Roy split from the party and opted for a lengthy walk to a nearby river where he picked the perfect setting nestled in the broken shade of a river bank with the mesmerising bulk of the great mountain facing him from several kilometres away. He was aged fifty-seven and suffering the pain of acute stomach cancer and now the moment to honour his suicidal pledge had arrived as his finger curled with intent around the stiff trigger. He knew the revolvers workings for he had fired off dozens of rounds during a practice shoot on a farm in Zimbabwe and had familiarised himself with his suicidal pose by cradling the barrel in his mouth with both hands and several times he actually went through the process of squeezing the trigger and feeling the jar of the hammer clanging home.
He now felt a strange delight at having the power for once, over the tenacity of his disease, and it was with some relish that he realised he was about to put his pain out of its pleasure. No more would it course through his intestines with the savagery of a beastly thing gone mad. No more would it stab with unexpected agony causing him to double over and gasp for breath. No more would it rob him of his precious balm in sleep and no more would it be an intrusion into his life. Revenge was now a sweet pill he was wont to swallow and he felt no anxiety as he slipped the barrel up into his throat and imaginatively traced the course of the projectile into the base of his skull. With a weird interest he imagined the end result of his intended suicide with half the back of his head blown away and its contents gouged out like the inner softness of a boiled egg.
His last thoughts were of his beloved wife and although he did not believe in any philosophical or spiritual after life, he felt a strange consolation knowing that as they were once together in life, now they would be together in the meaningless oblivion of death. These thoughts gave him a momentary stay of execution while he burst into a fit of loud sobbing coupled with an uncontrolled rage. He wept wildly and cursed the world and condemned life for its subtle cruelties, its deceptive tricks of betrayal and its ultimate meaninglessness, and when he was spent and ready he resumed his position of fellatio with the gun barrel and waited for another of those ravaging stabs of pain to tear at his stomach, cuing him to answer its brutality with a bullet in his brain.
He observed how strangely peaceful he and the moment were. Everything was so precise and detailed; clarity of vision had engulfed him and he could distinctly remember he had felt isolated but similar moments both as a child and a teenager, moments when time and space seem to tear away from the fabric of normal awareness and lift the unsuspecting self into a state of indescribable detachment, utterly alluring and peaceful. And in that instant of pleasant recollection he felt the power of his decision to act and began his slow squeeze on the trigger of the revolver
But as Fate or the peculiarities of Life would have it, unbeknown to him his wailing and raging had been heard by another of the tourists who was also exploring the river. Following the cries of his anguish she came upon him with barrel fixed in mouth and in an instant she made her presence known and set to chastising him sharply for such wanton disregard for his body, the temple of his spirit. Her sudden appearance nearly served the purpose of causing him to squeeze the trigger home, and as soon as he came out of his fright he promptly told her to bugger off and mind her own business, stating that she had no idea of his circumstances or the severity of its pain. She sternly countered with a “bugger you too” and quickly assured him that there were other means of dealing with dreadful circumstances, be they of disease, ill health, neuroses or madness, other than by the method he proposed.He simply looked at her stupefied when she said, “You repair yourself and heal, step by tender step, not by killing thewhole organism.”“Im dying of cancer, you stupid bitch,” he snapped at her before telling her impolitely to piss off.
But she was not to be put off and merely persisted further, explaining that the same power of the mind that had caused the disease could also negate it, and that the choice to do so rested with him right there in that moment. She also told him quite frankly that she knew how to facilitate the necessary powers in his mind to do so. „A deaf man does not cut off his ears, she said reaching toward his hand, not for the gun, but to give comfort. Roy aggressively thrust her hand aside but she broke through his defence and managed to place her palm upon his face cheek in a gesture that touched him profoundly and sent currents of comfort coursing through his body, and he instinctively knew that he had lost his chance to execute himself and so he wept despondently like a helpless child.
The woman spent a long time consoling him and when he finally was composed he told her his story. She listened with sincerity to his bemoaning and then she told him quite frankly that if he were to surrender himself to her care and administrations for whatever length of time, there existed a real chance of not only recovery, but also rebirth. When he inquired as to what „surrendering himself to her meant exactly, she casually proposed that he simply throw his lot in with her and trust that under her guidance and tuition the process of healing would begin.
“I have fucking cancer,” he said exasperatingly, “medical science cant even heal me. Who are you to think you can cure cancer, Jesus bloody Christ himself?” She calmly agreed that she was not Christ Itself, but rather one of Its angels and that if he would entrust himself to her and take the opportunity that the Universe was now offering him, she could guarantee him a successful chance at a complete convalescence.
Above the hum of the jostling ambulance a smiling Roy Holl recalled his feelings of that past moment when he had looked into the eyes of that abruptly absurd, but appealing woman who had put forth her offer of redemption. She was middle aged with a slim and healthy figure, her face was youthful and tanned and her dark luminous eyes swirled with a wild compassion. There was something definitely druidic about her and he could feel her immense, but impassive strength of character which was to prove to be the magnet of his attraction to her. And there on that shady riverbank under the African morning sky, something was cut loose in him from somewhere deep in the buried portions of his being. And at the same time something dormant sprang to life, a feeling of profound understanding and ease which touched him to his core and he intuitively knew that he shoulddo as she suggested and “surrender himself to her. Later of course he would understand thatthose precious moments of “dislocation” were in fact the first foetal pulses of his miraculous rebirth and reinvention of his Greater Self.
His rescuer Ronika Etter was no ordinary woman. She was a Master practitioner of holistic, esoteric and metaphysical arts. She was the authentic article; a born psychic with the fearless capacity to explore her „gifts with the intent of expanding upon them, and in times past she would have been hailed a witch and certainly denounced. Of course she had to be careful to conceal these attributes from the suspicion and fears of the less understanding in order to operate safely as a healing, helping and teaching agent. She had a photographic memory and her powers of suggestion and hypnosis were extraordinary. She was also extremely psychologically astute, able to sense an individuals inner complications as if they were her own, as well as accurately intuit a persons emotional climate, all of which allowed her to correctly discern and then administer the advice, assistance and healing necessary to bring about personal empowerment in another.
And heal him she did. Through the holistic methods of diet, fasting, exercise, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, visualization, abstinence of negative thought, positive focus and spiritual awareness, she was able to initiate into practice the powers of his own latent psychic self. He was made to understand that it was the power of belief that created reality and that he was in the process of revamping old belief systems, discarding some while building others. “Like changing partners, but still maintaining the dance,” she told him once which left him smirking at one of her many homespun expressions. From the very start he could sense the rejuvenation in his body and mental faculties, and once he accepted the validity of his new knowledge he very quickly proved to be an exceptional student. Together they explored Africa further and for all the best possible reasons, when the time was ripe, they became lovers. They travelled around Europe and the Mediterranean for a year and spent some time in India before they went to live in her homeland of Germany.
Slowly and methodically from that first moment of their meeting to the final moment of their parting five years later, they worked on his whole being, physically, mentally, psychically and spiritually to the point where not only was the cancer no longer present in his body, but his whole personality with its belief systems, rationale and imaginative processes, had been completely rearranged and developed. All that remained of the Royston Holl who had sought suicide in East Africa was the memory of whom he had once been. In the process of his association and apprenticeship with his mentor, he had sloughed off the old skin of his former ingrown self and taken on the mantle of his hidden metaphysical nature. In short, he had been repaired, re educated, redeemed and re invented in order that he too become a teacher, a healer, a helper and that little bit of light required to lead others out of the shadows and darkness of their fear and into the warmth and welcome of the edifying light of the Soul. The SOUL, she had told him, was an acronym for the Spirit Of Unconditional Love, which he was impelled to be ever faithful to. Then when her work was done and their time together at an end, for she had told him that one day such a time would come, she pushed him from her nest to allow him to fly on his own wings of power and perception. And that was when his journey started proper.
Once on his own he decided to live according to the dictates of the Universe and his own psychic intuition, helping and healing people in whatever way he could as he did so. From Germany he went back to India for a year where he lived as one among the locals. India was for him the great leveller, that irresistible force which brought about the brutal humility so necessary for a life of truth and self-exploration. He loved the culture and the countryside with its sense of ancient continuity and its moment to moment existence with which he felt a spiritual kinship. After India he visited Spain and Portugal before extensively travelling South America. He then toured South East Asia on and off for a few years, did some serious sailing around New Guinea and then back to Australia via a sound touring of New Zealand. He had been staying with a friend on a yacht moored in the Brisbane River when the cancer bug kicked back into life, a sure sign to him that his end was nearing, and he contracted pneumonia. All that now remained was for him to get well enough to begin the process of making his way northward to meet with his anticipated death.Chapter 9.
“The patient in question, had in point offact, all the answers”….Rebecca Giles.
Within the hour the new admission arrived, a male in his mid sixties who had been a former cancer patient, whichimmediately reminded me of a standard hospital joke. “How do you become a former cancer patient?” Answer. “You die.” I basically knew the procedure that such a case would follow…update of past history since last admission, blood tests, standard chest x-ray and a period of stabilisation before being taken to the ward, all very routine. However, the moment I met the new admission and his eyes fixed mine as I assisted in the lift from the ambulance stretcher to one of our hospital trolley beds, I sensed something extremely magnetic and mysterious about him.
He had a full head of long thin shoulder length silver hair and a full silver beard and moustache and he looked something like a geriatric hippie. His face was well tanned and far too youthful for a man of his age, I thought. But it was his eyes that struck me. They were an incredible crispy blue like Antarctic ice, and they blazed with a clearness that spoke of a life of mischief and knowledge. He met my stare with a huge smile that revealed a few missing teeth, one on the bottom to the right and one on either side of the top set; that aside, his teeth seemed clean and strong and I found myself doubting his age.
„Good day to you sir, I said in my usual well-mannered way, born of my upbringing rather than the suggested diplomacy policy of the hospital. His eyes looked into me, searching, as if trying to read my thoughts, very intense but not atall intrusive. „Good day to you lad, he repliedin a manner of speech that told of one who spoke precisely. „Weve met before, he said in a probing kind of way, as my arms slipped under his frame to make the lift. „Not that I can recall, I replied. He shrugged his face and flashed a full smile. „Perhaps were meant to meet in this life then, he said with a knowing glint in his eyes. „Or perhaps youre I thinking of a past life, I said by way of mirthful friendliness.
„That would have been the life where I was a famous movie star, he said jovially. „Thats the one, I saidagreeing with me. „You were a very poor actress, as I recall, I added cheekily as I threw the obligatory hospital blanket over his frame.
„Could have been worse, he countered, „I might have been an extra.
„Or Rin Tin Tin, I fired back with a face full of cheer.
„Or the horse Flicker, he said bouncing back off me.
„Or Trigger, I parried in return.
„Ormaybe the Lone Rangers pistol, he quickly added.
„Or his holster, said I, crashing through the plastic flap doors of the Ambulance entranceway.
„No, no, Tonto was his holster, he shot back with a lascivious wink and smirk. „Aha, I mused, „I always had my suspicions about that relationship.
„I always thought it was obvious, dear boy, he said breaking into a serious coughing spasm as I wheeled him into the Casualty Dept and parked him in one of the trolley bays. „Are you warm enough sir? I can get you another blanket if you wish. I asked observing hospital protocol.
„Im fine, thanks. Then he paused and seemed to be cocking an ear to the outside area of the building. „You could tell me how that storm outside is going…does it look like it might be quite electrical? he asked and by his tone I knewhe wasnt kidding. What storm, I wondered? Theres no storm brewing. There had certainly been squalls earlier on, but at my last reckoning things had started to clear up. Still, why not humour the old guy.
When I stepped out into the open courtyard area just outside the EAC entrance I was amazed to see that there was in fact a storm of some proportion building up from the east. In the far distance massive black clouds with light pulses of sheet lightning were being playfully riotous. From the courtyard I could see the hospital Chapel some fifty yards in front of me, its concrete cross atop the steeple silhouetted against the distant stormy clouds and the frosty illumination of the streetlights. I was a frequent visitor to the chapel as it afforded me not only the opportunity to relax, but gave me another perfect refuge from my superiors when work was quiet. The Chapel was a shared affair, to the left went those of the Catholic faith, to the right those members of the other orthodox religions, or unorthodox, depending upon your spiritual viewpoint.
Suddenly I heard my name being called for duty. A blood sample was ready to be taken to Pathology. As I picked up the specimen I reported to him regarding the storm. „Storm coming in from the east, sheet lightning with occasional bolts,couple of hours away. He extended his hand and we introduced ourselves. „Thanks Marty, nothing like good news when youre flat on your back in the think tank.
Funny guy, I thought as I leapt the two flights of stairs to the Path Dept. He obviously liked storms and I could relate to that. There was certainly something intriguing about the old guy. Maybe we had met before, but Im very good with faces and voices and body language. Its part of my talent as an actor. I observe everything about people and situations and forget nothing. No, I had never met old silver Jesus, quite sure of that. An hour later after he had had the standard x-rays and his blood taken, I was summoned to deliver him to his respective ward.
It has always been my practice to take a patient up to the wards in a wheelchair if possible, rather than the heavy, hard going trolley beds. It is often easier for the patient as well as for myself. Depending on the condition of the patient at the time, most of the nursing staff is amenable to this, particularly if the patient agrees. However, there are those whose lives would crumble to a small pile of ashes if their concise world of rules and regulations and robotic time schedules were to be tampered with in any way. Some of the staff did it out of spite, but the Sister in charge this night was just such a stickler. Not to be beaten by a slavish servant of the misguided bureaucracy, I had a cunning plan long since devised and quite successful in practice. I would wheel the patient to the lifts some forty yards down the corridor and there in the telephone bay area I would have a wheelchair stashed, and if the patient was in agreement, I would swap my mode of transportation and then stash the trolley in the phone bay area. The receiving staff in the wards had no interest in how the patient was transported to their ward, so in this way I saved myself the long heavy haul of the trolley bed to and from the wards. I then returned with the wheelchair, picked up the stashed trolley and was primed ready to beat the system once again. I had no trouble with Roy; he fully applauded my deviousness and even offered to walk if it made my life easier. I thanked him, but insisted we do so the swap as intended.„Youve done this before lad? he said stepping lightly from the trolley and into the wheelchair.
„Sometimes youve just got to be sm arter than the average bear, er Sister in charge, I mean, I replied with a conspiratorial smile.
„Bullshit, he said tartly, „youre a rebel and a good thing too. Question everything. „Amen Timothy Leary, I acknowledged.
„And a thinking man as well, he applauded.
„Whats the alternative? I asked with a leer.
„Be a lemming and take a dive, he said smartly before asking me how long I had worked at the hospital.
„Almost twelve years, I told him.
„Enjoy the job?
„Best job I ever had, I said truthfully, despite my war with the top brass and my chaotic physical and emotional states.
„Its a lucky man can say that, my boy. It means youre not completely a slave. You married?
„No…I never found the right one, I told him evasively.
„You might have and never known it, he stated almost matter of fact.
„I think Id know, I countered.
„Ah yes, thinking and knowing, the great ooh and ah of the universe, the might and might not, the much conjectured will I or wont I, the alpha and the omega, the yes and no of the fawning average man. He chuckled a smiled and then asked if I had a girl.
„Had a girl is right, I answered.
„Ah yes, romantic relationships, he said professorially, „that paradigm of balance and harmony coupled with the frenetic fervour of spontaneous anarchy.
„Is that an explanation of why they have an historical background of failure? I asked equally as professorially.
„Not as such, he said. „Fear is what is often at the root of failed love.
„And why is that? I ventured as I entered the long cold hallway that led to the multi story wing of wards.
„Cant have one without the other, he said imitating a phrase from that classic song, Love and marriage, made famous by Frank Sinatra. And before I could give the matter any real thought he started to recite poetry.
“This darkness that I sensed unknown I thought to face with might
And like David with a sling and stone
Not till I stood and sensed myself Did truth replace my fright
And with belief and wisdoms wealth I felt the best in me take flight”
Silver Jesus on a poetic roll, I mused to myself, thinking how well he had recited it. „Fear Marty, the meanest bitch of the litter.
„With a bark far worse than its bite I said, playing on his statement
„Sounds like you may have a bone to pick, he said and I realised that he too was playing at making puns.
„Dog-gone, youre right, I said playing into his hands.
„Clever boy, that got me right in the chops, he shot back.
„Oh, you paw-paw thing.
„Ah, quit your growling.
„I wasnt growling, I was whimpering.
„Whining is more like it, he said with amusement, amusing me in the process. „You know you can be a real son of bitch when you want to be. He chuckled freely at that one and retorted with, „Dont you snap at me.
„That wasnt a snap, it was a nip.
„Youre lucky I dont put the bite on you for a few quid, he said.
„Or lock your jaws on me, I added.
„Just dont slobber on me.
„What was that you said, I asked, „I only caught the tail end of it
„You look hot and bothered, are you on heat? Now it was my turn to chortle. „No way, Im still only a pup.
„Maybe its just puppy love.
„Gee, youve got a good snout.
„Always on the scent. he replied
„Always on the nose, you mean.
He laughed. „You make the hairs on my back stand up.
„Thats not hair, its fur.
„How fur till we get to my ward? he wanted to know.
„Not fur to go now, I replied.
„Well fur Christs sake hurry up.
„Getting bitchy, are we?
„No, just long in the tooth.
„Old dog for a hard road, eh.
„Youre a foxy one.
„Beats being a shepherd for a living.
„Or a boxer.
„Or driving a Greyhound bus, said I, really enjoying the banter.
„The best part about sex is when you whippet out, he said lasciviously and we both laughed loudly at that one.
„Yea, I concurred, „just after a doggy.
„Whaddya call a dog that finds gold… A Golden retriever.
„Say Marty, would you just Dachshund this corner so I can have a smoke. „No way, Im gonna be a mongrel and say „no, I said, hopeful that I could keep this up because it was taxing my repertoire.
„Marty, no more puns, please…Im serious, is there a nice place around here where I can have a smoke and watch the storm brewing before you slot me into my clinical niche? Are you able to do that for me?
„Ill do it for us both, I told him as I headed to the perfect spot. „I like watching storms and having a smoke.
I took him to the walkway between wards 15 and 16 where under a large tree we would have privacy and a clear view of the brewing storm. He slipped out of the chair, fumbled for a smoke in his small backpack and then sat cross-legged on the ground in something resembling a yoga pose.„Care for a cigar? he offered.
„Thanks, I said as I sat alongside and took my light from him.
Before us the whole storm pattern could be seen clearly. The massive clouds were a great deal closer and the lightning even more active. There were some rather furious looking bolts snaking menacingly through the broad black clouded heavens, and a cold stiffening breeze pushed into our faces as we sat watching quietly for several minutes. Three times our solitude was harshly broken by the cackle of the two-way radio on my hip, so I turned it off. I wouldnt be needed for quite some time, and in any event I could always turn to the patient for backup. After all, I was only doing as he asked. And thats pretty much how it worked at the hospital. Like in a departmental store, the customer is always right. With us, patient support is tantamount to a decree from God and I figured I had that with a guy like Roy. Suddenly my thoughts were interrupted with a flow of poetic prose.
„Look, what lucid entities are on the move
electrifying thoughts alive in pulsing brain. See there those mammoth muscles flexed with might impartial in their roving damage and death done. Do they this night, I wonder,search for me, in vain?
Hey, I thought, this guy is not unlike my lost self who used to wax lyrical at the drop of a hat and I immediately felt compelled to respond in kind. I had understood the relevance of his piece, and so shifting into the mood, I shot from the hip and quoted an impromptu piece about storms.
„If Thor and Wodin war in Heaven
then Thunder is their clash of Shields and lightning, silver Swords for felling drawn which mutant mortals such as you and I humbly bound to tread the earth
are made to witness Greatness
through the eyes of our puny awe.
My tone and mood was serious as the content seemed to flow from me out into the ether of the night that was a solid thing between this stranger and me. The old guys silver head turned abruptly to face me after I had spoken, and in the pale cast of the near courtyard light, I saw the gaunt wildness of a strange fire in his eyes, and then in a voice so earnest and precise, he said again. „But does it this night search for me, in vain? He paused, still staring fixedly as ifsifting for something in me. „I wonder if you know what Im talking about, old cock? he asked intently and then his mood changed to one of delight and there followed a discussion between us of poets and poetry. He was obviously very well read with a fine sense of recall, for he quoted several poets at length and with ease and my interest in him quickly quadrupled.
After the conversation was done we were silent for several minutes watching the gathering storm before he literally sprang up from his sitting position and climbed back into the wheelchair. „To my cubicle driver, and for Gods sakes, spare the poor horses. Ten minutes later he was in his bed with a pretty nurse fussing over him. I bid him goodnight and he reached out a quick hand that held my arm. „Well meet again soon, Im sure, he said with absolute promise. And as I left his ward I knew myself that we surely would. Chapter 10.“It was not so much the power of the philosophy that touched me, but the sincerity of its source”…Christopher Nottingham.
About an hour later with forty minutes left before finishing work, my radio cackled a message to every porter informing us to keep our eyes open for an elderly male patient in his late sixties with grey hair and beard in hospital pyjamas who had gone missing from his ward. The patient was one Mr. Holl. This was immediately followed by a general call to the patient himself over the hospital P.A. system to return to his ward, ASAP. Ill bet hes out having a Café Crème cigar and watching the storm, I thought to myself, and by the time I finished my shift and handed over my radio, the mother of all storms was upon us and considering that I rode my motorcycle to work, I decided to wait out the storm in the comfort of the Chapel by lying down on the carpeted isle near the altar (on the all denominations side) and listen to the strong drum of the thick rain and the barking snaps of lightning. Still inspired by my recent foray into speaking poetry with Roy, I decided to do some loud recitations which would be drowned out by the full frenzy of the outside storm, and marvelled at just how well my memory served me.
After a while I went to the Chapel door and looked out at the wild display of bold illuminating flashes and stray forking bolts. It was really putting on a show and I thought of my wayward patient watching from his secret place and loving it as much as I. Then in the sudden illumination of a brilliant burst of lightning that lingered for a full rounded second, my eyes caught sight of what I could have sworn was a naked form sitting on the open lawn alongside the tennis courts some thirty yards from the Chapel entrance. I strained my sight in the general direction, willing another flash to confirm what it was I thought I had seen; and sure enough as another bolt flooded the outside area with a moment of light my former observation was confirmed…it was Silver Jesus and he looked to be meditating.
For a few moments I just stared at the intermittently lit scene before me, thinking how wonderful it was to have unexpectedly come across such a splendid sight. Then it dawned on me…the line from the poem he had recited earlier. “But does it this night search for me in vain?” Son of a bitch…hes willing his death by lightning, I realised. Then in the light of another wild splash of lightning I saw his form again with his back to me and with his arms outstretched as if welcoming the lightnings intent. Suddenly the whole concept of what he might be trying to do assumed a most macabre atmosphere, and in seconds something in me wanted to be out in that storm also, naked and as open to it as he was. Perhaps it was the child in me from my rambunctious boyhood, or maybe it was something more sinister like my own suicidal desires, but I knew I needed to be out there with him in the thick of it. In seconds I was undressed and taking my first steps into the outside fury of the stinging storm and striding gloriously toward his seated form.
„Does it this night search for you in vain? I yelled, in order to be heard over the bellows of thunder and beat of rain as I approached him from behind. His body twitched slightly at my intrusion and his head slowly turned and he smiled broadly when he saw it was me in all my apparent nudity. „No, not tonight! he shouted and then patted the ground to his right.
I sat beside him and watched the lightning and revelled in the almost brutal but welcome rain as it peppered my body with its multitude of tiny stings. For several minutes I got lost in the reverie of the storm and my own self-esteem for having been so spontaneously adventurous; but eventually I had to come back to the question that was begging to be asked of him.„Do you really believe you can draw the lightning in to do its deed? I shouted above the noise of the hammering storm.
„Dont you? came his reply to which I offered a nonplussed shrug of my shoulders.„The Mind can do anything…in fact it does do everything, he shouted.
„And is this what you have in mind? I bellowed just before a thunderous applause shattered our surrounds.
„Absolutely! he grinned maniacally.
„I guess you dont like hospitals, hey?
He shook his silver head and shouted convincingly,„Not enough to want to die in one.
We sat there for over half an hour until I noticed I was shivering, and at that point he stood up with his arms raised in homage to the heavens for their blessing. „Next time, he yelled as he turned on his sodden heels and bolted youthfully toward the Chapel entrance to retrieve his clothing with me in wet pursuit. From the Ministers Office behind the altar I secured two fresh towels, and as I handed him his I saw in the soft light of the Chapel how decidedly lean and muscular he was for a man of his age. „Why not have long hot soaking baths, I suggested, pointing towards the vacant lower floor of the Male Nurses Quarters directly across from the Chapel entrance, „theres plenty of privacy there at the moment. He nodded his immediate approval and we both scooted across the twenty yards of soaking turf with clothes in hand and slipped naked into the building like two bold and adventurous boys.
We both had a slow warming shower while our respective baths filled and once in the tub we were silent for quite some time while we let the hot water seep into our flesh and bones. Our baths were quite closely situated and could be afforded privacy by an orange wrap around plastic curtain that we naturally dispensed with. Roy lay back with his eyes closed and was obviously meditating quietly; while my mind was abuzz with the urgency of some questions I was anxious to ask him regarding his macabre but fascination death wish. The old bugger might be a little loopy, I concluded, but he was by no means deluded.
He must have sensed the urgency of my inquiry because he suddenly opened his eyes and gave me a cheery wink. He then extracted a cigar from his tin and after lighting it he deftly tossed the tin to me…the lighter he tossed along the tiled floor, presumable not wishing to get the vital contraption at all wet. Soon the room filled with a sweet blend of steam and cigar smoke while the abating rain drummed on the roof.
„You probably think Im a bit soft up top, he said tapping his temple, „thinking that I can cause my death in a storm by being struck by lightning; but I tell you this my new found friend, andhe made a point of emphasising his next statement, „it is because I am the creator of my own reality by the power and virtue of my Choice, that such shall this come to pass. He then gestured with a wet and dripping arm to the immensity of the outside beyond the bathroom walls and said rhetorically. „And I choose, to die out there in all that beauty and power and life as a man with dignity and love, rather than see my temple crumble around me in a slow sad dance of grotesque decay in the sterility and foreignness of a hospital bed…and so as soon as I feel able I am going to find that storm and be drawn into that other realm by the majesty of thatilluminating tongue of cosmic might. He smiled magnificently and closed his eyes as if visualising the very scene.
It was a privilege to have this virtual stranger so honest and passionate with me about such personal details. And I understood in effect his feelings. I had seen for myself so often the slow demise of men and women within the hospital system, falling apart limb by limb, day by day in an environment so far removed from anything free and natural, each dying alone and in fear and with humiliation because in their final hour they had surrendered their right to any real choice and sense of dignity. They had gone along with the system and opted forsocietys norm; and it saddened me that our society did not do what the primitive peoples did and uphold the ethic of a treating death as a ceremony of reverence and ease rather than a gloomy fearful prospect to be dispensed with as clinically and as quickly as possible.
From my own experience, I wished my mother could have died at home in her own bed with us around to tend to her. In point of fact there was no reason why she couldnt have done so, save for the overwhelming power of bureaucratic ritual and the push and press of social convention and our own crippling urge to acquiesce. Christ, this old codger had the right idea, I thought, even to the end he was taking control of his own affairs; and in that moment I liked and admired him very much.
„How can you presum e to dictate the terms of your death in the manner you have described? I asked, hoping not to ruffle his wet feathers. He looked at me askance and I could tell he was summing me up. I felt his crisp blue eyes worm into me as if his own thoughts were probing into mine. I became uncomfortable as was about to dunk myself under the bath water when he answered my question. „Do you believe in magic, Marty? he asked quite deliberately. I told him that I believed in slight of hand, but not magic per se. He grinned and told me that the magic to which he was referring was a cosmic energy that belonged to the world of the fourth dimension which had the capacity to spill over into our three dimensional reality and be used empirically and in a most unusually creative manner. And quite without pause he admitted that he had learnt to trust and use this creative psychic energy in a variety of ways, and for that reason he knew he could do with his death what he said he was intending to do.„Thats it, he emphasised, „its all about ones power of intent, thats what makes ones personal and collective reality…that and the power of belief.
Metaphysically I understood what he was saying, but on a practical level I was naturally dubious about his statements. Still I was more than happy to allow him his beliefs in the pursuits of further conversation with him. „So you claim to be a psychic then? I asked him pointedly but with also a trace of scepticism.
„Yep, thats me, he answered so as to make mock of my dubiousness. Okay,I thought, Ill play along. „In what way do you make use of this intentof yours? I asked. He was silent for several seconds as his eyes searched mine for what felt was some sign of sincerity on my part. He must have decided I was worthy because he nodded his head in consent and then he let me have it.
„Where do I begin, he said with a smile of self -deprecation. „I help and heal people by applying the source in various ways.
„Heal what? I asked, „headaches, heartaches, hangovers? I smiled so as to let him know I wasnt being a smart arse.
„Among other ailments, yes, he concurred. „I am also able to empower people to find their way towards an understanding of their unconscious confusions, he added. „And how pray tell do you do that?
„Intuition, he stated with effect and then seeing that I was in need of delineation he explained that his intuition operated as a kind of inner voice which conveyed to him whatever information was pertinent to the person and the situation at hand. „Sometimes its conveyed with mental images that have a strong emotional content which I am able to experience and examine, he added before explaining further that from this mechanism of probing he quite often was capable of making a physical, emotional and mental diagnosis of the person involved; and depending upon his intuition, thereby suggest the steps necessary for personal healing and self improvement.
Jesus, this guy was serious, I realised which somehow upset my equilibrium. His use of the word „intuition intrigued me and I wanted to know if it was permanently turned on or if it acted only under certain circumstances?
„Its like any marriage, he said answering my voiced question, „we work both as a couple and as individual units. I can deliberately probe and get concise results, and yet sometimes I cant. At other times the intuition acts of its own accord and I find myself acting upon its directives. I looked at him intently hoping that he might betray some mirth in his expression which would lead me to accept that he was really after all having me on.„I know what you must be thinking, he said with a smile, „but I can only reiterate that such a phenomenon, although not nearly as common as it should be, does exist, certainly in a practical sense, for me.
For several moments we just eyeballed one another and then as if discerning the very nature of my thoughts he said, „I expect like all non believers youd like some kind of proof, right? I smiled by way of a knee jerk reaction and said rather glibly but also coaxingly, „Only if you want to. But instead of doing something out of the ordinary, he asked me to tell him a bit about myself and so I quickly gave him the basics. Born in Africa, came to Australia when I was twelve, father worked in heavy plant machinery, a younger sister, a mother whom I adored and a chronic disinterest in schooling of any sort, preferring to follow my father into plant operation which resulted in my shifting from job to job until eventually settling nicely into my currant niche at the Hospital. My personal interests were acting in amateur theatre, writing, poetry of course and playing guitar and singing. Of course I didnt tell him that these interests had ceased to interest me for over a year now; and without really intending, to I explained how my mother had died, and that I had also lost the girl I loved, after which quickly added that there were plenty of other fish in the sea and that sooner rather than later, thinking of that underground tunnel appointment I had promised myself, things were bound to improve. During my story his eyes had been scrutinising me and again I felt slightly uncomfortable for no real reason as I awaited his forthcoming proof.
„ Of coursetheres a lot that youre not telling me directly, he said knowingly,„but its there in the background and I was picking some of it up as you were telling it. It would seem to me that you are at a very interesting crossroadsin your life, he said nonchalantly and with a mischievous knowing wink as he drowned his cigar end and placed the butt on the bathtub edge.„And now I expect I should consult my intuition for further hidden facts, he said, just before he submerged himself under the bathwater where he stayed for a very quite some time and I became amazed at how long he could hold his breath for. When he finally emerged he immediately launched into the revelations presented by his intuition.
Naturally I didnt expect m uch of importance to come of it, so I was quite bowled over when he went for the jugular with accurate precision and succinctly told me of the burden I was carrying regarding the loss of my mother. He insisted that whatever her spiritual beliefs might mean to me, they were in fact very pertinent to where she now resided. He also told me how my depressive attachment to her was unnecessary and quite draining to her present personality, and that he strongly felt she wanted me to let go peacefully, so I could get on with my more productive life. Then he paused to gauge my reaction and possibly allow me to ask any questions.
I thought that although what he had said was in all fairness quite valid, it didnt really take much of an analyst to deduce what he had, from what I had already told him. I needed something much more left of centre before I would take his so called psychic efforts seriously. „Thats it? I asked acting unimpressed by way of baiting him further. He chuckled broadly and playfully ridiculed my obvious belief that he was nothing more than a somewhat charming charlatan. Then resignedly he raised his hands in gesture of defeat and said.„Thats it Sprite, at least for the moment. If I get any other insights Ill let you know. At first I wasnt sure I had him correctly. I was certain that he had used the word I thought he had, but it may have said „sport…and so I asked him to repeat what he had called me. He reiterated the word Sprite.
„What do you mean by Sprite? I asked, employing the discipline of my acting experience to appear unperturbed by what he had said, while chomping at the bit with acute intrigue.
„You know… Sprite, he said sounding like a bored teacher with a tiresome student. „Its a small elfin like kind of imp often of playful and mischievous leanings.
„Yes I know what it means, I said snapping, „but why did you choose that word of all words? He looked at me with a sheepish smile and said, „For the obvious reason, which still left me hanging. „What obvious reason would that be,old cock? I asked bitingly. He suddenly burst into a full peel of laughter and its friendly sound played around the walls on the bathrooms, andI couldnt help but have a chuckle myself while anxiously awaiting his reply. „Oh boy, you really want me to hammer your nail on the head, dont you, he said effusively. „Okay Sport, Ill tell you what I know you already know and then we can desist with the „putting the Guru to the test routine once and for all. He stared at me with a fixed gaze and smirk for several seconds and then laid it on me.
„Sprite is the nickname your older brother gave you. Okay that was a lucky guess, he said in a discrediting tone, „so I expect I should follow through with something more concrete. Okay, how about I pluck from out of nowhere the name Gavin; and just in case you are still a doubting Thomas, let me add that Gavin is deceased, oops theres another lucky guess which means you are obviously going to need real confirmation of my psychic gift of discernment, so let me in closure saythis, he paused and eye balled me intently before finishing me off. „Gavin is not at all happy with the habits of mosquitoes, he said, drawing out the word mosquitoes in such a way that it had an obvious buzzing tone; then he slapped his palms together with the relish of victory and with a broad cheery grin slipped under the bathwater once again where he remained for as long as it took me to come to terms with what he had just accomplished with his so called psychic intuition…a good three minutes.
I was completely dumbstruck by the outright unexpected accuracy of his statements regarding my brothers name and his nickname for me and his death by cerebral malaria as an infant. How could he have accessed such intimate issues? There was simple no way that I could imagine how any chicanery could apply in the situation I had just experienced, and in moments I had to concede that here was no ordinary man. Somehow he could actually intuit certain secret details of my personal life and that thought alone caused me to speculate what other talents he might have in his psychic arsenal? The very ease of his discernment act suddenly quadrupled my intrigue and attraction to my new acquaintance and I knew in that moment that somehow our paths would become aligned. When he finally surfaced I was able to probe further.
„How in hell did you do that? I asked demandingly and still shocked by his manoeuvre. „I told you Sprite, its my intuition that serves me in that respect. While you were telling me about yourself I got emotional impressions and imagery that conveyed a lot of subsidiary information. The word Sprite simply sprang into my throat, and then when I wished to know its origins, the pertinent information regarding your brother became immediately available. He paused to study my reaction before continuing. „But the main thrust for me was the sense of your mothers distress regarding your health, and
it is obviously of extreme importance that this matter should be emphasised. I was about to ask him why when he quickly added that what he did was only small potatoes compared to what was possible with really advanced adepts, but the little that he had achieved in the psychic domain was in most cases more than enough to be of valuable assistance to himself as well as others in need. Then to give the subject a lighter mood he told me not to ask if he could pick next weeks winning lotto numbers. „Im here to help, not hinder, he added intently with a grin.
“For some its the lure of the challenge and the chase. Speaking for myself its simply curiosity…Paul James.
After regaining some sense of equilibrium I set to voice my concerns; namely that I found such psychic phenomenon extremely difficult to accept despite my mothers assertions to the contrary, and I asked him to be tolerant of my scepticism, at least until I could come to a better understanding of such matters. He nodded his agreement and told me frankly that although I might not know it, I did in fact have a latent psychic nature which longed to erupt into awareness, and now with his arrival, it probably would do so. I asked him what he meant by that and he glibly said that as he saw the unfolding of events, he and I were destined to meet in the way we had for that very purpose; that through his solicitation my spiritual and psychic growth would commence. His statement caused me to burst into laughter.
„So I am to be the disciple to your Jesus, the student to your master, the neophyte to your Guru, is that it? I said rather mockingly. He smiled warmlyand replied, „Only if you chooseto. My brow frowned. „Now why would I want to do that? I begged. „For the obvious reasons, he answered, „because it is both your birthright and destiny to explore your consciousness further. For a host of reasons you are at the crossroads of your life, he said with great emphasise. „And you are my salvation and the way, I retorted tartly.
„So it would seem, he replied with a calm conviction.
Surely he couldnt be serious , I thought? By his own admission he was about to take off and die. How the hell he was to perform a miracle of salvation was beyond me. Perhaps he would do it by mail or better still with telepathy or perhaps he would part the waters of my egoic confusion by using his dick as magicians wand. These were my thoughts when he quite seriously told me that to him it was obvious that the Force had engineered our stupendous meeting and that it was time for him to fulfil his fate.
„And what fate might that be? I inquired in a disregarding tone.
„I have always known that it was my fate to do for another what hadbeen done for me…to find one in need of mending as I once was. You are my opportunity to return the great kindness that was bequeathed me, he said with great emotion.
„And what if I dont want what you are selling? I asked him curtly. He smiled smoothly and said that it was too late to return the given goods, and that what was needed now was a welcome sense of newadventure and trust. „We must now leave this subject alone and hereafter go with the flow, he said advisedly, and then added with a Groucho Marx flash of his eyebrows,„What better way to get to where it is we are going. Something reactive in me wanted to argue the point with him, but I didnt, thinking that perhaps it was right to let the subject slide as he had suggested.
So to change the subject and give myself some room to manoeuvre, I asked him to tell me his story. He openly told me of his wifes death, his cancer, his suicidal bid in Africa and his salvation at the hands of one Ronika Etter who became his benefactress and teacher and with whose help he cured himself of his disease and was introduced proper to the mechanics of the metaphysical world. „She was an act of Divine intervention, he said proudly, cigar smoke curling up over his face so that it made him appear shrouded in a thin mist, „an Angel of Mercy whose mission in that moment became „me. She brought life to my intellect and introduced me to her esoteric world, where increasing the power of my own perception and spiritual awareness became paramount. He chuckled smilingly and I could tell he was happy to recall his memories of her. „She made the act of crumpling dry dead leaves in her hands and tossing them into the face of a sea wind seem a miracle of gesture and intent. Everything about her was a statement of life. She taught me to treat my body, my mind and my spirit with supreme reverence and as a result I became a vegetarian, a New Age thinker and philosopher and eventually a psychic practitioner. The fearful, judgmental and shallow thinking Roy Holl of before was no more. An Ark of enlightened principles had spilled its contents into the previously empty vessel of my life and in short, I became divinely reinvented.
There was so much pass ion and profundity in all he said, but I couldnt help think that there had to be some defining experience that had brought about that realisation and I didnt hesitate to pose my question to him. Had it been a Saul on the road to Damascus conversion? An act of mystical Illumination, a moment of reverie, a bolt from heaven, Gods hand on his shoulder, a sign, a voice, “or else a motion of the mere?” Or did he simply play Faust to the devil? He smiled as if pleased that I had voiced such a question and he detailed how his final rite of passage came about through none other than his deceased wife, Catriona. The experience involved holding a séance in the company of several psychically energised personalities on a full mooned night in an underground cave noted for its ancient shamanistic powers. He recounted how one member went into an incredible trance and delivered some unbelievable information through a trance personality, while another recounted three very cathartic previous life death experiences that were beneficial for her present life understanding and advancement. Also there was some serious miraculous healing performed by group supplication on the behalf of others. But the highlight for him was an ectoplasmic apparition of his wife.
„If I had not see n, sensed, smelt and felt her for myself I would have found some way of denying its occurrence, he said, shaking his head at recollectionof the event. „She was as vibrant and as alive at that moment as I was, and when we embraced she was just like flesh and bone as I had known her; she even smelt of her favouritethe perfume, he said as he closed his eyes andinhaled rhythmically before continuing. „She didnt speak as such, but imparted to me on a telepathic level an incredibly profound wisdom in which so many past and present confusions became instantaneously clear and understandable, and from this clarity a pathway into cosmic consciousness opened up and let flood in me an Unconditional Love whose effect was like a cosmic opiate that served to unleash an endorphin explosion of spiritual bliss and benediction in which I was literally spiritually reborn. The utter conviction of his story was without parallel and there was no way I could doubt its validity, at least not him.
„And s o you became a New Age healer, I said by way of statement rather than a question. „Among other things, he said in a throw away fashion.
„What other things? I queried with renewed interest. He inhaled on a fresh cigar and after a long exhalation told me of his ability to use his dreaming stateas a means of exploration. „Exploration of what? I was compelled to ask.
„Sometimes places, he replied factually, „but generally I communicate with others in an exchange of knowledge and energy in a kind of psychic cross pollination affair. I also use it to discern more acute cases of psychological and emotionaldisruption. Despite my doubting Thomas roll of my eyes, he was able to utilise this fourth dimensional process in the way that he claimed.
„But how is such a thing possible? I asked; weary of having to continually do so. He shrugged his eyebrows and said that as an attribute of the psychic dimension, if one became a student or applied a natural bent for such phenomenon, then such nocturnal wanderings were permissible and therefore quite possible. He then quickly added that at this stage of our relationship it was best not too dive into such matters too deeply and too soon.
I looked at him with surprised eyes and wondered if he knew how foreign and impossible such an activity sounded to me; to decide consciously in a dream state meant being conscious in the dream state and I doubted very much that one could effectively achieve that, let alone desire it. Jesus that would be like opening a psychological and psychic Pandoras Box, which once opened could literally result in an endless explosion of uncontrolled and inexplicable experiences…and that was a very scary thought as far as I was concerned.
„But old fella, I said to him in a mirthful manner, „how can you quantify for o thers the possible actuality of the fourth dimension? Even science hasnt been able to do that. „Science has become ham strung by its reluctance to postulate spiritual metaphysics which is basically at the core of all creation. The religious, political, military and economical institutions are very resistant to abandoning their exclusive power and control to a system that is completely inclusive of all humanity at a loving ground roots level, he said rhetorically. „In my own case I have been introduced to fourth dimensional theory and through experience and practice have made it a reality for myself, as you have just witnessed. But there was a time when I was as closed off and protective of my own belief system as these institutions are. Change always represents a challenge and man is prone to the fear of change. I shrugged and did not know what to say while admitting that I liked listening to his intelligent articulations.
He continued with his theme saying that eventually humankind would bond with this fourth dimensional reality, causing a blossoming of a global spiritual renaissance that would result in the collective family living as an enlightened species. He expressed his hope that this event would occur sooner rather than later, adding that without this spiritual enlightenment the species would only confuse and destroy itself in the near future. I asked him to explain his Armageddon prediction and he quite plainly detailed mankinds demise by environmental and economical catastrophe, self induced plagues and militant ideological warfare. Quite frankly I had to agree with the horrific scenarios that he painted for humankinds near future and I was glad to note that Id be well gone from this earth by the time of their ugly arrival.
„I gather then th at you are a religious man, Roy I said after several moments of our being silent with ourrespective thoughts. „Spiritual, notreligious, he said, explaining that the religious connotation implied that one practiced spiritual behaviour through the structured format of one particular faith such as Catholicism, Judaism, Mormonism, Pentecostalism, Lutheranism, Calvinism, Mohammedanism, Hinduism, Buddhism etcetera. He insisted that he did not intend to imply that the advocates of these religious structures were any less spiritual than another, but rather that they were still at the mercy of a systematic faith that advocated separatism and iconoclastic isolationism.„Why then, if we are seeking to become spiritually evolved as a species, do we fragment the whole into a cluster of splinter groups with each teaching that they have a spiritual monopoly of the Word, when in fact they should be collectively teaching love and unity among all peoples? He also stated that he could not allow his spiritual nature to build itself upon the orthodox back of others, choosing instead to find his spirituality through his own experiences. „In the beginning was the Word, but now there seems to be only interpretation of the Word, he added cuttingly, but without any malice.
„But arent you being equally self righteous and divisive in proclaiming your spirituality to be better than that of others? I asked him while sounding somewhat righteous myself. He smiled patiently and I got the feeling that in any event he enjoyed my questions. „Dear boy, he said playfully,„the spiritual faith I condone is universal; it says, “Do away with all form of exclusive separatism and instead embrace inclusiveness through the worship of loving principles that bespeak of a Brotherhood of Man baptised in a collective Spirituality. By all means have your own church, but let it be the church of love, not the church of The latter Day Saints or the holy Roman church, or the synagogue of Jehovah, or the mosque of Allah or the church of Christ or Satan or England or Spain or Mars or Jupiter or Uranus or your vagina or your prick for that matter. Rather let us worship Love and its attendant disciplines in the Holy Church of our daily Deliberations and Deeds. And let us use the word Love instead of the word God, so that there may be no more confusion about whose love is better or whose love is inferior or whose love has Gods blessing or not; for in the matter of Love there is nothing that needs detailed explanation, for the actual emotion of Love is without any ambiguity of interpretation. We may not all know who or what God is, but we all are intimately and empirically aware of what Love is at some defining level or another, he insisted very eloquently.
„ The futureserial killers first emotion was love at birth when it found the breast. And even if it didnt find the breast, and irrespective of the parents negative emotions toward it, and in spite of whatever disruptive influences the organism undergoes in the course of its life, it will always have an unconscious awareness of loves sweet benediction prior to its arrival in the womb, he said.„In fact I believe it is to that state of loving benediction that we all return after our death process, he added, and then he concluded by saying that he advocated the worship of a spirituality that addressed the ultimate issue of a continued loving existence after the human body perished.
I thought of my mother who according to her beliefs would now be in her heavenly realm, youthful and vital and playing tennis and bowls and acting in the greatest open air auditorium in existence, no doubt playing the choice roles that had eluded her all her life in amateur theatre, and I expect that was the type of after life existence to which Roy was now alluding. I liked his explanation of a universal faith that had somehow sloughed of the constricting skin of ritualised religious restraint and worshipped instead the experience of Love. „Define love, I demanded of him just to engage him further in lively conversation „Love, he answered, „in its purest form is unconditional and without fear. It is the source of its own joy and the joy of all others, for as you give so shall you receive, and at the core of our being, each one of us knows this. But because the challenge of living so honestly and freely can be difficult and seem frightening, some of us have chosen to ignore making the necessary effort. He offered me a cigar but I refused gently by way of a wave of my hand. „Hell Roy, how does one ever live without fear? I asked, convinced that such an ideal was impossible in a world of constant tyranny and trepidation.
„By discovering that our existence is an illusory one and that there exists a greater reality steeped in spiritual ethics which advocate the continuation of the personalitys existence after death in a state of unconditional love in which we are free to exercise the power of choice in yet another level of experience, he answered getting on a roll once more. „Such an awareness will lead us to forsake fear and forgive its transgressions; and although we are often obliged tosuffer lifes portion of injury, old age and fear, we know that in the end this Love will return us to love upon that fateful day.…as effortlessly as fear will return us to fear. And so for this reason we should choose to act impeccably and in accordance with Love in every situation that confronts us. Therefore let us no longer concern ourselves with the petty business of there not being enough to share, or being cautious of helping and befriending others, or the dog eat dog world of the dollar and our rise to the top of the dung heap. We are here to sow, grow, and reap our love; and we should realise that fear exists as a secondary issue necessary for our betterment and evolution and that it can be understood and overcome. All we have to do is exercise our power of choice in the moment and decide which avenue of action we wish to explore…that of love or that of fear. He smiled at my patience and then played submarine again and dunked himself under the water.
He spoke with such confidence and skill that it was impossible not to follow his argument to the letter. And yet I never once got the impression that he was trying to sell me any of his wares. He was simply answering my questions with his own relative truths, and I had to admit that I did find some of his philosophical rationale quite acceptable. When he surfaced I was ready to voice my question regarding what he thought the source of fear was. He filled his mouth with water and squirted it up into the air and adroitly turned my question into a question and asked me what I thought the source of fear was?
It is funny how we think we have our own opinions so well structured, but when we get asked to seriously expound upon them we tend to falter and fall and as a consequence I had to ponder the issue before answering. I thought the source of fear was obviously imagination. In our ancient imagination we have always had the fear of the predator and the elements outside the cave around us, along with fear of the climate, others of our own kind, pain and disease, accident, hunger, loneliness, abandonment, failure and loss, and in particular our old nemesis of death. And because we can imagine fear we can therefore experience its emotional and corporal reality. So fear then became a direct by- product of mans early existence and therefore its source had to be the Mind of man, and I told him so. On an evolutionary scale he agreed with me, but to his way of thinking fears source started well before the advent of any human like species capable of imagination and he made it clear that he was not referring to anything of an extraterrestrial nature, but rather the source of creativity itself.
„In the beginning was the Word and the Word was Love and from Love was fashioned fear in order to create a relative balance, he said philosophically. He admitted it seemed too simple an answer to so complex an issue, but in his opinion Love, the Source itself, created fear in order that it might know of itself to be love. By using this principle of relativity it gave unto itself a mirror by which it could compare and monitor its own unique expression via its personal evolution through that of the species in this earthly dimension. That was why the spiritual dimension was the looming next step for the human species to take in order toevolve beneficently… and thus become enlightened and live on earth as it is in heaven. Therefore, as Love is the source of all, then by implication its source is Love.„Their difference being, that Love creates and loves everything it creates without condition… fear destructively creates and destroyswithout condition, he said dramatically, and pausing for effect he raised a professorial finger to the air and in conclusion said „even itself.
I quickly pointed out that even in horrific times of fear, as in wartime, a great deal of positive creativity came out of such events, and it could be said that fear was responsible for the creation of positive occurrences within the process of its own destruction. I even reminded him of his own fear filled suicidal experience in Africa and how from its fear base had come his salvation. He heartily agreed, citing that fear and fearful situations were more often than not responsible for the empowerment of the personal psyche and its spiritual components.
„Or its demise, I countered recalling my own death-ward decline after the trauma of my mothers death and Pollys desertion, none of which had served to help enlighten me spiritually.
„Quite so, he said, and heagain gave me that “I know youre hiding something look”.
Despite of near waterlogged physical condition, we each added more hot water to our bathtub and again the cigar tin did its rounds. The rain was greatly diminished and I knew that soon we would have to call an end to proceedings, but before we did so I felt compelled to ask him why one needed to be spiritually improved? Surely there were millions of people who lived worthwhile lives but who were not spiritual? I said I thought that simply living a loving life was in effect being spiritual. Why then did one have to associate living like that to an energy system outside of the norm? Wasnt a good atheist as valued as a good Moslem, a good agnostic as valued as a good Christian?