Do you know how often you were loved? I do. Just once, and not by my own mother, brother or sisters. As children, and as a family, we lived in a sea of wreckage, trying to make sense of our own experiences, and at a loss for feelings or words. Love was not on the menu, but at last I left my childhood home.
Later, during one of those brief periods when I enjoyed something like perspective, a girl’s eyes fell on me, polite and shy in the company of strangers, yet gradually they filled with interest, then warmth ,and finally with love, as she saw in me all that a girl could wish for in a man she thought, and so I married her, because not to do so would have been decisive, and I was never that.
As what I called “Awareness” returned to me, I looked at what I thought of as being her prosaic ambitions; including a home, children, and an address of suitable anonymity and I became restless until I said, “Life must offer more than this. More than suburban correctitude, along with church attendance, politeness to neighbours and a sublimation of all desire for adventure,”and so I left her, fuelled by desperation and a determination to tread the unexplored, whatever the cost, because in my youth my brothers in arms were Leonardo de Vinci, Shackleton and John Steinbeck, and to settle for average seemed a despairing comment on the possibilities of life
Now, after some decades, I have discovered the cost of the vanity which drove me to that action. I have discovered that life really is prosaic, and yet wonderful and challenging all in a single breath and in the same moment, but now I have no one left with which to share that message. I have discovered the price of being “An attendant lord” in the ante-chamber of a hundred noble lives, but I am not yet ready to accept the average day. I will “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” and refuse to sit on the park bench smiling at the antics of some infant child as if they were endearing.
I will walk on into darkness seeking an observation worthy of the pain spent in living honestly. I will not go softly, maturely or with dignity towards my demise. My life has been wild, drunken, joyous, alien and powerfully present, and until I fall into a grave, I hope I can say, “I lived, and happiness or composure, or the correct dress of the hour were never my concern. Somewhere out in this fog bound wilderness we called “Experience,” is a body named “Profundity” and I am determined to define it, though I have yet to do so.”
Emotion is not polite. Life is not polite, and I still long for more than the conventional. I am that man, either drunken or mad, who staggers up to you in the Mall, unshaven and possibly un-showered, and says, “Is this it?” and you back away from me, of course, because you are still living a “Real life,” a “Planned life” which is something I gave up on some decades ago. I will remain, unless I prove myself at last; that most disregarded of individuals: the missed opportunity, the man beyond the pale: a child of the alternative universe, a Sphinx in the corner of your imagination.