Do you know how often you were loved? I do; once, though not by my own mother, 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 in time, under her direction, 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, shy in the company of strangers, yet gradually filling with interest, then warmth ,and finally love, as she saw in me all that a girl could wish for in a man or so she thought. I married her, because not to do so would have been unkind or so I thought: I was wrong!
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, 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 can be both prosaic and beautiful; wonderful and challenging in a single breath, 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 against the dying of the light,” and refuse to sit on a park bench smiling at the antics of some infant child as if they were endearing.
I will walk on into the 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 space named “Profundity” and I am determined to connect with it, though I have yet to do so.”
Emotion is not polite, life is not polite, but, regardless of the cost, I won’t be bound by the conventional. I have become 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 because, of course, you are still living a “Real life,” an ordered life which is something I have failed to maintain for some decades! I will remain, unless I find myself at last, that most disregarded of individuals: the missed opportunity: a child of the alternative universe, a Sphinx in the corner of your imagination.