Rebirth turns out to be as traumatic and extraordinary as we are told the original was. Some sequels are better than the original. Ask Max. The life I had led up to that moment turned out to have been largely a mystery to me. My history is confused. The vows I made to my friends, my family and my principles appeared to have melted like blue ice hit by sunshine. The snowflakes all became avalanches at once. I was subsumed. I have finally stepped back from the cliffs and prayed to a silent god for forgiveness. I am sorry.
The reason, it turns out, why I had been protecting myself and those around me so intensely and so diligently was that I had become the focus of a series of projections based on the signals I had given off, almost magically, since I was a child. I had been both bad and good, loving and selfish, kind and cruel in equal measure. My intent was largely pure and noble, but that’s hardly a defence to having unintentionally hurt good people. Lush can mean whatever you want it to, it is hardly a richer sound than ‘Oh’.
I may never have woken from my semi-conscious reverie had I not run, in desperation, to the city I know best, to try to find comfort in the smiles of friends old and new. I half knew, as I stumbled toward the capitol, weighed down with my own inadequacies, that the playboy I had come to dine with would leave me abandoned to my fate. He was nothing if not consistent. Nonetheless he gifted me an opportunity so extraordinary that I wouldn’t change a moment even if time was amenable to my shrieks.
Let me be honest, I had no idea whether my lunch date would be a pleasant or a taxing experience. I find it difficult to make small talk with the established and the exciting. I find myself looking over shoulders and into doorways. It is a kind of insecurity. However, given my mood and the abiding feeling that I may not have too many more trips to town to look forward to, I was grateful for the distraction. I had no idea that every button would be pressed and every waking alarm would sound from the moment a clearly privileged person braved the cold London air to be escorted by what can best be described as a man drowning in a public swimming pool.
I suspect an acquaintance predicted I would fall down a rabbit hole in the least likely place to find a warren. I fell, and the bump was so great that I know I can never climb back. Unlike Alice, I saw the two bottles and drained them both in a single draft. I’m now a regular sized man sitting at the bottom of a rabbit hole dreaming of a fawn.
It is a long established tradition for story tellers to begin at the beginning. I tried it. Didn’t make a terribly proper job of it. I can only say that my story begins either at the middle or near the end; that is for the fates to decide. I have spent a lifetime thinking I’d done as well as I could. I’ve had remarkable friends take care of me when I fell. I still have. If I could find a way to express the gratitude I feel to them I would. I can still picture lying in the sunshine while Gary dug with bare feet in the hard earth and Wilbur saved me from myself. If I had had it in me to follow signs with anything like the accuracy my friends suspected I wouldn’t be here drinking and smoking and wishing for a miracle. I appreciate the gods have decreed that mine must not be a tragic tale or a lyrical howl. A secret benefactor is probably already holding his head in his hands, and for him I must write my way to something better than self-pity and verbosity.
My story starts and ends in the centre of the Universe. I hope that it is a series of novels rather than a single chapter. If it is then God has smiled on me and the scientists can continue to play catch up. Even if it ends here I can assure you it was a glorious romance and entirely worth living through…tbc