This was a difficult one to write. As you can see there is nothing linear about the story I am relating in Reality Dreams. I saw them as dreams. I saw them as a series of possibilities. In many ways this book was a series of Robert Frost’s the road not taken. All roads could be taken no matter how fantastical. There were no limits. The imagination was the only boundary.
This section was written for my friend Jeff Evans. He was a school friend in the year above me who took his own life. He was a casualty. Jeff was one of those sweet lovely guys so full of fun and warmth. He became heavily involved with drugs and didn’t know when to stop. There was more than a bit of Syd Barrett about him in both appearance and lifestyle.
At the age of twenty one Jeff stood on a bridge, raised his hands and stepped into the front of an express train.
I saw that this is a possibility for all of us. There but for fortune go you or I. It was a possibility for Messny. The strange dichotomy with him simultaneously being in the crowd and on the ledge was an attempt at empathy.
I wrote this shortly after Jeff died. It was a homage to him. I’ve never forgotten these last nearly fifty years. Life can be cruel.
Messny stared up from in the midst of an ooooing crowd watching with excitement and anticipation at the man standing on the giddy ledge threatening to jump. At the same time he tottered on that ledge.
Below him cameras were flashing, headlines were being concocted, bonuses assessed, and angles for stories judged, as newsmen, scattered among the crowd, were thinking about the best was to present the story to the reader for maximum impact.
The crowd were inquisitive and excitable. They wanted action and drama – some were concerned.
He swayed fearfully, as if in doubt when peering down from the sickening height while clawing at the vestiges of his mind. He almost staggered as if intoxicated by the sober reality as it flooded his thoughts. He teetered with self-reproach and sorrow – sorrow for himself, for those he was leaving behind, for friends and family, for the world – yet tinged with relief.
He stood on the brink of release, vacillating only because of those tugging him back with their emotional ties, his head full of nightmares and visions that refused to go away – from whom there was no escape – wondering if, when the final decision came they would all be dissipated in the wind that would blow as he fell, and worrying that there really wasn’t such a thing as a final decision.
Yet there was no other way. It was a question of waiting until the moment was exactly right. He knew it would arrive. Until then he could only contemplate the fall and threaten to jump should anyone come near. His mind was made up. He was waiting only for that moment of inner certainty. It was the signal – the all-clear.
Messny’s major concern was that that moment would be triggered prematurely by the pressure coming from the fools below. They were uncomprehending. They demanded action. Their excitement transmitted to him and made it more difficult. They watched out of curiosity, exhilarated by their own imaginations of the gory prospect. He could hear them clearly as they tut-tutted.
‘So much to live for.’
‘What makes someone do that?’
The voices wafted up.
He knew that there was nothing to live for now.
He stood on the ledge surrounded with the scent of a trapped animal. Not quite in command of his own destiny. Not yet. Not until he was past the point of no return. Not until that final decision had been taken and he put it into action and moved towards total freedom from all responsibilities or the ability to alter his destiny.
For now he remained a trapped animal at bay.
Messny was busy waiting for the second of his release – that decision. When the wait was over there would be no more responsibility, no more worries – just freedom for a few seconds followed by the ultimate release. Then no more pressure – ever again. He could imagine it as a moment of bliss.
He was eager for it.
But still he had to wait for the moment of calm when the forces in his head resolved themselves. That battle was almost won. The experience of release was waiting to be tasted.
He could taste that last ecstasy –
The final sacrament –
The only answer.
Yet his mind still ran its internal checklist, ticking off the possibilities, running through them one by one. Was there no other way? He could not find one that worked?
His mind ran through the grief he would leave in his wake and weighed it up against the need. He was sorry – so sorry – but he could not live with it.
There was no other way.
Messny looked down at the crowd and imagined the fall and response. Messny looked up from the crowd and imagined the fall and response.
‘Whoever was doing it to you was doing it to me too!’ he thought.
Messny stood in anguish – flaming eyes full of tears, head twisting this way and that, eyes flicking, mind whirling – spinning, rushing, staring – trapped. Nowhere to run, to turn or escape. No escape. Yet no resolution – yet.
With trembling hands he peered out blindly, his mind focussed inwards waiting for that moment of calm.
Inside it was as if a silent scream was tearing him apart, swirling his emotions into a whirlwind of terror, fear, anger, sorrow, hate and love. It was swamping him.
He wanted it to quieten down so that he could think clearly. They were like claws ripping deep inside his mind, an insect burrowing into his brain, a machine churning at the living flesh in his skull. He thought he would scream with the pain of it.
Anger welled up in him and made him feel like striking out – hitting, pounding – or running away, crawling away to hide.
He glared down at them with a grimace, a snarl on his lips. He wanted to rip them to pieces – friend or foe, onlooker or passer-by. To destroy trees and buildings – to pummel walls into submission – to rage and rant until the pain inside went away.
He wanted to drown in the oneness of the universe and lose himself forever. He wanted it to cease. He wanted to cease. It was inside him and outside and there was nowhere to run. There was nothing but fear. The whole world was fear – and the unfocussed anger it spawned. It was driving him crazy.
At that moment on the ledge he wrestled with the oceans of fear that sent him swirling and reeling – lost in the black void of fear – fear with no centre or cause – that could not be justified or rationalised – that could not be countered. It was fear of being overwhelmed by the world. It had built up over time and was now waiting to be released like a tightly wound spring as if started to unwind. The momentum was growing. It was flooding out and sweeping everything before it in an overpowering force that was turning his mind into a hurricane.
Messny felt that he had been tumbled, bled, wrung-out and strangled. Inside the little person that was the essence of himself was gasping for life – running…. running….. running – inwards away from that terror – from the reality of fear to the unreality of it.
Yet he still could not see – could not understand. He could not comprehend when it had begun or how – and, more importantly, he could not conceive that it might ever end.
Somehow it had been implanted deep within him and was now being released into a fury that had become a tempest of screeching horror.
To cry and not hear – to scream and still be deaf – to experience emotions too strong to control or contain.
He stood finally in triumph.
The escape to sanity was distant and meaningless, so unreal. He could only glimpse it as a distant light, a door of light seen through a tunnel of darkness
– A star of light
Through light years of darkness
A void of fear
Enough fear to get lost in and stumble through forever.
Messny stood on the ledge. Messny looked up from the crowd. He was hit by waves of claustrophobia and agoraphobia all rolled into one. He wanted that uterine warmth back. Everything solid began to melt. The world began to waver and flow. It was closing in on him like the uterus contracting and betraying him all over again. It was stifling. There was no reality to grasp. He looked up and the sky itself was blue liquid drowning him.
Below him the sea of faces swayed and beckoned.
The moment of release was approaching. He could feel it come. The calmness banished the noise and drove away the voices, forced back the tide that was engulfing him and brought peace. It was for the best. Despite all the pain it would leave in his wake – he knew it was the only way. Even for brief seconds of sanity it was worth it – for those seconds might just last an eternity. Even if it meant oblivion it was the right choice.
The moment arrived in all the majesty of perfect calm.
It was right.
It had to be now.
For a brief moment he basked in the strength and power that flowed through him and the glory of the decision.
Messny stared up in horror and could see the beauty of that moment. He saw it as a triumph. He had confronted terror and won.
Even as they frantically reached to grab him back he raised his hands and, smiling serenely, stepped forward towards the destiny he sought.
From below Messny could see the ecstasy of that release. It glowed on his face. He could see peace and contentment change the contours of those anguished features. It burst out of him. He could not find the will to blame him as much as he wished to. He could not judge him. He could only feel the horror of those who loved him and were flotsam in his wake. It grieved him. He could hear the gasp of the crowd as they got wait they had waited for and could be horrified by the spectacle of a broken, lifeless body.
For aeons he hung in space as he plummeted to earth.
Messny watched as if in a dream.
He no longer lived in this world but suspended in another world that was contained in those brief seconds.
My books are available on Amazon in paperback and digital formats. They are world-wide!
In the UK you might like to browse through on my link below: For overseas visitors please refer to your local Amazon. You’ll find me there.
In the USA:
Here’s a few selected titles:
- The Blues Muse – the story of Rock music through the eyes of the man with no name who was there through it all.
2. In Search of Captain Beefheart – The story of one man’s search for the best music from the fifties through to now.
1. Ebola in the Garden of Eden – a tale of overpopulation, government intrigue and a disaster that almost wipes out mankind, warmed by the humanity of children.
2. Green – A story set in the future where pollution is destroying the planet and factions of the Green Party have different solutions – a girl is born with no nervous system.
Kindle & Paperback versions:
1. Anthropocene Apocalypse – a detailed memoir of the destruction taking place all over the globe with views on how to deal with it.
- A passion for Education – A Headteacher’s story – The inside story of how to teach our children properly.
There are many more – why not give them a go! You’ll love them!