New life, new friends,
New habits. new trends
Out of your shadow, free and clear
Feeling good and feeling no fear

New Life M.S. 1989

It might seem like I am concentrating, or maybe even dwelling a bit too much on this single area of my life as I head into what happened after I left home. But the truth is, aside from my first fifteen years of my life where I lived defined by my father, the failed preacher, and lived in the shadow of my brother until I disappeared altogether, there was nothing else to concentrate on. Leaving home not just gave me something different to concentrate on it gave me so, so much more to concentrate on.

Despite Steve suggesting that I needed to come back inside the warehouse because I couldn’t make such big decisions about my life without caffeine it might surprise you to find out that we didn’t come close to those decisions for several hours.

At the time I had no idea what Steve spent his days doing but there was no hint of him leaving during our chat to go home, or leaving because he was due somewhere, we just sat in that kitchen drinking coffee and smoking. The strange thing was that while we did talk Steve didn’t once ask what I was running away from, or running too. He also didn’t ask for a surname, age, or other such personal information and in return I didn’t give it to him. Had he specifically asked for the information I still don’t know if I would have given it too him, but as I say it was not requested.

When Brad surfaced at 3:30pm, with the scantly clad woman I’d seen him pleasuring only a few hours before, that innocence changed a little bit. It turns out the woman was his girl friend, her name was Daphne and they’d been going out for years. She was very made up, wearing a lot of make up, as well as little clothing and I did have trouble taking my eyes off her a few times because she was unlike the girls I was used to seeing. Even when I was caught staring she didn’t seem to mind, she’d just smile and occasionally wink at me.

However, as would find out later in life women, especially good looking ones, had a power over me and Daphne, although I was never attracted to her in a romantic way, was no exception. It seems a little strange to admit that given that not long ago I remember telling you that I’d grown up with the belief that women, real women, submitted to men, and that real women were there for the enjoyment of men. Yet within minutes of Brad and Daphne sitting down with Steve and I it was me that was submitting to her. Not in a sexual way.

“Watcha name kiddo?” Daphne asked me before she’d even gotten comfortable in her seat.

“Mark.” I replied slightly nervous that she was going to say something about me seeing them in the office a few hours earlier.

“That’s one of ‘em. What’s the other?”

I looked at her blankly. Because I hadn’t been asked for a surname when I came up with the name Mark I hadn’t thought any more about it. My mind quickly circled a few names around as I tried desperately not to be honest with Daphne, like I said she had a power over me and I had to try not to let it take me.

“Fair enough.” Daphne said after a few moments of my silence. “We’ve all run away from something sometime. But if you want a job around here I’m going to need a name.” She stopped talking for a moment, I stared at her. “Given the look of stone cold fright on your face. I’m going to call you Mark Stone.”

So that is how I went from having one single name that was not my own to having a full name, and a nickname which as you can guess became Stony. It’s also how I went from being homeless to being employed. I didn’t even know I was applying for a job but there I was less than twenty four hours after leaving my previous life behind with a new name and a job.

As it turned out Daphne was not just Brad’s girl friend she was the owner of the Power Touring Company. She owned the truck, the equipment in it and the warehouse and she employed Brad, Steve and the other guys I’d help load out from the Chisel gig.

Before Daphne and Brad left the warehouse that evening not only was I employed but I also had a place to stay because Brad invited me back to his house for as long as I wanted. I remember once reading about the 60’s and how free love and understand extended the olive branch to many people. How it was a time where people shared what they had with anyone and how houses became open door communities. Well it appeared to me that it wasn’t only the 60’s generation that had the same idea.

Something else that happened after Daphne left was Brad telling me that I shouldn’t feel pressured about the job. If I didn’t want to hang around there would be no questions asked, but if I was prepared to hang around we had the exclusive tour schedule for Cold Chisel and we’d be employed pretty much full time for the next sixth months.

I appreciated Steve’s honesty. I appreciated his invite too, but his honesty was what I most appreciated because it was an honesty I didn’t think I had ever seen before, in anyone expect Herod. He didn’t care about names. He didn’t care about what I was running from. He didn’t care that I wasn’t sure where I was running to. He saw me as someone who needed help and he offered it in the best way he could.

It was that honesty and openness from Steve that did see me open up and tell him the truth before anyone else knew.

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