A lighthouse for the lost
A dream for the broken hearted
A nightmare for the scared
Follow your light at any cost
Words From Beyond M.S. 1989
I left the cemetery that day, the day of my brother memorial which was attended by only my parents, with mixed feelings. Feelings so deep and so mixed that they hurt me from the inside.
As much as it was a shock to see the words on my brother’s gravestone I honestly think that was the smallest shock of the day, after all one of the catalysts of me leaving home was seeing the shrine my father made for Herod on which he used my name. That’s not to say it didn’t hurt, I just don’t think it was the biggest shock of the day.
That award probably went to hearing the words of the priest, or more likely hearing the words that came out of thin air but sounded like they were spoken in my brother’s voice.
“Don’t let anything hold you back!”
“Follow your dreams.”
I remember walking through the cemetery gates thinking about both those statements.
Who was holding me back? It wasn’t question that came up often but my immediate thought was that nothing had held me back since I walked out of the door of my childhood home. For the first fifteen years of my life my father had held me back, he’d stopped me from becoming more than a shadow of my brother, who in essence was probably going be a shadow of himself. No one since leaving that house had ever tried to hold me back they way he had. But then the realisation that maybe that was not what the voice actually meant, maybe there was more to it.
It was still well before lunch time but I had been up for several hours and as was running on very little sleep so I decided that I needed some sort of sustenance to keep me going, or at very least to get me home. There was a small milk bar across the road from a cemetery which did take away foods, mostly fried and always quick, so I headed over their with the intention of getting something small to eat and drink, something I could eat of the bus back to the house.
Instead what I came out with was a large bag of chips, four Dim Sims and a Chiko Roll, all neatly wrapped up in a bundle of newspaper and a chocolate Big M (flavoured milk in a carton). While I probably wouldn’t have been told off if I’d tried to board the bus with such food, back then the driver would have been more likely to ask if he could share than to kick me off, I decided against it. Then in another shock for the day I decided to go and eat with my brother.
I guess it really would have been nice if I heard more voices in the time that I sat beside Herod’s grave and ate my food but that didn’t happen. It’s not like I didn’t ask for the voice to come back, but it just didn’t happen so instead I was left with my own thoughts.
I hadn’t considered that Steve, or more to the point living at Steve’s was holding me back. The man had offered me a job, a room and he’d offered me friendship, three things I was desperately seeking when our paths crossed at the pub in the city. I’d seen countless gigs with Steve, many of them great, I’d travelled with Steve and when the shit felt heavy on my shoulders it seemed like Steve was there. The friends I’d made at his house, they were supportive and friendly, Jim taught me guitar without the need for payment and without question. The only bummer that I could possibly contribute to being at Steve’s house was Andrea, but even that wasn’t something that was holding me back Andrea and I had been wonderful for four months.
But then it hit me, maybe the voice I had heard did not mean exactly what I thought it meant. Up until that moment I was thinking that by holding me back the voice meant I was being restrained by invisible chains I was too scared, or maybe incapable of breaking. The kind of chains that a child has with their parent until they are old enough to be independent. The kinds of chains that guide a child to become an architect, or a doctor because that was what their parent did.
I was no longer chained to my parents, well at least I didn’t think I was because I had escaped their house, their rules and my father’s tyranny. (I would in years to come find out that I never actually escaped those chains, I just couldn’t see them, but more on that later.) However were they the only chains holding me back? It’s wasn’t a voice from the sky that told me the answer to that question it was a voice inside my head, a voice that until that moment just hadn’t got through.
It wasn’t that Steve was physically, or mentally for that matter, holding me back it was me that was holding myself back. I’d grown kind of comfortable in the lifestyle I’d chosen, or had been chosen for me. I’d slipped into a life, which for nearly a year had served a purpose, I needed to break out of that comfort zone if I was to break the chains that were holding me back.
Seemed pretty logical and seemed like the kind of answer I probably should have come up with by myself didn’t it? Well maybe I should have but let’s face it we are all guilty of ignoring the signs we should have seen because it suited us at the time and those of us who can’t admit that are probably still ignoring something.
So with that solved and my lunch nearly over I only had one thought to answer. What was the dream I should follow?