Remembering shuttered days

I found a bible in one of my cupboards, full of notes, signed to a man I met in Peru called Jack. I have no idea how it ended up in one of my cupboards. The last time I saw Jack we sat on the front top of an overnight kamikaze bus from Cusco to Huacachina. The driver slung that machine down the mountain like a maniac for hours. Perhaps Jack gave me the bible for protection. It was scary, but we told each other the driver must do it every day. And we didn’t move from the huge windows at the front, even though the bus was not crowded. We were going from high altitude cloud forests into desert, ears popping, tiny roads, screaming round tiny corners with death in a beautiful place just inches away.. Peru can be like that. Crazy humans. So many ecosystems in that slice of land, and a culture of driving like you’re possessed.

Through the magic of Facebook, I could contact Jack the bible owner. I’m gonna post that good book back to him. It’s full of his notes. He was and likely still is very devout. I’ll do it next eBay rush. Another thing gone from my flat. Another step towards clarity. All these energies…

Max came over tonight and thankfully he understood. “I’m thinking of selling Da’s owl collection at car boot…” My grandmother ended up being given owls by everybody who couldn’t think what else to give to her. I’ve ended up with the lot. Some have already been passed on to friends or absorbed into my constant orbit. The majority of them are just sitting on shelves in my old bedroom, looking down on me. I needed Max to give me greenlight that he trusts I’m going to only flog stuff that isn’t meaningful to either of us. This is just the stuff that wouldn’t be worth the postage cost on eBay. It’s gotta go. It’s gonna go. I’m moving it on.

Contacting Jack about the bible made me think about my old Christian roots. I messaged an old schoolfriend who has planted a church up in Oxfordshire. We were integral to each other’s survival back then, weathering a storm of shit. We have both dealt with it differently, which perhaps put some space between us. I put it into my work, and took myself on multiple thought journeys to contemplate and get perspective on it. My perspective shifted quite quickly from it with the loss of my parents. I slowly and carefully made sense of that seething bucket of shit, using stories and faith structures and avoidance. He used faith structures as well, and based on our conversation today he also had a good old slice of old fashioned therapy. I never went down that route but I’d probably be lighter if I had. I’m gonna try to see him. He was light in darkness. Him and Dan. Without them I’d have cut out so long ago it’s impossible to contemplate.

I found a box of cards people had given me when they left that place. Mostly kind, occasionally insulting amusing and thoughtful snatches of the late eighties and early nineties. Young people trying to encapsulate difficult thoughts. Some of them bubbled to the top – the ones who didn’t make it through adolescence by their own hand. Kind hearts. Two of them, forever 19. Sad photos to see, sad notes to read. Others I know are gone too through illness and bad luck. And then, flip it – others who are famous. A mixed bag. My crew. My weird school crowd. Some were contributing to whatever it was that gave me this huge will to live and love. I still don’t really know where it came from, or when it started. I remember when I didn’t have it. But now it runs alongside the oblivion drive. Recently it has been so strong it’s the only drive I feel sometimes.

All is well. Opera tomorrow. Stranger Things tonight, and perhaps listening to Kate Bush this afternoon helped me find a place where I could look at those ancient times. She’s enjoying a resurgence cos of Stranger Things. Her strange music buoys me up now even as it did then.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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