A distant son --a story of over-medication of a loved one.
The city where I was born was middle England at its middlingest , and it was a normal day in January when the snowflakes drifted randomly and pasteurised the flat urban-scape.
My childhood was a happy so lucky, nurtured in the womb of normality, sort of childhood with doting parents and a besotted brace of sisters.
Only when I started at Straight-jacket Primary school , as I later called it, in a suburban idyll, did the differences start to emerge.
And so early childhood .......where the roller coaster I was on didn't often seem to match the Pleasure Beach rides of anyone else, or so they said.
Then when I was about ten and a half and not looking forward to secondary school I glimpsed a vision of my future. This night was so totally dark that the blackness was only scraper-boarded across by the occasional shooting star of a lonely Fiesta or Clio driver, pursuing their dreamscapes. I saw an emptiness.
And so life.....................continued.
The street where I grew up had an avenue of trees that were sentinels for an imaginary parade of returning heroes from the many wars that were now lost to the damnation of history.
Our meaning, I realised at this point is the social spectacles through which we see our past life learning, our choices in the now and our futures hoped for and more importantly which we have chosen.
And so.....later childhood.
The way I followed became increasingly windy and surprisingly undulating for where we lived . And then one day I realised l was on a parallel side road , shaded by tall poplar trees and intermittent weeping willows from the view that most people saw. The glasses through which I stared bemused and fascinated were not rose tinted and surface focussed but penetrated the schisms and fault lines of our all too real world. The responsibility remains.
In the darkness at the edge of the city, where I breathed in youth, were pockets of sanity, life-wells for the spirits that would shape my destiny. Not churches or traditional sancturaries , the mausoleums of a past spiritual colonisation that is no longer relevant . These were just green lung areas where my being was energised and play had a new shape and purpose. Characters roamed here that dwell in any city and can be experienced if you breathe the right air, sharing the fun with good friends hope ,faith and love.
Hope is like a very close friend who is always there for you but with whom you must share the responsibility for your Route Planner, your own not the A.A's or anyone else's, where the measures are more flexible than a clock's or a milometer's.
Faith is the inner friendship between beliefs and soul where an amiableness of spiritual togetherness emerges budding into adolescence and beyond to adulthood.
And love is the richest friendship, warm, nurturing, trusting and expectant of another's ability to change and grow.
And so....one such day.
I was thirteen years and thirteen days old when on a Friday my mother took me to see Dr Weston, whose son attended my high school and was a pillar of normality. Instead of the usual inoculation or gland feeling examinations he asked us both superficial questions about my fluctuations in diurnal rhythms or energy levels and the ups and downs of my moods. Normal I thought....until this moment. After less than ten minutes he said, "Take one of these every morning with your breakfast .You'll make sure of that won't you, mum?"
And so........... I did !
That day, my life did indeed take an unlucky turn, my creativity suddenly neutralised. My English and Art teachers both commented very soon on the noticeable deterioration in my word-smithing and paint-saying abilitites. I knew at that point that the door to mediocracy beckoned tantalisingly, peeping ajar at me. I looked hard at it straight in the eyes and wished two years later that I had fled away from this ogre in blind yet somehow all-seeing panic. Instead two long years of my life trudged and sludged past in sticky moments, by the score. Times when my stuckness and stability led me to such a morose lassitude that I felt like an any empty shell compared to my past visions which were more and more distant now, by the day.
Distant now, a distant son to my worried but colluding parents and a distant landmark to my sidling away friends and shuffling off the scene sisters who were more and more sending me, effectively, to some imaginary nearby place, Coventry.
Only when the perfectly amiable man in the white coat I had seen, two years previously, became a despotic demon in my monochrome dream did I have enough angry adolescent energy to spit the tablets I was expected to take down the loo each morning, as I left the breakfast table. My mother unaware that my cup of P.G.Tips and bacon and tomato sandwich had not had it's usual garnish that day or any other from then on.
Within four clover leaf, happier days, I sensed the ruminating changes, in my head, and the first friend to return was love. A return of warmth to a few had been yet recent acquaintances , nee' actually old friends. A twinkle in the soul spot of my eye was the first overt sign, that gleamed back in the mirror as I washed one bright morning. It was cleansing, to my body, like the dawn sun shining through cell bars to end my two year sentence.
And so.........normality again , my blessed and beautiful normality.
Hope and faith returned to be my companions as well, shortly.
And now....I am an adult who has penned my short story thus. A not so short ,it seemed, story of a detour into a man- made capsule of abnormal purgatory.
Written to stimulate debate on this contentious issue.
August 2010 , Brittany.
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