It must have been in the late summer of 2003, maybe 2004, whenever my last time was with no meds. That’s how I remember it.
I was standing at X station waiting for a metro, was there some delay, there must have been, I’d walked to the front of the platform, to be more alone. Early evening sun shone, the light caught my attention and I looked and there on the tracks one tall weed stood, perfect, alive and full.
And my mind went to things Russian, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy. There was some regret that in this world this is what I had to recognise. Even then I knew better than that. I looked at it in praise and wonder. I was grateful to be without meds, to be able to feel my seeing again. I was very grateful and I counted the years since any experience quite like this, of presence.
I stood a while more and as those blissful moments passed I had a feeling, a feeling first, then an idea, of how good it would be to see my Uncle Y, my Godfather, right then. I’d not seen him for quite some time. We’re not exactly close, but, family. I don’t know where it came from, maybe from my reading, maybe that is it. It was a warmth that spread.
I stood a while longer, enjoying the tall magnificent weed that survived, apparently untouched, perfectly between the directions, enjoying the light. You may not be able to imagine quite how I felt when I looked up to see my uncle walking down the platform toward me smiling, happy, hale and hearty, and dressed from head to foot in white. Like some visitation. I had never before and never since bumped into him on the metro, nor anywhere, in fact, we don’t seem to do that. I think I knew he was away, on holiday. And this was not his stop, he doesn’t have one.
I was happy to see him. And he me. He’d just got back with my aunt from a retreat at the shrine at Walsingham. Really. This of course explains how he came to be there. Really, it did, by a series of events, at least materially. I resisted all temptation to check he was real. We talked, me to he and to something more, whilst appearing quite normal, but to this sense I had of something more. A sense that also silenced me. The metro came. We got on. We sat down. It was busy and very noisy and I remember I felt I was shouting, that I had to, although I wasn’t, any more than anyone else, but that it felt inappropriate to what we had to say. I told him I’d been reading Richard Feynman’s book, of his adventures. My uncle, the physicist, who’d not read this and was interested. I felt keenly aware of that way I have, maybe most with me, most felt, when most tender, of showing life’s standard ways of being, of masks. Often that is linked to portraying masculinity as it must seem to be. But here it was more. A need in society to hide a love bursting forth. I was negotiating this, but saw no way to, at all, other than to veil it.
And of course all the time inside I was reeling. I did tell him I’d just been thinking of him, but how can you portray this sense. Was it coincidence, premonition. I was tinged with a suspicion I’d summoned him, or called with some pure feeling for some other to usher him here. I wondered where I was, again, alive, dead, who I am, what. And that short train ride was soon over. I got off, reluctantly, walking away from something illuminated. I joined my fellow counselling students for our safe meal and drinks, I took my shock, they listened to the small part I explained, who better, but still it was not something I could wholly speak of nor wished to.
I told my then psychiatrist later. A mistake. I’m not sure if it was the same day I was talking fast, amidst my MA research. If it was, I think it was, that too was part of his orthodox decision to medicate me, again, ‘just half the minimum dosage’. I mean why would anyone be excited about those two things. I put up with his doubts, his challenges, his certainty that I’d mixed up my own process. That is not the case. Putting up with his doubt must have had an affect. But then he’s done far worse to me, I feel. But I learn I must forgive, love unconditionally, especially when badly treated, challenged. Understand in the fullest light, insist on that, to grow. Forgive us all, try to forgive myself.
I’ve thought of writing it since, sometimes, occasionally. This personal story. Wondering how. What words could convey it. But it must just be told flat, matter of fact. Among them my heart is singing.
A. H (2018-19)