Wednesday, June 30, 2010


                                                         For all who feel ...

Even as a caterpillar, when coming to an end of a blade of grass, reaches out to another blade of grass and draws itself over to it, in the same way the Soul, leaving the body and unwisdom behind, reaches out to another body and draws itself over to it.

   The First Rejection

It was raining heavily with some biting cold sleet mixed  into it just for good measure on that gray winter Irish October Sunday morning when and after agonising days of thinking about it Maureen Roe took the noon city train to visit her parents in the small sea-side-resort-village on the coast. Before she was married she made this journey many times to a job she had for a couple of years now in the civil service in the city. She went straight from secondary school  into this good paying  job that any young woman starting off a working career were trying their damnedest to get into. The country was on the 'up' and it needed an intelligent workforce to 'back it'. The then government was going to 'drag' the country by the neck into the 'real world'. The civil service was the place to be if you wanted to be 'involved' in the making of the  new country. It gave the promise of the  secuirty of having a job for life and a pension at retirement.  At this time men dominated the work force but for the young career minded woman the civil service was the place and Maureen Roe was on the move up, she had a future and she believed in the future .... and then she got pregnant. It was not planned.

The journey from the city takes under an hour along the coast line looking out to the cold gray-blue Irish Sea.  The railway system was at it's best now because people used and depended on the trains ... if you owned a car it was a sign you too were in good 'shape' financially and were on the move.  The train pulled into the small  light gray coloured granite station on the coast ... and on time. Familiar faces were now around her, it was where she grew up, nodding to her with smiles and some hinting on the smile across their faces knowing she was back to visit her parents. It was a small community of people living in the sea-side-resort-village that boasted off it's fine golf course and long clean white sand beaches.  By the time she got back on the return train to the city most of the villagers would have known she was there. As Maureen Roe walked in the rain that could sting over the small hump-back bridge made from the same stone as the railway station and that crossed over the railway line she could see her parents house all of the time and it's light blue front door standing out like a welcome beacon she takes in a deep breath  of sea air realising how much she really missed this place she grew up in and thought she would never get out off.  A small single storey cottage with pebble dashed walls and tiled apex roof ... what was called a labours-cottage, facing a decent green area with the dark green painted water hand-pump that supplied the surrounding cottages with their water for all of their needs. There was no running water or bathroom inside the small cottages where large families were brought-up in cramped space of two bedrooms and like most of the inhabitants turned one of the rooms in the front of the house to make a third bedroom. living space was tight and hard for the women who raised families of up to ten. Water was carried from the outside pump several times in the day depending on the demand in galvanised buckets.  The pump freezed up in the winter months and that brought it's own problems for the inhabitions but this  was solved by each house having their own large out-door water barrels that would collect rain water from down pipes running off the roof of the cottage and when winter came it was just a matter of braking the ice on the top of the barrel and fishing your bucket in to bring out the water. The toilet was housed in a small out-house that needed to be emptied by hand several times during the week and deposited into a dug-out pit at the bottom of a very long garden which all of the cottages had  where vegetables were grown to supply each cottage it's own basic needs and all cottages kept their own hens and some even kept pigs and a cow for milking. It was a time when men did a days work if they could get it on the large local farms that supplied the city with it's vegetables and local fruits when in season before the imported stuff got a hold on  the market and came home to to do a few hours in the garden before nightfall and then most went to the  pub .. there was always money for stout. 
Now standing on the concrete step with it's mat for wiping your shoes before entering at the light blue front door with the key in the lock ...  Maureen  was feeling  nervous. The front door was never locked, it was a time when people just 'knocked' and walked in announcing themselves,  a time when during the summer months the front door was left open all day and only locked at night.
Her mother was not expecting her, they had no phone, none of the houses had land-line phones and communication was by letter or passed by word-of-mouth. For Maureen to be standing in the small kitchen with it's cream coloured walls and it's deep farmhouse-sink where many a child was bathed and all other washing facilities of the cottage was carried out in on a Sunday without her new husband, her mother felt something was wrong and reached for the green pack of  'Major' and another cup of strong tea, one of many for the day ... 'Major' and tea, the 'poor' woman's Valium. Maureen came straight out with it and told her mother she was pregnant after a couple of months of marriage. She was happy with the good news and it would be her third grandchild whom she had more time for then maybe she had for her own children because she hadn't the worry of feeding and caring for them ... but she also could see Maureen was not happy with her new situation in life, and the rest of the day was spent with cups of tea and in mother counselling daughter who did not want to  give up her independence and career. Maureen's mother was a strong willed woman who had seen enough troubled times in her own life what with practically rearing her own family on her own for her husband who worked on the railways was gone for all of the day and when his working day was finished he liked his stout. His time was spent in the company of hard men working on railway lines. From a days work to the pub then to the garden and maybe back to the pub for the last 'one', this was the routine through out their life and the life Maureen was brought up in. Her father was a hard man by the life he lead but would soften to a 'gentle giant' in old age and the past was not spoken about, not even between themselves.
Maureen's mother stood at the light blue front door, her eyes misting up watching her daughter walking back towards the train station to catch the 5:30 back to the city. Daughter turned and looked back at her mother with tears in her eyes, and the fetus in side her body knew it was rejected. It was the 'first rejection' and many more were to come as reminders of the first rejection through out the child's  life and into adulthood.  If a woman could abort her baby by 'thought'  Maureen was doing it and did so till the bitter end. This child was not in her 'plan-of-plans'.  It was not wanted .... not wanted.

  Many Rejections To follow

Simon was born on a hot July night at 2:30am. It was a long and difficult labour for mother and son and Simon so much so that he will be reminded of the 'details' of the birth in graphic detail from a young age right into adulthood even when he himself will be married and when ever his mother got the chance, regardless of who was listening,  she would remind him of the 'trouble' he was and pain he gave her when he was being delivered into this world. 
When Simon finally decided to give up the 'fight' and come 'out' there were some problems and he was placed in an incubator for two days. It was a breech-birth and there was another problem too, his small ears had not opened up. They were like two small pink rose buds waiting to open but only when the time was right for him.  As mysteriously as they were closed they began to open. It was four months before they finally did open and just as well for Simon, because the doctors were advising his parents on an operation to open them for they feared that if  it was left to late it could affect his hearing in the future and besides the skin could graft together. It was not a physical problem that his ears had not opened up but Simon's way of protecting himself in the womb from not hearing the 'words of rejection' of his mother. Simon would not take to the milk of his mother at first but his survival instinct 'kicked in'  if he was going to live but the taste of her milk just added to what he already knew when he was inside her womb, that he was not wanted. The milk was already sour to his sensitive taste  but  the 'harm' was already done,  imprinted like some code into his conscious and subconscious mind for his entire life time, so much so that he would find it very difficult to be in the some room as her without him feeling sick or nausea.
Simon did not speak his first words until he was after two years old and it was already assumed from this that he would be a 'slow leaner' but something he did learn very fast at this time and it would stand to him for the rest of his life from watching his mother was ... 'body-language'.  By the time Simon was one and a half  years old he had a brother and four more siblings were to follow over the space of eight years. He knew from a younger age that favouritism was given to the others and that he was to become the 'punch bag' for his mother both physical and mentally. His father worked long and hard hours in the printing industry. Then got his brake and opened his own business specialising in printing 'bill-boards' and had the new market to himself for many years. The hours were long and hard and extra-so due to the smell of print fumes on the 'print floor' and the noise from the print presses was another problem, but it was the time when industry safety was not in the workers and employers agenda.  Over the years working conditions did improve for the employees but back then people did  die due to their working environment.  Simon's father, who felt he was already doing his part for his family by keeping a roof over their heads and giving them a yearly family holiday in some beach resort in the country that he, and just like Maureen's father before him, left the rearing of children  to his wife.  He was doing his part by providing a good home in a safe district on the out-skirts of the city but was 'blind' in being a 'father' to his children and came later in life to realize it but was too late now in  life to undo what was already done.
Simon, as a child would seek the 'comfort' of his father, when he was at home but who was not there when he went to bed and was not there when he woke up. It was not a relationship where father and son shared 'thoughts' but his father had a 'closeness' for Simon but this 'closeness' would reverse later in both of their lives and would always be coming from Simon till and after the day his father died.
Simon attended a government national school which was over crowded and stressful for the teachers to teach in, in that if you could not keep up you got left behind and Simon got left behind. He left that school with no papers to his credit to show for his seven years there. He failed the National exam and was barley able to read, but he had other talents to his credit. He was good at drawing and a keen eye for color, but these were not provided for in the school curriculum and were not encourage or given any amount of praise by his mother. When he had shown her something he had drawn her remark was that he had 'traced' it from some book. Simon was use to her put-downs of him but he was trying to win her affections and only gave up trying  later on in his life. Simon entered vocational school at the age of twelve ... a school were along with the basic school subjects you got the basic training for a trade. On the first day of enrollment the classes were assigned to each pupil on their National exam results from their previous school. Simon was assigned to the bottom level in all classes. Simon being shy and with-drawn and as regarding his 'safety' he had a better chance of surviving in prison than he had in that school. They were a tough four years for Simon while he was there and he made few friends but the 'bullies' of the school liked him, he was easy pickings and each day was a survival for him apart from trying to learn something apart from avoiding the kicks and thumps from the 'bullies'.  His mother did not want to know about it but  he did make one friend by the name of Owen Doyle. Owen came from another school, a 'posh' school and looked out of place due to his 'good' cloths and even by his good clean looks. Owen seemed to have a better upbringing than the other so-called students but Owen and Simon became good  friends. They recognised they were both 'outsiders' ... you could say. He was the first 'true friend' Simon had but it did not last more than two years due to  Owen's destiny and him trying to 'fit-in'.  Owen, like the initials of his name O.D'ed and Simon was with-out a 'friend'. Simon left this school in the same way he came in ... with nothing. He failed the exams for obtaining any sort of 'good chance' in getting a decent job or moving on to third level education and so moved on and out and into the world as he was, unequipped, and from here on it depended on his faith in life.
His brother got a better shot at life. He attended a semi-private co-ed school in a better part of the city and for most of the kids attending that school their parents were wealthy and he was mixing with a better 'type' of people. He had lots of friends and was already familiar with girls company long before Simon was and because of all of this his brother treated Simon as 'different' and the divide had already opened up between them ... never to be 'brothers' again. It also applied to the rest of the siblings, like a bad dose of cancer on a rampage through the body eating away anything that was 'good' and therefore the family was never close then or ever will be later on in life. Love was never on the agenda, that was a 'four-letter' word. Simon was in and out of jobs to try to make a go of it on his own but he liked the printing and had excellent color-sense  and Simon therefore was drafted into work with the family business. The hours were long and the days were longer and time off was scarce. It was slave labour 'approved' because it was a family business. Simon was a good worker and worked hard for his father, it was the longest and closest time he had ever spent with his father, but it was a boss and employee relationship they had. There were times when father and son relationship did brake the spell but it was rare. The years passed by and Simon build up the expanding business until one day Simon confronted his father as to what would happen to the business if  he, the father, was to die and he was going to die with 'complications of the heart' {what a nice way to say stress}.. the short answer that he gave was ''it will be divided up between with the rest of the family''. Simon was not prepared to be a 'slave' to the rest of the family for the rest of his time, especially to his two sisters who one day will have husbands of their own, and therefore walked out with nothing to show for all of his years of work for the 'family'. At this time Simon's first marriage broke down. She turned out to be a living, walking, breathing replica of his mother. Two 'doors' had now closed in his life at the same time. There was no children and it was easy for them to go their separate ways. He was now on his own ... totally.
As the years moved on Simon remarried and became a self-educated-man in the ways of the world and in all he liked. Read on all topics and subjects and was well equipped to hold his own  place in conversations with people who were highly educated or specialists in their own fields. His love and passion for painting was his 'life-saver' and all his 'free' time was given to his painting. Simon became a 'specialist' too in print and had his own small business that was the favourite amongst the artist's both in his own country and abroad for reproducing their paintings in print ... sometimes it was hard to tell the original from the print that it was said Simon was ahead of his time when it came to reproducing color into print ... but it will all change.
Simon's second marriage for the first couple of years was a long 'honeymoon' until their first son was born and then Simon was delegated to second place. Three more sons arrived and Simon was 'demoted' to the bottom in all things. Maybe a good mother but a bad wife, their was no balance and she forgot who was bringing in the money ... but for the sake of his sons Simon kept it all together, until .....
Simon, like his father before him worked hard and tried to be fair in giving each of his four sons equal time as a father and son relationship. Trying to keep the business running and a 'trying relationship' between his wife who now had other interests in 'new-age things and beliefs'  was starting to show all the signs on the road to another failed marriage. In all of this time Simon's mother was still alive but his father died in his early sixties, to early for him to go, but the mother will live on for another twenty four years without the man she kept reminding people that she could not live without. Over time it all became to much for Simon to bear that he signed everything over to his now ex-wife and left enough for his sons future education that even his solicitor said he was being to generous. Simon wanted no more guilt to bear in his life, he already had more than enough indoctrinated into him throughout his life that left it's 'mark' on him from his mother. It was going to be hard for him to 'forgive'.... and he may never be able to totally free himself ... for the mind has it's own way of reenacting the memories. 

  The Final Rejection

Simon moved on and lost contact to his own sons not due to him not trying to keep in contact  but them being brain-washed by others and by their own mother ... the vicious circle continued. It was not planed by human intention but planed by destiny's 'grand-plan' in all things.  The years passed by and Simon was back on his 'feet' and standing proud in his own achievements ... and then the news came. ''Your mother has died''.  It came by text and sent by a friend who kept in touch with Simon. His 'flesh and blood' family made no contact to inform him of their mother's death, but when it did come to him it came by text by his ex-wife with exactly the same words, ''Your mother has died'' ... nothing more. Not a word on how or anything else related to her death or when the funeral will be taking place. Simon did not return for the funeral, he already predicted many years back that when that day comes around no matter where he was he will not be there ... the past hurt was too deep, even to stand at her grave-side.
Some weeks passed and Simon sent off an e-mail to his father's solicitor in knowing that his deceased mother would not change solicitor, he was a family 'friend' and besides she had no reason to be changing solicitor and starting all over again on old ground.
Simon was curious as to how his deceased mother divided up the 'cherry cake'  though he had his own 'feelings' on it he still had the right to know ... being 'flesh and blood'.  His first e-mail was not answered and two weeks passed and still no answer. He started sending e-mails until he received an answer ... and it finally came, like this .....                           

Thank you for your email. This is the first one I have received. I received it yesterday and am now catching up on my emails. My father has retired from the practice and your email to him will not have been read.
I am acting in the administration of your mother’s estate. Ann is the Executor. At this stage, only she can direct whether the contents of the will should be revealed to anyone or whether someone should be provided with a copy. She has asked me to confirm to you that while your children are mentioned in the will, you are not. She is not prepared to furnish a copy of the will to you. Ultimately, when a Grant of Probate is extracted, it will become a document of public record and you can get it from the Probate Office.
I hope this answers your queries.

Norman Friel
Managing Partner
Peter J. Freil and Company

It was the final rejection, the final cut and the deepest for Simon. A 'premeditated message' sent from her grave. She wanted to have the 'last word' and  she got it, but maybe not, for time will tell.  Simon was born into this world knowing he was not loved and he will leave this world never knowing his mother except for the hurt she passed onto him but from Simon's experience of such negative feelings he is conscious of  it's vicious cycle and will not live by example.

''Count your blessings and not another's
 for there will be times when you may think
 you can't have your cake and eat it ...
but sometimes you can ...  
for salvation comes from within.''
daf Registered & Protected

Monday, June 14, 2010


                                                          A Monument To All Horses


Irish Limestone
{ One Block }                 

9 feet  Long  [ 2.74m ]
2 feet 9 inches Wide
[ 0.84m ]
6 feet  High  [ 1.83m ]

1993 - 1996

Private Collection 
Newbridge Silverware

The Female Side

The Story

'A MONUMENT TO ALL HORSES' was a commission to myself with a time frame of two years to carve 'The Horse' from one block of  limestone. My choice of stone, blue limestone, was for the different finishes I could achieve with the stone and for the quality of limestone in Ireland which is quite good for carving, it's out-door durability and also for the effect it has when the stone becomes wet with rain, it dries out in different stages through out the block giving another appearance to the stone in that it's never the same at any one time in  daylight.  The block was quarried in the midlands of Ireland where the best limestone quarries are and transported by truck used for moving heavy earth moving machinery. On seeing the block while being transported to my yard it was quite a site moving it by truck on the road that it only added to my excitement in the carving of the stone. It took the full day, about twelve hours, to load the block in the quarry onto the back of the truck, slow drive and unload it into working position in my yard.

The limestone block was one 'full block'... that is, drilled from the quarry bed with no other stone removed from the block and it was now standing in my yard waiting for the 'first cut'. It took time on my part in choosing the right block for 'The Horse'. I would make my choice on choosing a block for The Horse' by my 'instinct', my feelings for the stone ... it's nearly like meeting someone for the first time, you like them or you stand back ... and the quarry owner would look over the block after me making my 'mark' on a block that I felt I could work would tell me 'good stone' or 'not good' on his expertise of knowing the stone and knowing his quarry. There is no such thing as a 'bad stone' just a bad choice.

The block was now in my yard after months of planning and looking for the right stone to carve for my 'Horse' that it took me a couple of weeks before I made the first 'cut' into the stone and before that happened the time was spent in me being with the stone, just looking at it and walking around and on top of the block,  It was like being with some wild animal waiting for it to get use to your presence and for both of us to 'calm down' ... in other words, in acceptance of having to work together and for the next two years or so. This was a block of stone formed millions of years before it was taken out of the ground that it already had a 'life' before I came along to give it another 'life' in the form of  'The Horse'. As for me this is my way of respecting the stone and getting familiar to it's size and presence before I begin to work. While working a stone this size you only see what's in front of your nose, to 'see' it all while working you have to stop work walk back from the stone and then look. The stone 'can make or brake you'.

The block was carved in it's finished position as it would be seen, that is,  four to five feet off ground level on a plinth, so if I wanted to turn the block it was not possible for me,  for example, in removing the 'waste stone' from between the legs it was done by knelling on my knees most of the time and lying on my back working a 'nine inch' angle grinder and hammer and punch. Working like this is slow, dangerous and tiring on the arms, the last thing you want is for your arms to get tired and the angle grinder to drop. The safest way  to remove the stone is by drilling at the quarry but in order to do that you should have a working model to take your measurements from and I had no working model as I wanted to carve it 'direct', that is using my intuition for the horse and the stone combined. 

As for the appearance to have the 'Horse's' head twisting out from it's body the stone from 'the tail to the chin' was removed first before any other area was worked.  In doing this I was taking the gamble that my idea would work when 'The Horse' was finished and also putting allot of extra work on myself. I could have carved the head within the block form but for the overall appearance of the sculpture I felt I did the right thing in carving the head to look to the side ...
What is my time out of my life compared to the time the sculpture will 'live' on.

The 'Horse' has a 'Male' side and a 'Female' side. This came about, and also a good example of 'direct carving' in practice ...  in me carving the stone and finding on one complete side [ the side where the head is facing to the right in the photo } is dotted through out the stone with flint.  This material is very hard and can be harder than granite. It makes the stone very difficult to carve and also dangerous to work in that your blade in your angle grinder could jam-up, buckle, brake and fly off in different directions like flying pieces of shrapnel or the machine could stop dead or kick back and brake your arm ... well when you are aware of all of these things you gain more respect for your machine and the material you are carving and work with extreme caution. The other situation which was open to me and most other sculptors would do was to reject the stone as not safe to work, but I could not financially afford to do that and worked on.

The 'Female' side, the opposite side to the 'Male' ... the stone was 'clean' and easy to work for me that I felt nature had provide two types of stone in the one block and I used it to my advantage and for the betterment of the sculpture. When you walk around the sculpture you can see the difference in both sides, both in colour and line. When you work with 'your stone' in harmony you know how it dictates form, line and finish, it all leads to a sculpture that takes on it's own 'life' in the making and when finished.

'A MONUMENT TO ALL HORSES' was carved over a period of two years, not everyday, for there are times when you will find it's better to do more 'looking' at the stone than work.  For me in the carving of this stone I gain the 'joy of the making' and the achievement of having done it in the sense that this sculpture is a 'direct' carving, that is, using no model, just going with the 'feeling of the stone' and the flow of the line and your intuition. Having lived with the 'The Horse' after carving it for a period of ten years in my yard and seeing it everyday that if I had the block all over again to work I would not change anything in it's form and can stand by the work in that I gave it my best.  

Every sculpture has it's buyer and my buyer came into my yard exactly ten years after the carving of  'The Horse',  and as for 'The Horse',  it was looking so well that you would think that I had finished it the day before. When a work is meant to see the 'light of day' it will take on a life of it's own, first in your mind and then in form that it will become part of everything else and when a sculpture is placed in public it becomes part of all who see it and it's surroundings.

The Male Side

'A MONUMENT TO ALL HORSES' is the sculpture I made reference too in my story 'LIFE MAKES THE ARTIST' and the 6m high polished black granite sculpture in the background of the above photograph is also my work, titled; 
commissioned by Mr.William Doyle of Newbridge Silverware in honour of his parents contribution to 'life' and the town of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland.

My heart-felt thanks goes to Mr.William Doyle for his support and confidence in me and my work through out my years as an Artist.

I am very grateful to my good friend David Brophy for taking the photographs of  'The Horse'.
Thank You David. Registered & Protected

Thursday, June 03, 2010


                     Lying on his back and looking up at the ceiling, he was frightened. Frightened of where he was. Frightened for the future and what it held out for him.
     ''Now was a good time to die,'' 
he thought.

                                   He had just turned twenty one a couple of months back. The 'dying thought' was not new to him. It was all that was in his fragile mind, for the most of his young life. He really wanted to die.
      ''It cannot be any worse than this,'' 
the voice in the head was saying, and then he heard another voice.
     ''You won't get out of here son, you are in now and they will keep you in, it will be a bloody miracle if you do get out, nobody leaves.''
Eric turned his head to his right to where the voice was coming from. 
     ''You will die in here and you will be forgotten, that's what happened to me, they put me in and forgot me. My brother wanted the farm and had me signed in to get me out of the way and mother didn't stop him, that was twenty years ago, I think ... no it was more, what year is this now son? ... never mind I don't want to know, it will only hurt.  Your only hope is to pray to God in all His glory. He knows you are here ... pray to God and all the saints, the saints can help you they are here with us now, don't you hear them calling? Tell you a secret son, I not only hear the saints but I see them too, they are very busy-busy in here ... look .. there ... no, over there, there is a new saint, never saw him before, any-ways, better to see the 'saints' than the bloody doctors and their tablets, their sweet tasting syrup, keep that to yourself mind you .. tell nobody,'' 
said the old man, pleased he had someone new to talk to. When you are twenty one this man in the next bed is old and the 'Grim  Reaper' himself is alive and kicking in flesh and blood, in the next bed to you.

                           Eric was more frightened now. The old man made things worse for Eric's fragile mind and the tears started to come on 'free-tap-flow'. 
     ''That will do you no good here, the 'white coats' are used to seeing that and a lot more worse, keep it up and they will give you the syrup, unless you want the syrup, do you want the syrup?''
The old man was now grinning at Eric as he reached for his prayer beads and started to pray out loud, in some form of mantra chant and mumbo-jumbo to Eric. Eric turned on to his left side and faced the grayish green wall, lonely, hurt and rejected and started to cry louder than the chant from the next bed. He was going down and down fast in his mind. Two male nurses came over to Eric, one held him down with force and the other gave him a jab into his butt. His mind slipped far out of reach, too far out even for Eric to catch up with it and was now drifting in and out of his mind ... bad memories coming up. The past events and a nervous breakdown was what had him here. It was all too much for him, but he tried his best. The job pressure, the marriage, and now, the wife that was beginning to act like the mother he was running from, and the father-in-law who was a 'fat-bully-boy' also saying he was not good enough for his 'little princess'  and never will be. It was coming in on all sides on Eric, it was too much to take. He had no where to run but into the 'loony bin', he had to go in or he was going to do harm to himself or somebody else, maybe the the father-in-law would push him too far some day and then it would be too late. They won't come in here to get at him and taunt him he was very certain of that .... 
The ungrateful bastards.

                           He signed himself into the hospital. He knew he needed help and time out, maybe he could get it here, it was worth the try, but to end up in a 'lunatic bin' was the bottom of the barrel for Eric. He was giving up on life. He was giving up on himself. No hope and no future. He was very frightened. When he signed the admission papers he was given the 'grand tour', for those who sign themselves in,  by a friendly male nurse by the name of Mick. Mick was in his fifties and was quite fit looking for his age, a nice smile which seemed to never leave his roundish face, or at least that's what Eric thought and would come to rely on Mick just to be there and for that smile, but Mick was institutionalized to the place and took things as they were, it was more than a job, it was a way of life for Mick .. it was his life too.   

                           After the 'grand tour' a female nurse took Eric to the ward, helped him to undress and gave him a jab in his thigh and not too friendly about it either, and told him it would help him to relax. What she didn't tell him was ... it would knock him out for three days, he will wake, get sick and fall back to sleep and wake up and get sick and fall back to sleep again. Sleep without dreams. Sleep that did not know night from day. Sleep that gave the body time and the mind to connect to the body, it was said and  hoped by those in the know ... bullshit. It was on the third day that Eric woke up to hear the old man's gibberish words that would send Eric back into the 'death-sleep'. There is no telling this time how long Eric would be out. Time and place now was not important to Eric. He did not care anymore. He wanted to block it all out .. the past forty eight hours, better still, the past twenty one years would do very nicely ... thank you very much.

                           It might have been two days later or the next day when he was woken by Mick, hand gently on his shoulder and smiling down at him.
     ''You have enough sleep for now, you shower and try to eat, I will be here,'' 
pointing at the table.  Eric was still quite dazed from the jabs and walked to the bathroom as if he was drunk but Mick held him by the arm, talking, just talking, but Eric was not really hearing him. After shower Eric came back to the ward and for the first time took note of his surroundings. There were about twenty beds all occupied by men of all ages and states of mind and all speaking 'gibberish' talk with blank but lonely expressions across their faces,  like a P.A. system a announcing more 'gibberish' news ... that had no off button.  Three bay windows at the end of the ward let in the only natural light. He could see sheep in the distance, he will always remember the sheep, like cotton balls pasted onto green paper. Off the ward was the bathroom  where Eric had just been. It had two free standing baths in the centre of the floor a couple of shower heads and about four toilets with no doors, just partitions. Wall and floor all tiled in white with three small windows near to the ceiling more then likely screwed down. He will come later in life to hate the sight of baths of any description and would only take showers. It would always come back to him the hot and cold baths they gave him, two male nurses lifting him in and out as if they were washing cloths, and the smell of honeysuckle soap, that smell would bring it all back to him like a rush to the brain .. like a drug with very disturbing side effects ... Eric was 'slipping' into the dark bottom-less hole of his mind.  
''But I cannot cope ..
 Bittersweet soap,
 For I need hope ..
 And not the rope ..
 On this slippy slope,
 O' bittersweet dope .. 
 My Honeysuckle soap''.
                  Eric sat down at the table where Mick was now sitting and indicated to eat. There was a dirty-blue colored plastic cup and plate on the table. Mick sat beside Eric all the time and talked in a gentle voice trying to console him but Eric sat looking at Mick and the tears started to come again. He had no control over the tears.  All things happened now without notice to his very fragile mind. He was confused. His mind was confused. He did not know what was real to him anymore. He was a very frightened twenty one year old. His sense of smell was heightened but his mind was in delayed reaction. He wanted it all to go away ... no .... he wanted to go away.. away from here ... away from this life. He wanted to sleep and not wake up. He did not deserve this ... this madness, and the thought of if he  did  the right thing in signing himself into this madness. It was 'kicking-his-head-in'.

                            Eric was given a couple of blue color tablets, these were a nice sky blue color and Eric smiled at them as if they were the one's that were going to put all things right.  He went back to his bed only to be confronted by the old man insisting on telling him about his day at the 'D' wedding.
     ''What wedding,''
asking Eric just to please the old man in the hope he will forget to answer.
     ''D-Wedding .. the wedding of all weddings. I was the best man, I was there, sitting at the table with 'them', but it sure was a hot day and the wine was running out very fast, I should know because I was there''.
The old man was now sitting upright  in his bed with his prayer beads held up high as if he was trying to give them to someone or something that only he saw. You could see he was happy .. smiling away at some invisible image that only he himself was 'seeing'. The old man, sitting up-right in his bed, not like the other times before when you thought he would slide under the bed sheets and vanish into thin air, no, he was now grining hard. He had someone to tell his story too.
Eric tried his best to look interested and focus on what he was saying. The old man was now fully alert as if he was back there ... back there, sitting at the wedding table and giving a running commentary on who's who and who's talking about who and how everybody is so happy for the newly weds, never expecting this wedding to take place on account of who He is .. or claims to be but mind you so far the claims look justifiable ... and her past, well talk about devils, and devils of all kinds and not to savoury mind you, but not to worry ... the couple look very happy indeed ... indeed they do ... very happy
     ''There they go again, pulling at imaginary ropes to sound the bells in the heavens''.......
     ''Who go again, what bells,''
asks Eric.
The old man was starting to get angry and waving his hands telling them to go away,
     ''Leave the ropes alone, you bastards''. 
This wedding was to be kept quiet. There will be some explaining to do later ... some people will not be happy about all of this. This will upset a lot of things later in the future .. for you know who, you know who I mean. 
     ''No, I don't know who.''
     ''Yes you do ... the church and all it's blessed saints ... that's who.''
     ''Jesus Christ'' .... 
what's this fool talking about, asked Eric .. rubbing his hands together, more  to stop them  from  strangling the old man to death. 
     ''You were there then, do you remember the smell of Honeysuckle in air .. so strong it was,'' 
said the old man ... 
     ''But I don't remember you and I remember all the faces that were there but I don't remember you, where were you sitting ?'' 
asking the old man and looking quite worried, because he remembers all the faces .. he spent a lifetime remembering all the faces and besides he was there. He was the 'best-man'. 
     ''Look old man .. the only wedding I was at was my own and that was a disaster, even my mother started to accuse my wife of eight hours as not being good enough for 'her son' and now that looks to be all finished, for better or for worse, and that bastard of a father-in-law, when I think about it cornering me in the hotel toilets looking for money, what a true-wake-up call for me as to what I was marrying myself into. He was a real bastard an ex-army cook, physically lazy and an over active non-stop scheming mind with that 'grin' on his face. Liked to be seen at the race course with that side-kick of his ..who would run here and there and do the betting for him. They were like the sadistic Laural and Hardy team ....... so I was not at this wedding you keep blabbering on about.'' 

                           Eric was on the road of no return.
     ''Well-well .. that's a load off your chest boy, tell me, what's your name again .. doesn't matter. Is the happy memories of 'D' day coming back now ?'' 
the old man asked, screwing his head around like it could do a 360 degree turn on his small shoulders and now looking hard at and searching Eric's face and his own mind to see if he could remember Eric at 'D-Wedding'. He finally gave up the search around his mind and said, ...
     ''No ... no I don't seem to remember you being there and I should know, I was there and I was the best man at 'D-Wedding'.. I mean, 'D'-best-man ....... sitting there ... with 'them' ... what a beautiful day for me, a day to remember''. 
     ''Old man ... stop this bullshit talk and tell me out straight ...  look at me .. what wedding are you talking about ?''  
asking Eric frustrated and trying very hard to keep awake and focused on the old man.
     ''Are you certain you were not there. It was ... if not .... 'D' celebrity wedding of the year, but maybe you have forgotten ..... it was the wedding of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Not that it was signed with legal papers understand, but sealed with the heavens and angles and mankind ... but a marriage all the same, witnessed by God Almighty himself no doubt ... what a day''
    ''Did I tell you the story about Jesus and the trick he did with the wine on that glorious day ... you will like this you will ... you see the waiter came and told Jesus the wine was finished, it's always the guy that's getting married that handles these matters that's how people in the future will know that it was Jesus getting married and not him attending someones wedding and ..... but maybe you remember the story .. yes you do, I can see it in your face and I remember that face now, but you look very pale ... you need sun, son ... try to get sun, son .. but they won't let you out of here ... son.'' 

                           Eric looked at the old man, stunned, stunnedstunned .. and looked around the ward hearing, and no Mick to be seen, the hum of 'gibberish' like a machine ticking over waiting to be spurred into action. Eric cried, a cry so deep and of no hope ... because nobody can help him now, he  was on the road of no return that goes deeper and deeper into the mind .. lost in himself, forever lost,  lost forever. 
     ''Bye-bye Eric bye-bye'' ..
he could hear it, but from where.     
     ''Yes ... yes, you do remember ... good, now you do remember ... you were there ... I knew it, but you had me fooled there for awhile ... you do remember that day, I thought I was going mad there for awhile. Let's give thanks to the Lord above .... and look son ... look at all the saints ... or maybe they are waiting-souls standing around your bed .... I find it hard to tell the difference sometimes,  between who is who ... anyway they are all the bloody same but they know you were there .. you can't fool them like the way you tried it on old me there .. you were testing my memory you were .. tell me .. you were testing my memory .. no matter, but I remembered your face now ... what's your name again son .. hey, son don't fall a sleep now .. we can talk some more about that wonderful day. You have to remind me your name again son, don't go to sleep .. O.K. have it your way, but I will be here when you wake up, we can talk then, all day, and don't mind these other ungreateful bastards, they are not like you and me.''   
                           The 'Grim Reaper' was quite pleased with himself .. more than pleased, that somebody else remembers that day of  'D' Wedding. The smell of Honeysuckle was drifting in the air across the ward.
Eric's fate was sealed .. Sealed And Delivered ..
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