Dreams Love Fucking Life Near Death and Some Other Shit (Part Two)

Dreams Love Fucking Life Near Death and Some Other Shit (Part One)

A true story by D.A.Steel.

A Pipe Dream Sparks? Continued…

(An Introduction)

Mark was leaving. I was bummed.

His course was finishing in a few weeks. He had some work lined up starting later in spring, abseiling or something. Before that he was hitting the road in the Bluebird and was going to do some hardcore backcountry sessions.

So I was going to be on my own again, with no crew, trying to adjust to a ‘normal’ life. I knew other people in Nelson, but there wasn’t anyone I could really hang with.

I saw my old mate Martin’s brother on the street one day. I’d only met him a few times. He was easy to spot with waist length dreads that tied up into an impressive sized tea cosy. He’d joined Martin and I on a hike, finishing on the Christmas Eve before we went down to Aspiring. And then there was the funeral of course. He’d just got back from India where he was studying ashtanga yoga and came to Nelson to live and start instructing. He gave Yaz and I lessons, for practice, not long before she left. We did a couple of mountain bike rides. He flatted with a bunch of alternative lifestylers and that wasn’t my scene. He was good company, but we were a bit different.

Yasmine’s sister Mariam had also moved to Nelson from Wellington not long after us with her partner Andrew, after he scored some kind of communications and media job with the Department of Conservation. Mariam had just completed a journalism diploma. We were all good friends. They’d both worked as bike couriers in Welly too. But they were settling into domestic bliss and we weren’t a crew.

My uncle and aunt had moved to Nelson the year before. We were friends, but they were the same age as my olds. And then there were my olds. Mum and Dad had joined us to live in Nelson earlier that year too, and that was something that had been a bit of a sore point for me.

My mum and dad were simple, honest, hardworking, working class people who were liberal at heart. The previous year they’d decided to try doing something different with their lives and had sold the family home to go partners with a couple of friends on a lease of a motel in Napier, Hawke’s Bay.

In hindsight it was a pretty dumb idea. They asked if I was okay about them selling the house. I was happy for them that they were having a go at something, and I was busy and didn’t get involved. They’d never worked in that industry before, and they shared the manager’s residence with their friends. My mum got married when she was 19. She was some kind of victim of the feminine mystique and was almost OCD when it came to doing housework. The motel was too big and nowhere near the main strip. The broker probably saw them coming from a mile away. It was a recipe for disaster and the partnership with their friends ended in tears and animosity.

They only told me about the problems after things had come to a head, and said they were thinking of moving to Nelson. Dad was a driving instructor. When I started the carpentry course I noticed that the first aid tutor was also a driving instructor. So I asked him about opportunities in Nelson and he told me about someone who was selling his business. A business like that is basically just goodwill, but in a small city like Nelson, which had a fierce reputation for being difficult to get in with the locals, that was gold. So Dad bought it and they moved down.

Unfortunately my parents lost a lot of money, and they didn’t have that much beforehand. The housing market was down in Wellington when they sold, and they struggled to get a buyer and only got about 170k. Less than two years later friends of Yasmine and I bought a place around the corner, not too dissimilar, and paid 280k. Regardless, my folks were never going to be able to afford a place of their own again.

It was a bit depressing, but we all did our best to remain positive. The first night they got to Nelson we all went for dinner at my aunt and uncle’s. The old boy wasn’t in a very good mood. He should have been eating humble pie with his head well pulled in. Something on the TV news pissed him off, I don’t even know why it was on, and he went off on some angry rant. I tried to talk some sense to him, but he got horribly surly. I wasn’t having it and stormed off to the car and left, leaving poor Yaz there.

My Dad, John, had a bad temper. When he was a kid, living in Three Kings, Auckland, his old man was a drunk who used to abuse his mum. Then his dad walked out and never had anything to do with the family ever again, before dying of liver disease sometime. Dad joined the air force as soon as he was old enough to get away and became a driver. That’s how he met my mum, Jenny Smith, in Wellington. He was stationed at the air force base in Shelly Bay, on the harbour. The RNZAF used it for their Sunderland flying boats. His mum ended up back in Auckland and we only ever saw her a handful of times.

Dad wasn’t a regular drinker, only on special occasions, and he wasn’t abusive. I copped a few hidings, but nothing more than plenty of other kids back then. But he did go off, when sober, like a bloody nutter from time to time.

This time there was no excuse for his behaviour. Not after I’d scored him a start in Nelson and he was coming down into my territory. I decided he deserved a good tuning, so I completely avoided my parents. I eventually started talking to Mum a bit on the phone after some weeks had passed. I didn’t want her to feel like I was punishing them for what was a shockingly stupid venture that had lost us all a family home in the capital for nothing. I knew they must already be feeling pretty bad about it.

I was the fourth generation to live in that house. My parents bought it off my grandparents and moved there when I was just a few months old. My mum, and my uncle in Nelson, had also grown up there. It wasn’t a great house by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an okay property, with plenty of potential. It was a bit close to the airport, but the noise wasn’t too bad, and I thought it was a pretty cool part of Wellington to live. The real tragedy was not so much losing that house, as it was losing their capital investment.

It was the land beneath the house, to which I felt a connection. It was culturally significant to me for both my personal and family history and also for some special stories that existed long before my people arrived.

The suburb was called Rongotai, which means the sound of the ocean or something. The land was a narrow isthmus that joined the Miramar peninsula, and we were in the middle of it. When Europeans first settled in Wellington it was a shallow channel passable only at low tide. A large earthquake in 1855 caused major uplift in the region and Rongotai rose clear above the ocean.

I always imagined the Rongotai isthmus as being the part of the jaw below the tooth of Te Ika-a-Maui (The Fish of Maui), where his hook would have pierced. I never heard that interpretation before, but it always looked kind of obvious to me in the way Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington harbour), when viewed on a map, looks like a good fit for a hei matau (a stylised carved fish hook.)

Maui was the legendary Maori demi-god. He was the youngest of five brothers. He was born prematurely and his mother thought he was too weak to survive and she threw him into the ocean, wrapped in a knot of her hair. The gods took pity on him and the Sky Father, Rangi, nurtured him to adolescence until he was able to return to his mother.

Maui had special powers, like shapeshifting into birds, and his brothers were a bit jealous. He was smaller and often wanted to prove himself. Once, he got them to help him catch the sun, Tama-nui-te-ra (Great Son of the Sun), so he could give him the bash until he agreed to slow down so everybody had more time to get things done.

His brothers never wanted to take him fishing, but Maui was determined to catch the biggest fish ever. He had a magic jawbone that had come from his grandmother, he’d used it to bash the sun, and he chipped a piece off it and carved it into a hook and then made his own extra strong line. He hid in his brothers’ canoe and surprised them, once they were out at sea and had dropped anchor.

Maui didn’t take any bait and his brothers wouldn’t give him any, so he bashed himself on the nose and bled all over his magic hook and cast it deep into the ocean. Maui chanted a spell and something immediately hit his line. When he started pulling it in it was obviously huge. Because the canoe was anchored they were nearly sunk. The brothers were terrified, but Maui eventually tired the fish out and pulled it to the surface, where it had to be left tied to the canoe.

Maui dived deep into the ocean to say thanks to his old mate Tangaroa, the god of the sea. While he was gone his jealous brothers jumped onto his fish and greedily hacked it to bits trying to get as much for themselves as they could. That’s the North Island. The South is obviously the canoe with its anchor stone below.

The Hawke’s Bay region lays claim for Cape Kidnappers as Maui’s hook. How his hook came to be stuck just in front of what looks like Te Ika’s dorsal fin is a story I haven’t heard. Perhaps one of the brothers pulled it out and tried to throw it away? That sounds like a fair twist to the tale. I like to think that the fish’s mouth was left closed, and perhaps that was the reason why. I like that idea because it fits beautifully with another mythological story concerning Rongotai.

When I was at primary school we learnt a story and a song about two taniwha who were trapped in Te Whanganui-a-Tara when it was closed off from the open sea. I can’t remember the song, but the story is easy to recall.

The two taniwha, mythical aquatic beasts, were somehow forced to share this closed body of water in the head of Te Ika-a-Maui. Their names were Ngake and Whataitai. Ngake was bigger and aggressive and would thrash and swim around in circles dominating the space, while Whataitai spent most of his time just keeping out of Ngake’s way. There were plenty of eels and fish for them to eat and over time they grew big and their home started to feel cramped.

They could hear the great ocean crashing against the south coast and they both wondered what it would be like to be free to swim and explore the world beyond. Eventually it was the bold and strong Ngake who decided he’d try and break out.

He coiled his tail like a spring and released it with as much force as he could, propelling himself around the big pond to gain speed before smashing against the barrier of the land. He carved through it, into the open ocean and was gone, leaving Whataiatai alone, with the newly formed harbour to himself.

Whataitai also longed to explore the great beyond. He could easily have swum out Ngake’s channel. But he had forever been living in Ngake’s wake and if he just followed him, then that was all he would ever be, a follower, someone who couldn’t forge his own path to freedom. So he decided he would smash his own way to the other side.

He coiled his tail and released, swimming as fast as he could, but his line wasn’t as long and wide as Ngake’s, and he wasn’t as big and fast him either. He smashed into the land and carved towards the sea. He could see the open ocean and he thought he’d done it, he was nearly there. But he didn’t make it. He had run firmly aground, beached as.

The tide could now reach him, but no matter how hard he writhed and wriggled he couldn’t free himself. He stayed trapped there for many seasons with the tide keeping him moist and bringing fish for him to eat. If he didn’t eat then he didn’t have the strength to try and free himself. Ngake never returned and there was no one to help pull him free.

Then one day there was a massive earthquake. The ground under Whataitai’s head rose up, lifting his mouth above the tide. No longer was he able to eat and slowly he starved to death. His spirit took the form of a bird and flew to a nearby mountain to make its farewell cry before passing to the other side.

The Rongotai isthmus was sometimes known as the head of Whataitai. I had two great grandfathers from the Smith side of my family who had bought a piece of it. One was Danish. He’d emigrated to New Zealand when he was seven and was the one who bought the house I grew up in. I’d often ride my bike from that house to the top of Matairangi (Mt Victoria), where Whataitai’s spirit had flown.

My other great grandfather, Mr Smith, was a second generation New Zealander. His Grandfather Smith had emigrated from England in 1850 with a huge family of 12 children, and died from dysentery in a wharf shed in Nelson six days after their arrival. The family settled in Kaikoura, which was a place where Maui’s foot had blown out the side of the canoe when he was hauling in his catch. Great Grandfather Smith bought a house on the edge of the Rongotai isthmus when he moved to Welly from the farm, to get treatment for piles. I guess they were quite bad, but things worked out well when he married his nurse. My grandfather and some siblings were born there before they moved back to Kaikoura. The farm went broke in the thirties. My grandfather settled in Wellington after going to war for four years and didn’t waste any time finding a wife and making kids, my mum was born early ’46, and they moved into the Rongotai house with my other great grandfather.

It was nice to have some family history passed down from the Smiths, given that there wasn’t really anything to be said for the unfortunate Steel side of the family. Dad’s mum was Jewish and emigrated when she was a kid and his dad was born in Rotorua. Dad was born early ’41, so I guess he was conceived before his father went to war.

I got all the Smith family history from my uncle Allan who was born a couple of years after my mum. We never lived in Wellington at the same time and didn’t become friends until he came to visit for summer holidays, a year or two after I finished school. We went to the same schools. Our high school, the state school in the area for boys, was literally over the back fence and he even remembered old Mr Cockburn from his last year.

Allan had played the trumpet in the Salvation Army band where I went to Sunday School for a short while when I was a little kid. My folks weren’t really Christians, they were just doing what they thought they were supposed to do back in those days. Sunday School was effective. My sister and I quickly became suspicious about the attempts to get us to believe stuff using ancient stories about people of another race, place and culture, followed by dodgy answers to our questions (so what about the dinosaurs?) and all the other kids seemed like they were dumb. It only took a short time for us to decide we were atheists, before we even knew the word for it, and we told Mum and Dad that we didn’t want to go anymore and they were cool with that.

My uncle stayed a church man until he had an epic mid-life crisis and needed to completely reinvent himself, which was why he came to stay with us. He separated from his wife, which upset his three kids who were around my age, and it was a very hard thing for him to do. Our household was a relaxed happy place to be, so it was good for him. I knew him, from the few holidays we’d spent together when I was younger, to be a strict conservative control freak, but he certainly had changed. It was enjoyable seeing him freshly liberated spiritually as a born-again non-Christian. He came to the beach a few times with me and my friends, which was good therapy.

At that time I was hanging out with a mate from school who I’d become close friends with after the deaths of Martin and Connan. His name was also Alan and he lived just a few hundred metres down the road. He was a practising Christian, but totally progressive in every way. We’d talk deep and it awakened my self-awareness in powerful ways. Alan’s brother Ken, who was a couple of years older, was similar and we became good friends too. I’d hang out with them and a few of their other Christian friends. They were all cool, certainly not happy-clappy types. We’d play charades and word games and have dinners and watch all kinds of movies. They were mostly all students.

Alan had been an accomplished athlete, but had a bad back from a rugby injury. When it wasn’t too bad we started running together, which got me hooked for life. He also liked ocean swimming. During the summer months he’d often go to a nearby beach on the south coast, Princess Bay, that was fairly sheltered from the prevailing northerly winds, and meet family or friends and we’d go together as often as we could.

I’d race Alan, who had a 50cc scooter, on my trusty cheap 12 speed bicycle. We’d lie in the hot sand playing ‘Who am I?’ or ’20 questions’ before swimming laps in the bay. The water of the Cook Strait was always bracingly cold and we’d get out dizzy and fall into the hot sand.

“Alright, I got one.” I said one day as we lay down after a swim “Who am I?”

I was lying still, looking straight ahead. Alan glanced to our side.

“Th-th-that s-s-seagull” he said shivering.

“Damn! Too obvious? I hate that.”

We giggled. Alan’s big sister was like “What?! How did…? You guys!”

Happy days. It was nice when my uncle could join us on those Christmas holidays when we had a good crew of friends and family at the beach. With his addition we had a good little collection of Rongotai College old boys. He could talk openly about what he was experiencing and discuss it with us. We all admired him for the brave move he had made. We discussed ideas about how his generation was partly defined by divorce, as was consequently ours. It sometimes seemed like if your parents were still together, then that was unusual.

I started going out with Erica, so she got to hang out with us as well. Her spiritual ideas were stimulating input into our open forum. It wasn’t long before my friends moved on from Christianity. I suppose they’d seen how one could be spiritually aware, and seek a higher path in life, without the overbearance of Christianity’s prescribed reality.

That was spring/summer of 93. I’d got back into Welly, on the dole and needing a job, after spending the winter bumming a ski season on my own. I had gone south to learn how to ski, as quickly and affordably as possible. I wanted to get some hospitality work to pay my way down there. I had no experience and, despite going to every place in town, had no luck. Earlier in the autumn I’d hitchhiked up to Ruapehu and had gone to various places around the mountain trying to prearrange a job with the same result. Beforehand I’d even spent a few hundred dollars doing some lame one week bar course. The job market was such, that even in the city, competition for minimum wage and entry level work was considerable and people were looking for anything that could give them an advantage to get a start if they didn’t know someone.

A couple of years earlier, to get a job after finishing school, to pay my way to the Indian Himalaya, I had to apply for some advertised positions for basic low level work and got a few interviews. They always said the same thing, that I’d done well to get that far because they’d been inundated with hundreds of applications. I scored a job as a clerk in a storeroom and held on to it for a couple of years. I resigned so I could travel south and attempt to more fully dedicate myself to mountain sports and adventure and see where it would lead. I was acutely aware that I didn’t want to die regretting that I hadn’t given it a good go.

I survived the winter on the dole. I hitchhiked down and got my bike and skis freighted and bought a season pass with the last of my savings. I lived in a tiny freezing unpowered caravan in a rundown old van park a few k’s out of town with a million dollar view across the lake to the ski area. When I woke in the mornings I’d press my hand against the window to melt the frost on both sides of the glass to see what the dawn was like. I’d ride my bike into town and lock it up and hitch up the mountain each day, until I made a friend at the park who I could usually get a ride with for a bit of gas money. Mostly I ate bread and potatoes, with cheap cheese and onion and occasionally I made some coleslaw to keep the scurvy at bay. I scored a couple of sweet food parcels for my 21st birthday from my mum and Erica. The latter’s accompanying letter began “Dear derail (that’s what my spell checker wants to call you.)” In the evenings I’d snuggle in my Fairydown Everest sleeping bag and using my headlamp I read books I’d borrowed from the local library, Scott’s Antarctic journal and Tom Robbins. It was a cool time.

Back up in Wellington Ken had started working as a bike courier. He graduated with a BA up at Vic Uni a couple of years earlier and had been drifting along since. He was loving it. They worked on a part-time roster and weren’t always looking for new riders, but Ken gave me an intro and I got a start and after a trial period I was on the team.

Over summer we had plenty of opportunities to get to the beach and also started swimming at different locations around the harbour. I split with Erica, and my friends weren’t practising Christians anymore, and spirituality didn’t seem to get discussed much after that. It was part of us, and now our collective musings concerned the practicalities of how we would stay soulful and attempt to lead meaningful lives as we progressed further into adulthood.

Perhaps we felt that our youth was like the summer, it would be over too soon and we had to make the most of the good days, when we had the opportunity to absorb sunshine, joy and happiness, so we could make light of any dreary days of gloom that might accompany our paying of dues in a world where rampant materialism and unmitigated self-interest, which rather than being considered wholly undesirable, were accepted as necessary forces, fit for promotion, to drive the consumerism of the market economy that now almost entirely defined our society.

Our distant wee outpost of western civilisation was completely in tow with the new world order. A Labour government had hitched us up and said “It’s alright!” as they deregulated the economy and privatised public assets before the world’s stock markets crashed and unemployment and associated social ills increased. So then the National Party got given a go and they were into it like pigs into hot slop. “It’s alright!” they said as they dealt with double digit unemployment by reducing welfare and liberalising employment laws which disempowered organised labour. And no more free tertiary education, among other things. But the economy would improve and business would be advantaged to better keep pace with the advancing world, which would provide all of us with increased opportunities for relevant active participation, and that was alright, right?

A majority of people agreed, because in the late spring of 1993 the National government got re-elected for another term, but only just. Down at the beach, our creative group of Bachelor of Arts students, graduates, and others, all from predominantly working class backgrounds, not surprisingly, voted for the left, except for myself and one other who abstained due to indecision about a lot of issues, including whether the opposition parties were offering a better functioning alternative.

Living, and going to state schools like Rongotai College, in an area that included low socioeconomic communities, gave us an appreciation for the egalitarian political objectives of social democracy. Being healthy intelligent people with stable home lives enabled us to have the potential to succeed and to enjoy a freedom of choice with opportunities in a market economy. We didn’t have to look too far to see that many people didn’t have the prerequisites for attaining that freedom. It was apparent how a rightwing agenda of prioritising the needs of those already capable and motivated to pursue the accumulation of wealth, as a means to also provide a fat carrot and a long stick to deal with those who weren’t, would lead to the marginalisation of whole communities for whom an incentive was worthless without the ability, resources or belief required to follow it. The consequences of living in a society that wasn’t adequately structured towards inclusiveness were difficult for us to ignore.

During our last year of high school Alan and I had been at a party in a nearby suburb. I was walking home with another mate, also a beach buddy, and we got jumped by a gang of Polynesian kids and got the bash. I got king-hit and was a bloody mess, ending up with one hell of a black eye. At school the next week there was a lot of concern and disappointment among all our mates about it, and to everyone’s credit, only a bit of anger. It wasn’t the kind of thing we expected nor wanted in our part of the world. We all called everyone bro, and the spirit behind that was real. From the back of the school hall during assembly we could see, and smell, how the demographic for the area was becoming poorer. It was obvious that many of these kids weren’t going to get socialized in a wider community and they weren’t going to see how or why they could, should or would become a part of it. Rugby could only do so much. The school haka in that assembly hall was terrific, and somewhat disturbing. There were increased incidents of violence in interschool skirmishes and in school corridors.

There were already suburbs in the Wellington area, and in other NZ cities, that were purported to be dangerously dodgy places to visit. We didn’t want to live in a country like that, who did? I don’t think anyone was naive enough to not know that such places would always exist in large populations. There would always be dysfunctional people who would end up stuck in the same shithole. But ghetto communities in New Zealand? Get real, no way!? Indeed it was disheartening to see kids in NZ identifying with African-American gang culture.

In that last year at Rongotai we all had upwardly mobile capabilities and it was pretty obvious that there were loads of kids below us who weren’t going to be able to achieve that for themselves. I think most of my fellow students, or at least those from my English class, would have known what I meant if I had said that we understood the need for effective social policy, and our responsibility to support it, better than those of the whited sepulchres up in Kelburn, Karori or Khandallah. But I didn’t say that. It was 1990, also an election year and, although I had some degree of political orientation, I was not prepared to step into the arena of partisan politics. I knew, everyone knew, that I had the potential to be a prized gun if I were to enter politics, eh fellas? How was that debate up at Marsden?

That year we scored a match against the private school girls of Samuel Marsden Collegiate up in Karori. The motion was “That the police should carry guns.” Visitors were negating. It was a perfect set-up and we weren’t going to disappoint. We had an enthusiastic crew of supporters who were keen to skip class to come and represent, from the eastern suburbs, up in the lofty heights of the west. The boys took front row seats.

The lead girl, in a brave move, broke with convention to begin by defining the reality of what the debate was about by describing in graphic detail the type of violent deadly risks and tragic consequences that the police faced. She said beforehand “If you are in any way squeamish or easily upset, you should probably leave the room now.” Mark Millard was front row centre, he was tall, he stood up, nodded and walked out of the room, deadpan as. It was a total crack up and the room erupted in laughter and the girl was well caught off guard.

Mark was a hilarious performer. In our first year at Rongotai I had directed him when he acted in a video I had scripted for English class. It was our one and only opportunity to have access to the school’s one and only video camera. The video was a short commercial for shit paper. A toilet cubicle door swings open to reveal Mark as a voiceover asks “Haven’t you always wanted to wipe your backside with the face of the President of America?…” Mark perfectly nails it, pondering for a few seconds before nodding in wonderment, “…Well, now you can! With all new Ronnie Rolls!” Cut to close-up of very funny prop. The ad finished with a shot of the toilet flushing. What? Me political? Whatever, I was only 13 or 14 and was just something of a little no nukes anarchist. I didn’t know then that our English teacher was the teachers’ union rep and that I might have been calling him shit. I guess the anarchistic ambiguity of how it cleverly portrayed the political situation was not lost on him. We got an A- for that one. I thought we got scored a bit harshly on a couple of things, yeah eh?

Four years later Mark and I were killing it again. I was doubly stoked with the lead girl’s opening because it was like it had been specifically scripted for how I was going to close my summation. During my main speech I spoke, with a seriousness that fluctuated between sincere and tongue-in-cheek, about policemen not wanting to carry guns. “I don’t know what things are like up here at Samuel Marsden Collegiate, but I imagine you don’t see the police around this lovely nice place very often. Unfortunately things are a little bit different down at Rongotai, and in fact, just the other day whilst preparing for this debate I had the opportunity to approach a couple of our most excellent boys-in-blue to ask their opinion.” I got laughs. I wound up our negation by finishing my summation with “Don’t…don’t…don’t believe the hype. The truth of our reality is that the police should not carry guns.”

We lost. We got robbed. Our coach wasn’t impressed with the adjudicator, some fancy looking Karori woman lawyer or something. But we were definitely the crowd favourite, and that was the only victory that really mattered. The girls were surprised we hadn’t won. They were particularly impressed with me. “Wow, you speak so well and don’t even use your notes, how do you do it?” I said something like “You have to spend heaps of time discussing the motion, arguing from both sides, so once you have your set of points to deliver, you understand how they complement those of your teammates and how they can negate opposing arguments. By having a solid understanding of the big picture you can see what the points of your position are really all about and it’s easier to remember how you’ve chosen to explain them.” Sometimes I even impressed myself, but dude, go easy with the geek speak eh? Still, I got a phone number, although she blew me off when I rang her a few weeks later. Her loss.

So I had some talent for persuasive public speaking, but I actually worked at it pretty hard, putting in some long hours writing and practising in the mirror. It was a string to my bow for which I had a feeling was for some future purpose. Politics was the obvious application, but I had no calling to get into that game. The country and the world were in a state of political and economic change and I wasn’t about to align myself with any of the old ideologies and systems or get roped in with any new ones. Besides, public speaking, along with my studies, were taking a back seat to the body and soul development I was attaining through mountain adventures. Then early that spring I experienced something which meant that, if beforehand my spirit hungered to stretch its wings and soar among the mountaintops, afterwards it was my heart’s only desire, and my head was oriented towards the wide open school of life.

Three years later nothing had changed all that much with the political situation and I still didn’t feel any need or desire to get involved with it. Anyway, by then I knew what I was, and while I didn’t know where it would lead me, I understood the need to remain apolitical, for the time being.

To be continued.

All the locals hide their tears of regret

Open fire ’cause I love you to death

Sky high, with a heartache of stone

You’ll never see me ’cause I’m always alone