Porcupine Tree “Time Flies”
It’s that day again, Sunday June 15th 2014, Father’s Day to be precise. The day where folk celebrate their fathers, whether living or passed, pay their respects and remember all the good times they have shared together. This year I fancied doing something a little different to commemorate. You see, I’m a scribe now; for the past year plus change I have been pouring my heart and soul into crafting something to truly make a difference to others. It didn’t start out quite that noble, I had been afflicted by stress and depression for the best part of three years leading up to my decision to write and needed to do something to solve the riddle. It gave me an out, somewhere to channel my frustration, somewhere to spread the love I hold onto and somewhere to help me realize that I do have a purpose.
That drive had long gone, when you passed I bottled much of my emotion, tucked it away in a place so secretive that I couldn’t even access it. I took on the strong male role for mum and the girls and it faded to black or at least that is what I believed. Psychological trauma has a nasty way of perpetuating itself through your consequent actions, life suddenly owes you something as it has taken away something so dear. Your own mind can become your greatest adversary and indeed it did for some time afterwards. I fought myself behind a veil so thick that I couldn’t discern it, every blow received didn’t manifest through bruising, at least not on the surface. I took every last hit with no bell to save me until the penny finally dropped.
You’ll get a kick out of this, I started writing about movies, horror films to get it on the buzzer. I think, on a subliminal level, it was to bring me closer to you once more. We watched hundreds upon hundreds, much to mum’s disdain. I recall with alarming clarity our first cinema outing together, you took me to see Jaws/Jaws 2 as a double-feature and it blew my tiny little mind. Sure, the sight of Ben Gardner’s disembodied bonce bobbing like a belligerent turd possibly wasn’t exactly medicinal, but it is a moment I cast back to regularly and always wearing the widest smile. I also remember the day you purchased our first family video player, what a gift to receive for my tenth birthday.
We had taken regular trips to the local video store and there my peepers were opened for the first time as to true visual seduction. Dozens upon dozens of gloriously macabre designs strewn right and left, tantalizing my soul and feeding my curiosity. The horror A-Z from Absurd to Zombie Holocaust, all present and correct and, considering this was before censorship was even an issue, all singing and dancing too. I think you knew from that point exactly what it was which began to percolate inside me the very first time you watched my orbs widen. The reason why you identified also may have had something to do with the fact that you loved a good horror movie yourself but you never ushered me into anything, the choice was mine to make and you acknowledged this.
This transpired around the time that you were stricken by that cuntish affliction, muscle-wasting motherfucker called Multiple Sclerosis. I won’t waste my words on it, that’s not what this communication is about. But our united love of the grotesque saw us through any turbulent times and provided me with many of my happiest memories. The moment I turned thirteen and could legally work I was given that job at the video store. Movies was its apt mantle. I was like a cokehead in a Scarface prop shop, sniffing like a Griffin. I voluntarily became our pusher that day, free rentals ahoy, I was living the dream. We shared infinite kills together; beheading, evisceration, lacerations and glorious grue unbounded. There wasn’t a tape in that store we didn’t slay side by side, but we always rewound.
I’ve been scribing for some time now and my goals have transmogrified greatly. I remember always having a vivid imagination at primary school, my stories caused concerns which led to the head teacher asking whether there were problems at home. There was no such thing, my home life was far more than contented. I just processed information slightly differently from my classmates and storytelling was in my blood, no mistake. For twenty years I conveniently forgot I had it in me but I’m okay with that now. You see, I was too wet behind the ears to achieve what it is I’m destined for. I needed to go a few rounds with life, get the shit kicked into me, waited while it gestated and strangulated me from my inside. I had to get it out of me, John Hurt can attest to the acid reflux this creates. One day I just started writing and I just haven’t stopped since.
You appreciate all of what I am explaining and I know this because you’re by my side every time I tip my quill to parchment. I couldn’t have done any of this without you being my ghost writer, perched there while I flush any bitterness out and use the essence to fashion something of beauty and warmth. We’re in it together, conjoined by souls and picking one another up when times are testing. Times have been very testing the past year, truth be told, I have faced adversity for being who I cannot change and have no wish to. My intentions have always been pure and the reason for this is that I share this pilgrimage with you and my work is my legacy to my own son.
That’s right, the only feasible way of the family name continuing and I only went and did it. I created something so beautiful, more so than any of my prose could ever hold a candle to. Jacob Nathaniel, we endowed him with strong biblical names, Jacob because of his tenacity and Nathaniel because he was quite literally a gift from God. We were informed eleven weeks through term that he had been lost and he wasn’t having any of it. He battled like a little trooper and burst onto the scene with the speed of an armor-piercing bullet. Almost slid off the gurney and the midwife practically needed her catcher’s mitt on. Why am I telling you this, you were there. Maybe not in a literal sense but definitely spiritual.
Handsome little bugger isn’t he? I can’t keep my lips off him, he is my magnum opus. I have spent today with him from beginning to close and I’m the luckiest cat through the flap let me tell you. Sometimes I get lost just looking at him, stroking his hair and sharing smiles. He loves his daddy as I do you, looks at him as a hero. I’m not in the same ballpark as you by any stretch but I do maintain your core values and our relationship is adoring and respectful. This Father’s Day has been tough, I cannot and won’t fib. But it does take the pressure off knowing that I don’t have to reach for the apex as I have scaled it already. My greatest achievement is sleeping a few feet away at this moment, grasping his Mario and Luigi plushes. I’ve played that infernal game through more times than I care to mention and the theme music haunts my nightmares every single slumber. However watching the unfettered joy it brings in his blushing baby blues makes it every bit worthwhile. Like father like son, after all.
Happy Father’s Day,
Richard Charles Stevens