Her father had said to her that he was not a man to be bound by tradition. She was ten at the time and she did not know what he truly meant. He told her he was someone few would understand, but one day she, his only daughter, would. She accepts that he leaves home for a long time to play music with his friends in front of huge audiences, but she does not know why he won’t take her. Her mother doesn’t tell her when she asks. Before each time he leaves he tells her that playing rock music motivates him to play again and again. And when his restlessness finally peters out he will come home, and back to her. He tells her that while he plays he experiences an uplifting flow of energy which sends him to realms of an emotional polyphony he can never describe with words, but he can with long lead breaks. When he talks like this she looks at him bewildered. He always sits at the end of her bed and speaks to her as though he is telling her a fairy tale. He tells her she is the only one in the family whom he can rely upon to wait for him when he goes away. Ever since, she has tried to remember his exact words, because the last time he spoke to her in this way was the last time she thought she really knew him.
Her father had also said to her that his great impulse was to be himself in those nondescript places he goes to, but that he makes sure her home is his special place. He always came back to her because he said he would, even when his absences had grown longer and longer. But each time he came back he was different, as though he knew himself less than before. He had become so different to the person she wanted him to be. He was a musician who might as well have been a returned soldier suffering from PTSD. The last time she saw him she hardly recognized him and that’s when her need for him really began.
A bright light one night had bedazzled her not long after she had turned fourteen. At first she was afraid in her bed, and then, without thinking, she rose and approached it. It was her father’s size and had on its radiant body eight pairs of wings and multiple arms, and as she moved closer, the fiend’s light dimmed, and though the face was no face, it could have been that of her absent father. It spoke thus ‘I am the guiding angel of your life, and I know every deed you have done, and I praise you’. When she heard these words she began to feel as though she were floating, and she looked down and she saw that she stood on a pillow of intense brilliance, so bright she could not see from below her knees. She looked into this no face with a pleading gaze and no sooner had it turned away it shot straight into her opening mouth; and she cried into her sleep for her father who wasn’t there. But the next morning she saw white dots floating about in her eyes. She said nothing of this to her mother.
She began to watch closely these little white dots in her periphery as they oscillated over-under, zigzagging close, zigzagging away, exploding, leaving wispy trails for her to follow when they go outside her visual field. They first appeared very small, like a few gold glints in a clear pond, but she’s wiser now and when they appear again they mean more to her than white dots which play around with her imagination, which play around with her sanity; for she is a spiritual girl, and she is convinced that what she sees are the minutiae of feelings toward her from her absent father.
At night the white dots sometimes form into blood soaked rays which then bear down on her from her bedroom ceiling, aimed randomly at her body, which lay exposed to the night’s humid air. When they hit her they leave little red marks, and her blotchy skin from her night sweats reminds her that though she’s unwell, she’s neither high nor delusional. Who she is she knows, and who she isn’t she will find out when the dots leave her after her father has returned to her.
She has dreamt she is watching a man drown. She goes to him drowning in his huge bath but she could not help. She saw her mother and her brothers and she screams for their help but they do not hear her. When she turns toward the man he has disappeared. She sinks to her knees and begins to sob because she couldn’t help him. She was a child and she had not learnt to swim. Sometime later her mother told her that a famous rock star had recently died from drowning. He was drinking and skylarking with friends beside a river bank and then he went in for a swim and never came out. She checked the day it happened and it was on the night before that she had the dream.
Her father is standing under the drooping branches of the elm that dominated her childhood back yard. He is standing upright and leaning on his electric guitar. He often played his unplugged guitar in the back yard. The family wasn’t allowed outside when he played. He looks taller than normal. His skin isn’t so brown. It’s been awhile since he’d been in the Caribbean with his band. His long blond hair was loose over his shoulders and his back. His was wearing his buckskin uniform that he wore on stage. If she came to him as a little girl when he was like this he would get angry with her and tell her to get back into the house. But this day when he saw her he just smiled at her and said nothing. She was nearly fifteen at the time. She looked at him and smiled, and then she went back into the house. It was the last time she saw him.
Lately she would go alone at dusk to a nearby lake and look for the lights that shone from across the water. They were little bright lights dancing around like illuminated midges. Sometimes they would rise up as one and stay in formation and fly from across the other side to where she stood. The lights would hover over her and she stood unafraid and in wonder. The formation almost looks human. After awhile the formation would break up and fly back to the other side of the lake.
And one evening while walking in a wheat field near her council flat which sits like a ruby in a crowded brooch of rubies on the outskirts of her town, she came across a monument shaped like a war memorial and from behind it came the slightly blurry figure of a being, thin and angular, whose hands were like scapulars, and whose body appeared metallic, and upon his head was a headdress that trailed behind it like a princess’s wedding gown, gold and ruby filled, and feather lined, striding toward her. She was transfixed but ready to be taken from her daily drudgery, and it was face to face with her, and its face was long and thin, with a jutting jaw, pale, ghostly, its pupil dotted eyes looked into hers, its thin mouth spread and stretched further around its face, and she was motionless and ready, its mouth opened, and then it vanished.
At the age of twenty seven she voluntarily went into hospital. She reported to admissions that she had been uncontrollably disordered, her thoughts spinning around and coalescing like fruit in a blender, her dreams a collage of condensed scenes transfixing her to her bed of white dots, her visions outer worldly and beyond rationality. She said her breakdown was total when in a moment of lucidity she decided to seek help. The staff she spoke to asked of her family and friends. She had none to speak of. Her mother had abandoned her a long time ago and though she worked in a call centre she was a loner. When she believed herself to be a child again, she asked the people she worked with to play games with her. She lost her job soon after because business was bad and casual staff numbers had to be cut. Her supervisor told her she was unfortunate victim of a workplace democratic streamlining even though her call center targets had been good.
In therapy she was asked what she thought would be good for her. She said she wanted to hear the music her father played. And upon being asked his name she said Metatron. And when asked about Metatron’s music she said he played rock music in the Caribbean. And her carers made attempts to source Metatron’s rock music but to no avail. They could find no record of rock music recorded and played in the Caribbean by a Metatron. But so as to not disappoint and in the hope her wish might be fulfilled and to help her condition they gave her an iPod to wear and use whenever she liked and which had on it the silver-toned sounds of dub reggae and ska.
She never questioned whether this was really her father’s music because she enjoyed it. She enjoyed the different versions of the same song – the rhythms and the echo. Her room is quite airy and filled with flowers whose odors were sweet and the walls are painted in neutral colors and she spends many a waking hour in it listening to the music. It occurred to her carers that she is becoming less self absorbed, seemingly altering her moods and thought, and she is articulate and coherent when she describes her visions of her father in her therapy sessions, her vocal rhythms similar to the dub beat she hears.
She now associates her visions with the music she hears. She believes it is her father’s and she no longer imagines him playing a guitar. She also has a new father figure in her life. He is a behavioral therapist whom she sees monthly. Each time her white dots form an image in her mind there are corresponding emotions which stir in her. Her therapist tells her that her father returns to her in this way and that her feelings are meant only for him. She voluntarily sees this therapist because she is alone and het is the only male she can feel comfortable with. This is because each time she sees him he sits at the end of the patient’s couch upon which she is lying, the way her father use to. She has never asked her therapist to do this. And he says he does this with no other client.