Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Choice

There must have been times in your life, Dr Hart, that you thought were perfect; where you’d never been so happy.”
Looking back, yes – I would have to agree with you there, Chris… yes.”
Christopher… please, Dr Hart; I prefer Christopher.”
Sorry.. Christopher, I do apologise; you have said before. I do remember thinking that, when I first married my wife, things couldn’t get any better; that things were perfect.. but, of course, things did get better with the birth of our first child.”
Bless… but you do understand that knowing; the feeling that things were so perfect, that you almost didn’t want to wake up.”
Oh, I see what you’re getting at.” Dr Hart replied, rubbing his chin in contemplation.
Yes, so what would happen if you actually did wake up?”

It was a dreary consultation room in a dreary hospital on a dreary, dull day. Christopher was now used to days like this, the grey drizzle incessant and unrelenting. Across from him, the only council they could assign him; Dr Hart, an odd name for a neurological consultant. The seats were worn and chipped, faded and moth-eaten, straight backed but narrow which meant it was uncomfortable to stay seated in one position for too long.
Dr Hart was a fidget, his mind constantly shifting, his eyes constantly tricking around Christopher’s face and environment trying to pick up any clue, however small, that might help him understand things better.
Christopher liked him immensely for this. He was the only one that listened intently without judgement. His mousey hair tightly cropped around his intensely thin face, his nose perfectly aligning to his piercing but empathic gaze; he was so easy to talk to that sometimes Christopher thought he was… well, back home.

Tell me again what happened, Christopher.” Dr Hart asked, leaning back awkwardly in his chair. For a second Christopher thought it was going to break in protest.
How many times do you want me to tell you the same story, Dr?”
How many times has it been so far?” Dr Hart replied.
I count five so far.. today could be the sixth.”
Good, you’re keeping track then.”
It’s not my memory that I have trouble with, it’s everything else. Everything else is so… different!”
I keep asking you to see if your story is constant, Christopher. In my line of work it’s the way we tell our stories that’s as important as what the story is about.”
But this is not a story –it’s my life!” Christopher implored.
My apologies, once again, poor choice of words… Look;” Dr Hart leaned forward, “You have been through some kind of neurological trauma. That we do know.. However, what we don’t know, or are unable to really pinpoint is how that has affected you.” Christopher nodded and bowed his head slightly. “Are you still having headaches?”
No…not at all, thanks.”
Good, I’m pleased.” Dr Hart nodded and put his hands together to form a steeple before replying. “Look at it from our perspective, Christopher. You’re admitted to our hospital after collapsing at home after a series of blinding headaches. You lose consciousness for a few hours initially and then slip in and out of a coma for the next week. Initial scans show an inordinate amount of activity in your temporal lobe area, the like of which we’ve never seen before.”
Activity? What do you mean?”
“You’ve heard of epilepsy, I take it?” Christopher nodded. “Well, it looked like a form of temporal lobe epilepsy at first, but it was more like a pulsation of energy around the temporal lobe area… I know how it sounds and if I hadn’t witnessed it myself I would never have believed it. Such things just shouldn’t happen. Tell me, have you ever had seizures of any kind?”
I don’t think so, no.”
I think you were having seizures whilst in your coma and from what you’ve told me over the last few days it would tie in completely.” Christopher was still dubious about where all this was leading, and was about to protest about having to retell the same thing over again before Dr Hart put his hand up as if to explain more. “Ok, it’s like this. I want to know why your wife and son have barely been in to visit you since you were admitted. I want to know why they swear that the person you are now is radically different to the one you were before the coma.
Everything about you has changed, apparently. Your tone of voice, your hand bias –you’re left handed now, whereas before you were right- your whole demeanour… Your wife is scared of you, Christopher, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Yes, if you don’t mind me saying, you’re built like a rugby playing boxer, but I get the impression that you wouldn’t hurt a fly! (And I’ve been called a very good judge of character in all my years as a consultant – I have to be!)
All the time you’ve been here you’ve been courteous, respectful and mindful of others; lucid and funny; despite being in an alien environment under very stressful circumstances. Now, either you’re the greatest living actor of our generation and have really missed your calling, or your whole personality has changed radically! I, for one, want to know how this has happened and I think that the only way we’re going to find out is if you run through what happened leading up to your coma again.”

I’m sorry, Dr Hart; you’re right, of course. I do understand, it’s just so difficult….” Christopher explained, furrowing his brow in concentration. Even though it was mid-afternoon there was no life to the light as if the sun itself was too heavy, too laden by dust motes. The consultation room’s neutral colours seemed to promote disassociation rather than encourage healing.
See, even that apology; your wife’s told me that your whole vocabulary, your mode and method of speech has changed. Your voice is apparently slightly deeper and, according to the nurses, you haven’t sworn once!” Christopher laughed at Dr Harts description despite himself and then realised the ramifications of what was said.
Just who was I then? He pleaded. “Wait… I’m not sure I want to know..”
But this is part of what I want to know, this is what the months of rehabilitation have been about. I don’t want to know Chris. I want to know about your life in the.. coma world, for want of a better term. Tell me about the time leading up to your loss of consciousness.”
Please can I have a glass of water?” Dr Hart poured him the water from the jug on the table between them and Christopher took a couple of sips before continuing. “I’m not sure what else I can tell you that I haven’t already mentioned.” Dr Hart motioned for him to continue. “After spending all these months here it seems more and more like a fantasy land; like I was too naïve to believe that such a place could ever have existed.
But it was a place that I grew up in, I have a lifetimes worth of memories that I can account for… I can’t be making it all up!”
Calm yourself, please.” Dr Hart put his hand on Christopher’s arm. “No one is saying that you’ve made anything up. It’s just so we can understand how it all happened, so we can help make things easier for you.”
I look at the world here and I ask myself how could it all go so wrong? War, disease, famine, crime, hate, fear… there was none of that where I lived, where I came from. Everyone understood each other, we were honest and true about everything. There was no need for greed or hunger, everything was shared out equally. We were all different therefore we were all the same. Love, light and strength… Everyone was healthy because we understood that mind, body and spirit were the true trinity; it wasn’t possible to take one out of the equation.
There were times when people were out of balance, but everyone had the capacity to heal each other should the need arise. We all had our areas of expertise; some were great listeners, others were problem solvers. More still believed that by working with the soil the imbalance could be righted, and all were right; in their own way.”
This is what I find particularly fascinating.” Dr Hart interrupted. “Sorry, but it makes so much more sense to me. You’ve explained that illness was due to blockages, possibly through energy mis-alignment or emotional restrictions… Have I got that right?”
Yes, and by understanding that blockage and allowing the individual to find their own way to work through it then the blockage could be shifted.”
And you were a healer?”
Yes… well, as I said, we all were; but there were some of us who could actively use our bodies as a conduit and help align the persons energy if it became too out of shift.”
So things did go wrong, occasionally?”
Nowhere is perfect, Dr Hart. No one is perfect.” Dr Hart laughed at this good naturedly and Christopher smiled back. “The point is, we were all one another and we knew that. What we did, who we were, affected each other. I mean, that’s what I miss the most since awakening. I no longer feel that connection. I don’t know how you cope with being so alone.”
Too many don’t, I’m afraid to say.” Dr Hart confided and sighed. “Please carry on.”

I had a wife and a beautiful boy, who was fast growing into a man, and I loved them both dearly. I was respected in my field as a musician… The arts were actively encouraged in our world for they created such joy and well being in others. Part of my… job, if you will, was to help unlock others potential.”
I hear you’re a gifted pianist.” Dr Hart interrupted. “Many of the nurses have been moved to tears by your playing. They don’t recognise any of tunes, which is hardly surprising, but they’re affected by your tone and gentleness of playing. I should like to hear you play sometime.”
I’d be delighted…. There was no illness that could not be remedied, as I have said, but about two months ago I started having headaches that nothing seemed to cure. No amount of healing could alleviate the pain; it was slight to start with and my head would throb and then it would increase in severity that not even a sonic bath could help… Oh, sorry – low frequency sound that gently pulsed around the auric field; it was a way of harmonising the various bodies…
I lost consciousness three times. Each time I heard what I now know to be a heart monitor beeping and voices around me that I didn’t recognise. The third time was the longest period of nothingness and I don’t remember anything except waking up to a sea of strangers.”
When you say strangers, you mean….”
Well, those that I now know to be my wife and son, but they didn't look or act like them.. not like the wife and son I left behind..” Christopher paused and wiped the tears that were forming… “What I mean is, their countenances.. their faces are similar but who they are is completely different. It’s not just their hair style or clothes (although that plays a part of it) but rather the way they hold themselves; their mannerisms. If I were religious I might use the terminology of the soul.”
I do understand what you’re saying though… ” Dr Hart nodded in sympathy. “The strange things is, they describe something similar when explaining about the changes in you. You look exactly the same but you couldn’t be more different. You used to smell of alcohol and tobacco whereas now there’s more of an earthy smell; like the bark of trees after a fresh rainfall. Even whilst describing that smell your wife was surprised by the words that she used.”
Christopher hung his head, trying to envisage the wife he knew before the coma, the way she used to shine in the dusklight, which was her time of day. She had a pink aura around her that smelled of roses and Christopher remembered many a night when they slept, allowing their auras to merge, sharing their dreams. Victoria was a gentle beauty, his soft, shimmering angel.
The woman that now stood in her place called herself Vix and seemed far older than her years; defeated even before she was 40. Was living with Chris that bad? Who was he before the coma to have damaged such a gentle soul?
The nurses even notice the change in you too. They’ve heard how you behaved when you were first admitted into hospital, but see how you are now; and how you listen to all that talk to you…” Dr Hart continued. “You seem to be acting as a kind of tonic to all those around you, Christopher. I almost believe your part as a healer; you seem to make a difference to all those you meet.”
We all make a difference, Dr Hart.” Christopher replied. “Or at least we did. I can’t say that the same happens here. Back there we all lifted one another, often without even trying. There was no ego to speak of. Here, the ego seems to run rampant from such an early age.”
Yes, we’ve spoken at length about this before.” Dr Hart replied, nodding. “Your wife has not been in much to see you and your son, not at all –apart from the first week. How do you think they’ll feel when you’re released into their care next week?”
Really? I’ll be free to go?”
Your recovery has been nothing short of miraculous. Scans show that although there are some structural difference to the temporal lobe, it’s not enough to warrant any due concern and you’ve not reported any headaches for a long time. So, considering the amount of work you’ve done on yourself, I would certainly feel proud of what you’ve achieved… but what about my first question?”
It was kind of an unworded agreement between us. Victoria.. sorry, Vix couldn’t come to terms with me the way I am. She’s waiting for me and will face it when I’m discharged… Dr Hart, I know that Vix must have told you how I was before the coma. I can only guess how hard it was from the anguish she struggles to contain. Tell me please, just who was I?”

Tomorrow he was to be returning home, but the word had never filled him with such dread and uncertainty before.
He knew that Victoria.. Vix felt the same, if not worse. It didn’t matter how many times he tried to tell her that things were different, but she refused to believe him. To her it was either some kind of sick joke he was playing, or a nightmare. She didn’t know which, but she was up front about her fears; the sight of him in hospital, almost dead, had made her brave for a time; especially when she wasn’t sure whether he’d survive.
She, like so many others upon his waking, found it easy to talk to him, despite herself and she hated him more for that; it was just another form of rape, she had told him.
Christopher damned his other self to a lifetime of hell, but it seemed as if he had already lived it himself.
Chris’s memories were still hazy to him which was just as well, for what he could make of his life it had been a terrible one. Left alone to fend for himself by a mother who scarcely even knew he existed, let alone cared for, he had to fight for everything and take what he wanted. Other people’s feelings meant nothing to him, least of all this own. He could scarcely believe it when he had met Vix, let alone having a relationship with her and actively resented her for loving him; and hating himself for being so weak to want her.
Part of him had died each time he hurt her so he hurt her more for making him feel like that; but she kept coming back, which made it so much worse. Then Danny was born and things started to go ok, a new chance to make amends; but as Danny grew older it made Chris feel inadequate as a father, as a man. Looking into Danny’s eyes was like looking into a bottomless pit of despair.
Who was he fooling? How could he care for Danny when he couldn’t even look after himself? It made him resent Danny, but he could never bring himself to hurt him… Not unless he got too close and misread the signs, but he soon learned.
Christopher felt sick, no wonder Danny hadn’t visited. 13 was a bad enough age to be, but to be 13 with parents such as Vix and Chris?
That was unfair to Vix though… she was doing the best she could under impossible circumstances. She knew that she was losing Danny to the gang culture in school, and Danny had already been in numerous fights after school between rival gangs, and it would surely just be a matter of time before something serious happened.

In amongst all of this there was supposed to be a friend.. a mate of Chris’s, another skinhead –Pete. Where was he? Why didn’t he visit?
There was something very odd that didn’t quite add up. Vix hadn’t mentioned anything about him and it was only when Christopher checked his wallet that he saw a photo of him and Pete, in the days of photo-booths, making outrageous, drunken faces at each other. Christopher smiled and wondered where Pete was. It was hopeless though, surely… Would there be any point in them being friends again? He wasn’t the same man as before, they would be like chalk and cheese together, but surely it would be worth trying.
There were so many obstacles to overcome, but despite everything, his… Chris’s family had to come first. He didn’t know what had happened, no one did, but Christopher knew without a doubt that, for better or worse, he was there to stay. He had to make it work.
For his own sake.

VIx picked him up from the hospital though she barely touched him. When he had to lean on her for support she flinched. Christopher was determined to find a way to make it up to her, whatever had happened to her in the past was going to stop, if only he could make her see that.
His recovery had surprised all that had come into contact with him, all except Dr Hart. His parting words to Christopher were: “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but for what it’s worth, you’ve made a believer out of me. I don’t envy the road you’ve got out in front of you, but if anyone can change other peoples lives, it’s you. I only have to look at the difference you’ve made to us here to see that… but I will say one more thing to you: too many people have drowned whilst trying to save others. Despite all to the contrary, none of this is your fault, Christopher.. be careful.” They shook hands and Dr Hart helped him into Vix’s beat up Vauxhaull Corsa.
What did Dr Hart say to you?” Vix asked defensively when they were almost home.
Just to keep up the good work… no one can believe how quickly I’ve healed myself.” He lied.
Yeah, right.” She replied non-committedly. They said not a word for the rest of the journey.

At ‘home’ it became more awkward. Whichever room Christopher was in Vix made sure that she was in another. Danny was nowhere to be seen at all.
He spends more and more time with his mates.” Vix replied dismissively, when pressed. “Who else has he got?”
Stays out a lot, does he?” Christopher asked.
Like you care!”
I’ve tried to tell you this so many times..” He replied, holding his hand out to her.
Cut the crap!” She spat, slapping it away. “We’re not at the hospital any longer; you no longer have to act all high and mighty.” She turned away and walked to the window, hugging herself. “You can’t hurt me any more than you have already, so you may as well get it over with.”
Christopher stepped back in disgust. “What do you mean?”
You know, course you fucking know!” She screamed at him, tears raking down her cheeks.
Victoria.. please..”
Fuck off… FUCK OFF! You know about me and Pete! Why do you think you ended up in hospital?” Christopher reeled as if she had struck him.
no..” was all he could whisper.
You found out about us, threatened me; like you’d done so many times and went over to Pete’s… but he was ready for you. I phoned him, didn’t I? I thought he’d gone and fucking killed you. Worse, at least if you were dead it would’ve all been done and sorted. Now we’ve still got the same problem again.”
I don’t know what to say.”
Oh, who gives a shit! C’mon, get it over and done with” She shouted, goading him, pushing herself at him. “I no longer care, you can’t hurt me any longer.”
Christopher stepped back and walked away in disgust.
Where are you fucking going?” She shouted at him.
To bed… Dr Hart said I’ve got to take it easy, have early nights. I’ll sleep in the spare room.” He turned back to her, tears in his eyes. “For what it’s worth, I’m sorry… I never meant for any of this to happen.”

He lay in bed cursing his namesake. Why was it that Chris’d been such a bastard; a wife beater and he now got the chance to live Christopher’s life and be given shot at redemption? One that he certainly didn’t deserve.
Nothing made sense until Christopher realised what had actually happened.
The whole ethos of Christopher’s world was togetherness and understanding. Chris had never known that, he was being given a second chance, yes –but he did deserve it. There was no way he could be allowed to carry on in his old life in Christopher’s world. He wouldn’t be able to push people around; just because people had a predilection for peace didn’t mean that they were unable to fight back. They knew more about the body and it’s pressure points, as he’d learn soon enough. He’d change, he’d have to.
But it was Christopher who was even more blessed. He had been given the opportunity to change the lives of three people, an honour indeed! Victoria’s, Danny’s and now Pete’s!

The next morning was a Sunday and Vix stayed in the bedroom with the door shut. Danny still hadn’t come home and Christopher knew exactly what he had to do. He understood what Dr Hart had told him and knew that there was only one way for things to work out.
He knocked on Vix’s bedroom door.
Fuck off.” She shouted, so he knocked again. Something smashed and shattered against it. He opened the door regardless, holding a cushion from the downstairs sofa as a shield.
I only want to talk. I’ll be brief, but it’s imperative that I say my piece to you.”
What the fuck to you have to say to me now? Why should I listen? And why do you still talk that way, like you’re so fucking posh?”
I think they stuck a lemon up my arse in hospital by mistake.” He replied and despite herself Vix laughed before stopping herself. “Look, I’m going to sit here, by the window, ok? I’m not going to get any closer to you, I promise. I just want to talk.”
Vix looked at him, stared through him; all the muscles in her back and shoulders were tense, ready to fight if need be. He stared back, knowing nothing but love and sadness for her. She turned away but nodded for him to talk.
Thank you.” He said and sat down on the stool by the window.
I don’t know what’s going on any more.” She said, sobbing. “I don’t know what’s worse, the bastard you were before or this.”
At least before you knew what was going on.” He confided.
Yes!” She snapped and span around again, meeting his eyes briefly. She looked down at her hands and pulled her bedclothes closer to her.
I know… I can’t explain why things are different, Vict.. Vix.. I can only tell you what I know and who I was before I met you, before I woke up. You may believe me, I don’t think it really matters any more. I just want you to hear me out.”
I don’t want anything from you.. I .. he has taken too much from you already. I want to start balancing the scales and the only way I can think to do it is by granting us a divorce so you can be happy with Peter.”
What the fuck?” She cried, unable to accept what she’d just heard.
Yes…I want you to be happy, that’s your right –despite what this world thinks. And if it means that being happy is being with Peter then so be it. But on one condition..” She tensed up at this, waiting for the inevitable. “You just hear me out, let me talk to you; maybe for one last time.”
She nodded her head, still disbelieving.

Thank you.” He nodded in reply. “Thank you for giving me this one chance. Chris wouldn’t have deserved it, but thank you for at least seeing the difference between us.”
I don’t understand any of this, I don’t know what’s going on –but there is a difference.”
I know, and that’s what I want to help with. I want to help you to understand. I want to explain my life so you know why this has happened, then I’m going to give you a choice. There is no right answer, just the one that feels right. Are you ok with that?” Vix nodded, sniffing hard. “Thank you. I don’t know what Chris did to you, I can’t even imagine what you must have been through, I can only judge by your reactions and I can only say that I’m so sorry. But words here seem meaningless…
I know that Dr Hart has probably spoken to you about our sessions together and chances are you’ve rejected all that I’ve said out of hand as a ploy…
But imagine if that wasn’t the case, imagine if all that I’ve talked about was true. Imagine, for instance, that I have woken up to a world of strangers; that all those that I’ve loved and grown with –my wife and son- are now lost to me. Me, who has known so much love and been blessed with so much happiness to wake and find that I will never know them again… worse, as it seems that there is a distinct possibility that it was all a lie in the first place?
You are a lot like my wife, Victoria. We fell in love almost instantly at a writing group… where I come from we were all encouraged to find freedom through expression; we all had hidden depths –some were more hidden then others. We fell in love easily but she made me work for it. She would only date me when I had written her the perfect love poem.
The first one that I wrote her was Homeric in proportion; two pages long, it took me an hour to recite.
She yawned and said to shorten it, so I spent days and nights writing a new poem and managed to condense it to a single page and she sighed throughout and looked at her watch. At the end she said that I used the word beautiful too many times and it was still too long.
“This carried on for another month until I’d managed to shrink the poem to but a single line. Did you want me to recite you the line, I have it memorised.” Vix nodded. “
Unopened blossoms on a Spring, dewed morning; tomorrows love in anticipation.”
I’ve never heard anything like that before. No one’s ever said anything like that to me.” She confided in him, looking at him in the eye now.
You are so much like my Victoria it scares me. I look at you and I see someone deserving so much love; but you never got given the choice or the chance to see how beautiful you really are. I look at you and I see a chance for you to have that love, to be shown their spark. You are a beautiful child of the light, and deserve a chance to shine.” Vix started to sob, great racking tremors of release, emotions long since suppressed now welling to the surface.
I know that I have no right to ask this, and, in truth, already know the answer.. It’s not too late for us. We haven’t had our chance; I could still make you happy. I want you to shine, Victoria.” He placed his hand on her leg and she recoiled, crying harder.
I’m sorry.” She sobbed. “I couldn’t help it.”
I know, and it’s as I thought. All the time I wear this face, there will always be the memories, the chance that he might come back. I understand and can only love you more. I want your happiness over everything else, and if that means sharing it with someone else; with Peter then so be it.”
Vix looked up, drying her eyes on her sleeve, scarcely believing what she’s just heard.
I will grant us a divorce and allow you to be with Pete, If that’s what you both wish.”
Vix hugged him in a way that she’d never been able to before. “I’m so sorry.” She whispered in his ear. “I know now that you’re not him and could never be him. I’m sorry for what you’ve lost and that I can’t give it to you.”
You have nothing to be sorry about. You now deserve happiness. But I’ve got to speak to Peter, to get it out in the open.”
Don’t!” She snapped back. “He’ll kill you!”
“I don’t think so. I’m prepared for whatever he does. It’ll be alright, but I have to go now before he goes out to the pub.”

You may as well come in.” Peter responded gruffly to Christopher’s greetings. “Vix’s already rung me… she may believe the crap you’ve come out with, but I don’t.”
Christopher made to walk into the living room but Pete stopped him. “Tell me why I shouldn’t just finish what I already started..”
Three reasons really.” Christopher replied, looking straight into Pete’s hate filled eyes. There was a calmness that Peter hadn’t seen before and he looked away. He pushed Christopher back though, but not with any force. “One; it’s totally unnecessary. Two; what makes you think you’ll succeed? And three, if you do, and I’m saying ‘if’ then you’ll end up going to jail as a murderer and then both of your lives are fucked. Is that really what you want?”
Fuck you! People won’t arrest me, they’ll applaud me! You’re scum!”
Wake up, Pete, smell the fucking coffee… This isn’t Eastenders; I’ve been released on a clean bill of health. I didn’t press charges last time but it won’t be difficult for the police to track down who’s responsible this time. You’ll get caught and then you’ll go down, leaving Victoria.. Vix alone. Is that really what you want? Are you really that fucking stupid?”
Pete turned away from him to shut the door, but Christopher knew exactly what he was planning so when Pete swung around to punch him, Christopher was ready with a block and used Pete’s momentum to push him into the wall, bringing him into a headlock.
You’re not dealing with a fucking moron any more.. Don’t mistake my change of heart for pacifism. Being ‘spiritual’ doesn’t mean losing the will to fight for what’s right. I could take you out right here and now, put an ounce more pressure on your spine and you’d be paralysed. It’d be just deserts for what you planned for me, but I’m not like that. I will not sink to your level, but I do need you to listen to me.”
What they fuck should I?”
You know what, Pete? You shouldn’t. I couldn’t give a shit whether you do or not; see, I assumed that a future with Vix meant something to you, but I guess it doesn’t. I guess you were just like Chris after all.”
How fucking dare you?” Pete snapped and struggled. Christopher increased the pressure again around his neck until the struggling ceased.
I know more about the human body and frailty then you could possibly imagine. The difference between hurt and heal is marginal after all.. Now, are you going to listen to me?”
Pete grunted and stopped struggling enough for Christopher to ease the pressure. “That’s better. I’ll keep it brief, and really it’s as simple as this: Regardless of what you think, I am divorcing Vix.
I believe that given time we could make it work, but for Vix, she can’t see passed who I was and I can’t say I blame her. She wants to be happy with you, and her happiness is important to me.
Yours? Well, I couldn’t care less about you. You took the law into your own hands and tried to murder me. I understand your motivations but your actions were despicable; there’s always another way. There’s always a choice. I don’t want to hear your pathetic excuses; it doesn’t matter. Did you not hear what I said? You are free to live your lives together, if that’s what you want.”
What about you? Why should I believe you?”
No reason at all, and there’s nothing I can do to stop you from carrying out your threats; just hope that your future with Vix is more important to you than jail. I don’t matter in this story… I can make a life out of anything, I know that now. So what’s it to be?”

Back at home, telling Vix the news; her hugging him with relief and happiness, and a mixture of sadness which puzzled her as well. It was this that Danny walked into.
The fuck?!” He reacted, unsure what was going on. Alarm and shock fighting for dominance over his face.
Danny, it’s not what it looks like.” Vix replied, trying to walk towards him.
What the fuck is happening then? A family moment? After all this bastards done to you? To US? You welcome him back with open legs?”
It’s not like that, son.” Christopher found himself saying.
Fuck you!” Danny snapped back. “You got no right saying that to me at all!”
You know what? You’re right.” Christopher retorted, holding his hands up in defence. “I’m not your dad and probably will never get a chance to be. I don’t think even I could rebuild what your arsehole of a father did to you.”
What the fuck’s he talking about? Has he gone schizo?” He shouted at Vix.
He’s not the same as he was before the coma.” She tried to explain.
Bullshit.. he’s hit you so fucking hard you’ll believe anything, but he don’t fool me. I want nothing to do with him.”
Fine; that’s good with me.” Christopher replied, shocking both Danny and Vix. “I’m not going to try and bridge the gap between you and me because I’m leaving. Your mum wants to be with Pete, so that’s what’s going to happen. I’m moving out –for good.”
Danny was dumbstruck by this, he didn’t know what to say.
You want nothing to do with me and that’s fine, but just let me say this to you… a bit of advice, if you like. Choose to do with it what you will, I don’t care.
You carry on doing what you’re doing, going around with the gangs, treating people the way you do and then you’ll end up like your dad. You’ll be the spitting image of him. That what you want?
No one gave him a choice, no one tried to make a difference in his life. Now.. I’m giving you that choice; be like him or find your own way in life. It’s not too late.”
Danny nodded, every trace of anger dissipated. He simply looked at his mum’s tear stained face.
Christopher turned to Vix and said, “I’ll be in touch with you in about a week regarding the divorce. It should go smoothly.” He looked back to Danny and said, “I’ll be around for a few weeks until it’s all cleared up; I’ll give your mum the address. If you want to look me up for advice or guidance then the door will always be open; but there’s no obligations, it’s only if you want to. I’m not your dad; I don’t know whether I can be your dad, that would be too much to ask of either of us… but for these few weeks I can at least steer you to the right path, as I did for my son. It’s not too late for you, remember. You have the rest of your life; just think about it”
He walked up stairs and packed the bare essentials in to a small bag. He took £100 from Vix savings jar and walked back into the hall.
I’ll return this to you before I leave; you have my word. But I’ll need somewhere to sleep, and this should tide me over for a couple of nights… I’ve got Chris’s sick pay to cover me as well until I find another job.. I think I may even start a healing practice! That shouldn’t take too long to sort out… But I’ll be out of your hair.”
Suitcase in hand he opened the front door and turned his back to the strangers behind him. “Thank you for allowing me to make a difference in your lives. My love to you both.”

And he shut the door to find a new story, one that was uniquely his own.

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