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    • Izzy_Indigo
      By Izzy_Indigo in In The Midnight Lands
         3
      CHAPTER 3.

      TOWARDS A sky billowing in the distance with upward-bound cloud we walked, keeping tight to the diamond-shaped ridge on our left. It was into a mood of prehistory rolling from the ancient beech trees knotting the ridge's side, as if at any moment a Moa could come crashing down, through, its splayed three-toed feet flying.
      We passed many coming-together-campsites in the tree's shadows, pungent with cigarettes and blunts, loud with chatter and favored electronica, whilst out on the Canaan Downs a confusion of colourful Gatherers jinked like confetti caught high in the wind. We sought our own space under the eaves, large enough to accommodate the rest of our crew, maybe twenty or so still to come. A mixed group of funky guys and girls hanging as friends; a wondrous thing to me then.
      A crew I had met shortly after that first warehouse dance party - young, resonant, socially adroit, spiritually aware, as apt to discuss The Celestine Prophecy as an upcoming DJ - and living with an exhilarating verve and positivity, always something fun to do, house, club or dance party to go to, Wednesday to Sunday, the rhythm of their lives marked by the ever-present trance and dance and recreational drugs.
      First world children.
      Brought up in peace, bored, with no great cause to own, ya-yaa-ing on the picket line, no survival simplifications; only young and eager and enraged by the horrifying hunger stretching endless before them, that svelte compulsion of many years, work and work and compete and buy and consume and get ahead - leave the others behind - fuck ‘em, right? - over the top boys, over the top - the me, me, ME of media, our spiritual destitution;
      just a life-time ahead of being weighed and ranked, of being told who was better and why, that whole fucking rotten bullshit deal - rejected, because this was Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect, cuz - not the tarnished caricature but something beautiful, truly. Conscious. Lived and intended.
      Peace. Love. Unity. Respect. It meant something then and still does now, cool cats doing cool things whose policy was betterment and inclusion.
      My friends scions. I loved them with a fierce passion. They were simply the finest humans I’d ever known.
      * * * *
      This blog is a story. Each post picks up from the last.
      If you are new, start at the bottom with post 1 and then work your way up. 

      * * * *
      Enjoying what you're reading? Please take the time to follow the blog, like and comment.
      Your support means a lot.
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    • Izzy_Indigo
      By Izzy_Indigo in In The Midnight Lands
         14
      I HAD discovered the dance scene quite accidentally the year before.
      I happened to be at Auckland's Real Groovy Records one blank September day and I happened to glance down at one of the colourful dance party flyers littering its counter. It was the colours that caught my eye. That and the promise of a ‘Snow Party’.
      Picking the flyer up, I thought: snow means wet clothes, then: this might be a good place to meet chicks. Which it wasn't. Not if you went to the party in a plaid flannel farmer's shirt - as I did - certain it was the height of manly fashion.
      Before then, nothing was extraordinary in my life. Not that there was anything particularly sub-ordinary either, you understand. It was just your average, early-twenties, know-nothing, drink-beer, chase-women, recover-and-repeat, Kiwi-bloke life.
      I was average in height and build, average in looks - with a receding hairline and an upturned nose that had earnt me the nickname pugsley. (Whether due to a resemblance to a member of The Adams Family or the dog with the squashed in snout I was never entirely sure.)
      If you didn’t count the school boy hat-trick I took when I was seven, I had two claims to fame: being a fifth generation New Zealander and being the only son out of five children to parents comfortably married.
      My days I spent in subtracting the hours to the weekend, where I would drift along behind my mates through the pubs of Auckland - The Forge, Broncos, Copper Joes, The Loaded Hog - shimmying away to the commercial pop played, and enjoying it far more than I let on, because that was the best place to meet girls. Before at 3 AM, kebab in hand, heading home, alone.
      In summer I played cricket; in winter I watched rugby; and every New Years I went camping in the Coromandel with my friends, there to get prodigiously sunburnt and prodigiously drunk.
      Not a bad life, really, just: ordinary. And some part of me was searching, searching for, well, the extraordinary I found at that first abandoned warehouse dance party in the centre of town.
      It was all madness and riotous magic from the moment I entered the parking lot. Snow blowers were blowing a blizzard at the door, pyromaniacs were spinning great tongues of fire outside, and white was the attire for everyone - other than me, in my plaid-flannelled goodness.
      Nervously I had gone to join the queue. Through red brick walls the bass reverberated; the bouncers were friendly. A surprise. They ushered me inside . . . to collide.
      A new realm of being.
      First that techno tidal wave hitting like a train (and I thought of it all as techno then), then those weird, wild and wonderful ravers in their blissful, boisterous boil (and I thought of them all as ravers then), and finally the ringing smack upside the head that they were dancing, actually dancing, cutting loose and letting go, the warmth and the lights and their glow, but with such freedom and ecstasy, such kinetic creativity, it was like watching a human murmuration.
      (And, incidentally, putting my patented sidle-up-to-a-girl-and-grind-against-her groove, doing the pugsley, to deep, deep shame.)
      From that first reveal through ice-crusted doors, I was out of step. Lost. I did not know how to move. I consumed space and collected frowns. I gawped and wanted to take pictures.
      I was a sightseer to the Amazonia Planitia of Mars and all the martian woman streaming by were gorgeous - so this is where they all hang out! - and all the martian men laid-back-cool-enough not to be hitting them; where water was preferred and your skills on the dance floor mattered and an effervescent energy reigned and not one fight began, and I stumbled around dazed for a while.
      In the end, overwhelmed, defeated, I retreated to a wall at the back, a tartan flower, there to be pounded ever flatter by the bass.
      I marvelled over what secret school had taught them all to dance this way. I developed a man crush (sadly) on the obvious king of the party: a shirtless bloke onstage in soap-bubble blue aviators, wrapped up in smoke and lit up by lasers, peep-peep-peeping away on a glowing whistle.
      And slowly, inexorably, like all those in the warehouse before me, I became determined to cross over . . . to the extraordinary.
      * * * *
      This blog is a story. Each post picks up from the last.
      If you are new, start at the bottom with post 1 and then work your way up. 

      * * * *
      Enjoying what you're reading? Please take the time to follow the blog, like and comment.
      Your support means a lot.
      Also, sharing is caring. 

      * * * *
       
    • Izzy_Indigo
      By Izzy_Indigo in In The Midnight Lands
         0
      OUR TALK talked turned to movies, those being made and those currently on show, for Ginny and I went to them every few weeks, it was one of our 'things'.
      We talked of the upcoming summer and of Claire and Amber flying home from England, Hannah from Australia; of the Indigo family Christmas Ginny would host, for she was the keeper of our family traditions.
      Small talk, the sort of talk we always had. Maybe half an hour or so.
      And when we reached a lull, as I began to silently frame the platitudes that would help ease my exit - Is there anything you need? I'll visit again tomorrow. I'm sure you'll feel better soon - something new, different - desperate in Ginny's eyes.
      And our conversation went to areas we never did.
      "I'm tired," Ginny said and looked it, enervated as if treading water in a sea full of sand.
      Then she began to talk about her weight.
      For nearly as long as I could remember Ginny had been overweight. A problem that started in her first year of high school when she'd been bullied because she didn't wear the right type shoes. Coming home to cry everyday, she'd sought comfort in food.
      It had got a hold of her then, the appetite, worked deep into her limbic system; an appetite that escalated as she got older, one she could never get to grips with. A appetite with a name: obesity - a name we never used for fear of hurting her. For Ginny was so much more than that to us.
      Giving and sensitive, intelligent and creative and witty.
      Beautiful.
      Sometimes Ginny and I would discuss the current diet her and mum were on, how she was progressing, how much weight she'd lost. But this was the first time Ginny ever opened up to me about how she felt.
      As the twilight descended and I stayed hours longer than I intended she spoke of her periodic depression. "I can go for weeks pretending everything is all right. But then I see myself in a mirror and I can't pretend anymore.”
      The mirrors were everywhere: shop windows and seats that were too small, the judging eyes of strangers. Having stared down the black hounds of hair loss I understood, as perhaps only I in the family could. Ginny told me of her wish to get married, “He doesn’t need to be handsome, he just needs to be nice” - to have children, “Even one would be okay, just one perfect little boy or girl” - of how far away it seemed, how she thought it might never happen, “Sometimes at night when I’m laying there and I can’t sleep and I think about the future I get this sinking sensation, like something is crumbling, like I can actually feel something is slipping away . . .”
      She was thirty-five years old and I'd never known her to have a boyfriend.
      "I'm tired, Izzy," she said at the end, "awfully tired. Just sick and tired of being trapped inside my body. Of being alone and not feeling well while the world passes me by. And with every day that ends I think: that is another day closer to the day when it will all be too late, soon."
      There was a hissing. Something in the room hissed. Or in my head. I didn’t know, pushed past, pushed positivity, said, "Gin, it's never too late, I promise” - and I believed that then, wanted the world to work that way - “but first you've got to get better, right?"
      She struggled higher in her bed. "Yeah, I know. What I am trying to say is, when I do - ” she faltered, shy to share more.
      I was quiet, encouraged.
      “Well . . . I've made a decision. I’m going to take a year off. Sell my house and go live with Mum and Dad. Concentrate on getting healthy and losing the weight and nothing else, no work or anything like that. Really commit, you know?" She paused. A bashful smile. "A year just to be selfish. You don't think that's stupid, do you?"
      I didn't. We talked it through. We were both excited by the idea. The way she spoke I knew she meant it, her dream burned brightly between us that night.
      For all of my adult years I think I’d waited to hear her speak those words, or use that tone, or maybe both together. I told her I would help in any way I could and I meant it, and later when I left, it was with a feeling of great encouragement, of a renewed and revealed closeness with my sister.
      For the first time in a long time I felt an eclipse had lifted. For the first time in a long time I felt Ginny would be all right.
      * * * *
      This blog is a story. Each post picks up from the last.
      If you are new, start at the bottom with post 1 and then work your way up. 

      * * * *
      Enjoying what you're reading? Please take the time to follow the blog, like and comment.
      Your support means a lot.
      Also, sharing is caring. 

      * * * *
    • Izzy_Indigo
      By Izzy_Indigo in In The Midnight Lands
         0
      WHY WERE hospitals so bright inside? What were they afraid of losing?
      That day the light, neutered of warmth and goodness, thrown from long rectangular bulbs in the ceiling and boomeranging off glossy walls and linoleum floors, had the quality of examination, of interrogation.
      I walked with squeaking footsteps down narrow corridors coagulating with stuffy air. The smell of disinfectant strong, but not strong enough to mask the miasma of decline, of blood and bone, death, steel and decay spilling from the rooms sliding to my left and right.
      Some of the doors were open, and I caught brief glimpses of the intimate tableaus inside. Patients, lost, white, hunched, hacking and in pain shipwrecked amongst loved-ones hushed, numb, horrified, blind. Workers, navigating the shoals in-between, were loud and cheery, putting in their nine-to-five. I averted my eyes.
      Dressed in unripe limes and blues, harried nurses flew down the corridors towards me, or sat with pleated hair behind untidy folder piles at plexiglassed stations. I knew they did a tough job well, but - still, I couldn't help the prickle I felt, the sense of the remnants remained, the end-of-timers they'd helped usher to other worlds.
      From one I got directions to my sister’s ward and room.
      I hurried on, squeaking.
      Earlier in the day my aunt had called to say Ginny was in hospital. My sister had been battling the flu for the past two weeks, one of those on-again-off-again health problems she always seemed to have. I hadn’t paid much attention, other than to check in with a few emails.
      That was until my aunt called. Hospitals meant something more serious; it snapped me out of self; sent me off in search, rattling down those antiseptic halls.
      Ginny I found on the second floor at the far end of a tubular, shiny-shiny room. She lay in a folded-up bed plumped with pillows, obscured from others by a half-pulled green curtain.
      She looked pale - more than an aspect of the light or the shapeless white gown she wore - her freckles prominent, brown eyes bright, face framed by a trickle of loose, dark hair.
      A thin cord ran from her nose to a whispering machine at her side. Into one arm’s vein an IV dripped. I registered all this in the ten steps it took to reach her side. Registered also my first pangs of unease.
      Ginny looked like she needed to be in hospital.
      "Hi-ya," I said with forced cheer as she spotted me and made the effort to sit up. "I come bearing gifts."
      I took the seat next to her and fished out some X-Men anthologies. Ginny liked comics and the movies, crafts and the family. She had a great sense of humour and we laughed a lot. I never felt judged in her presence.
      She thanked me, took them, flicked through a few pages, and then set them aside.
      "So, how you feeling?"
      "Not the best," she answered. A far-away voice. She tucked a stray piece of fringe behind one ear, then said, "I ache, and it's like it's all over, Izz. Like it's in my bones or something. It's been that way for a week. I've had to get up in the middle of the night to take baths. And now I can feel these weird lumps across my stomach.” She indicated where they were with a disquieted look. She made me feel them.
      "Aw, Gin."
      I didn't know what else to say.
      We sat looking at each other.
      "What do the doctors think?"
      She sighed. "Some sort of obscure virus, but they're not sure. They're pumping me full of antibiotics and giving me painkillers every hour. Hopefully it all starts to kick in soon."
      "Gin—" that lack of words again. "I . . . I should have known. Come to see you sooner." I was the only one in the family living close by but I had not seen her in weeks.
      Ginny fluttered her hand. "I didn't know. This morning I was at home with the flu. Weird, ay?"
      * * * *
      This blog is a story. Each post picks up from the last.
      If you are new, start at the bottom with post 1 and then work your way up. 

      * * * *
      Enjoying what you're reading? Please take the time to follow the blog, like and comment.
      Your support means a lot.
      Also, sharing is caring. 

      * * * *
    • Izzy_Indigo
      By Izzy_Indigo in In The Midnight Lands
         5
      CHAPTER 2.

      YEARS LATER, I pulled into a hospital car park with a poem on my mind.
      Max Ehrmann's Desiderata had hung on my wall for years because I liked its sentiment, and because I thought it helped my mystique with the ladies. (My mystique needing all the help it could get.) Lately one line in particular had been talking: take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
      I didn't know how you did that - surrender the things you loved.
      The dance scene was many things, but mostly a movement of youth. From the moment you discovered it, certain in your conviction it was important and it meant something, the sand started, flowed. You had many years - good years, glad years - but time passed and you aged and the dance scene stayed the same.
      And then one day you woke and you were attending engagements and thirtieth birthday parties, not twenty-firsts or farewells for mates off travelling.
      An aficionado now, you knew the good electronica, had a visceral dislike for the cheese and the tossers it attracted, yet jaded, also, and even in the better clubs of the deeper underground, the kiddies, with their exuberant first-time-on-drugs ways, began to annoy.
      No, you don't want a massage. No, you don't sell pills. No, you don't want a huff from their just used nasal inhaler. You believed, truly, the scene was better, less mainstream, more real when you were their age.
      House parties and backyard BBQs become the norm. The music still electronic, for it was the soundtrack to your generation, but the talk now was of mortgages and children, not upcoming parties or touring superstar DJs.
      You drank because the come down wasn't worth the come up, nod to the tunes because restraint had evicted enthusiasm, and late in the evening the boys still sneaked off for a cheeky cone, or two.
      And all this with the same faces laughing over the same stories, with perhaps a shake of your head over just how far you'd come, until even they began to fade, one by one, and you realise that, soon, there would be no one left to charge with.
      It was a death, gradual but implacable, I had watched and sullenly mourned for several years; for the good days gone never to be known again.
      A death I could feel at work inside as I diminished in the world, a neutron star that had consumed all its fuel, becoming more insular and isolated, more remote - so much so that one friend felt compelled to sit me down one day and have a chat about 'no man being an island'.
      And it all would have been okay, all of it . . . if only I'd had a choice, or been ready to let go. But I didn't. And I wasn't. And it felt as if, dangling over a precipice, my fingers were slowly being forced open against my will.
      I was thirty-one, single, and still in love with the dance scene as if I were ten years younger. It was the source of my best and brightest memories: mental heirlooms my mind polished like trophies over a fireplace. My fondest wish was to create more. And more.
      Nothing lasts forever. I know that. But I wasn't ready to let go. Not yet. Not even if I was now prone at dance parties to attracting well-intentioned young fluffys in their first throes keen to tell me: "Man, I hope I'm still going hard when I’m your age." Their tone quite convinced they would never be that old.
      I didn't know how you gracefully surrendered the things of youth. Being graceful wasn’t a big part of my make-up.
      * * * *
      This blog is a story. Each post picks up from the last.
      If you are new, start at the bottom with post 1 and then work your way up. 

      * * * *
      Enjoying what you're reading? Please take the time to follow the blog, like and comment.
      Your support means a lot.
      Also, sharing is caring. 

      * * * *
       
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