Click here for a full list of chapters for Marcus T Anthony's novel "Light."
Life is like the ocean. It has depths that are rarely seen, let alone experienced. The thing is, do you really want to see what lies at the bottom of the ocean? Or even what lurks below the first few metres that visible light penetrates? Who knows what terrible, dark leviathan lays waiting behind the veneer of the eye, ready to engulf us? Or perhaps it is not so much the monster that lies beneath, but the vast emptiness within that fills the spirit with dread.
My vision was beginning to penetrate the depths, but I did not know what to make of it. Perhaps if I had understood what was happening, I would have been less afraid. All I knew was that I was starting to experience things that I had never dreamed existed, let alone believed in. And once I did see that there was a deepening process, I didn’t really stop to think about how deep it might go. All I knew was that I was going to places that I’d never been before, and it was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
Part of the problem was that I had no one to talk to about these things. But that was all about to change.
It should have been me that leapt into the meditation room, bravely leading Paul. But alas, it was not so. Two weeks after my first meeting there, I was returning at Paul’s insistence. Paul bounded through the door as if he owned the place. He was a man on a mission. I had a fair idea what that mission was, but I didn’t care to dwell on it. I suspected that it had something to do with the male to female ratio I had previously mentioned. Paul was a lot more upfront with the ladies than I. That’s not much of a compliment to him though.
Geoff Masters was there, and he greeted me with his Buddha-like smile. We were a little early, and there were only two students in the room. Much to my shock, one of them was a guy. Not that I have anything against males, of course. It was simply that I wasn’t expecting any, well, competition.
Paul took a seat precisely 180 degrees opposite the unknown male, sat down with a huff and crossed his arms and sat there with his legs splayed out like he was a gigalo trying to drum up business. I genuinely wished he wasn’t wearing shorts.
That should have sounded a warning to me.
“G’day”, the other guy said to us with a nod of the head, and Paul and I returned hellos. He had red hair and a ready smile.
Paul leaned over to me and whispered. “Three males to one female. I make that to be a ratio of three to one. You were bullshitting me, dude. I want my money back.”
“No problem. The cheque’s in the mail.”
Paul smiled despite himself, and went back to the opening and closing of the legs routine. The other guy seemed unmoved by it all, and was flipping through one of the counseling department newsletters.
The male-female factor soon improved as another half a dozen or so girls walked in. There was no sign of Amanda though, and I was surprised to find a sense of disappointment descending upon me. After all, I’d been trying to avoid the girl. Why should I be bothered that she had not turned up?
It was after Geoff had begun to make his introductions that she stumbled in looking slightly flustered.
“Sorry I’m late.” She looked at me and smiled as she took her seat across from me. I could feel my face flushing.
Paul was up on it right away. I hadn’t even said anything. Honest.
“Not bad,” he said leaning towards my ear. I elbowed him in the ribs hard enough for him to make an audible grunt.
I was dreading Paul’s self-introduction, but it turned out to be quite respectful. He may have been a bit of a clown, but he knew when to cut the act. Well, most of the time. A few turns later, it was the red-haired fellow’s turn.
“I’m Michael,” he said with calm confidence. “Saw the light on, thought I’d drop in.”
He got the intended laugh. I made a quiet comment to Paul that his job as the local comedian might be under threat.
After the introductions of new group members, Geoff invited everyone to share their experience of meditation since the course had started. There wasn’t any compulsory “homework”, but Geoff had been encouraging people to meditate for at least ten minutes a day. I had been doing that most days, and more.
I kept my mouth shut. I wasn’t going to bring up any of the weird stuff that I had been experiencing. No way.
I didn’t have to.
Jane, the plump student from the first meditation class, raised a hand. Like some overweight people, she had a smooth baby face, and this, combined with her diminutive height made her look no more than about 14 years old.
“I’ve been having some strange things happening when I meditate,” she said in her squeaky, Minnie Mouse voice. “I see all kinds of stuff in my mind. I think I might be psychic.”
Paul leaned over to me again. “What do you know? A psychic munchkin.”
“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” I returned.
Paul suppressed a laugh. I was hoping like Hell that no one else had heard us. The last thing I wanted was to be kicked out of a counseling centre meditation group for being an intolerant, sexist pig. It wouldn’t look good on my uni transcript.
“What have you been experiencing?” Geoff asked, looking as calmly concerned as ever.
“I see… well I guess see and hear is a better way of putting it… um, things. There are words and sentences that come into my mind. Sometimes I see faces. I’m not sure who they are or what to make of it. Could it mean something?”
Nothing was going to make Geoff Masters lose his Buddha nature. “Possibly. Can you give us an example of something you heard?”
Jane looked slightly embarrassed. “Well, for example, in my meditation this morning the thought of coming along to this group came to me. I hadn’t decided whether to come back or not. Then suddenly in my mind I saw this room and all the people and everything, and on the back of the room on the wall there was one word written in bright green letters.”
“What word was that?” asked Geoff, leaning forward with genuine interest.
“The word was ‘Go’, Jane said flatly. “That’s all.”
“Go? And what do you make of that?” Geoff gently queried.
“Go on a diet”, Paul whispered as he leaned over to me again.
“Shut up!” I hissed between my teeth. What Jane was saying intrigued me. Maybe I wasn’t alone in being a complete freak after all.
Geoff glanced our way for a split second. I was sure he’d heard.
Jane just shrugged.
It was Amanda who offered an explanation. “Maybe it just meant for you to go along to this group today. Maybe you are just meant to be here for some reason.”
Geoff nodded. “Perhaps. The human psyche communicates to the conscious mind in all kinds of ways. If we don’t listen directly, it may use other means to attract our attention.”
Jane smiled. “Yeah. That makes sense.”
I found myself feeling a strong compassion for her. As I looked at her, my eyes relaxed, and I saw it. A flame-like light began to shimmer around her head, illuminating the dim space about her. And with that there came something else. It was as if the distance between us suddenly collapsed, and I felt something within her. Or was it within me? There it was, a dull, aching pain; the pain of rejection and abandonment. I could sense it, almost as if it was me. For just a moment that pain of filled my heart. And I knew exactly what it was. It was her father.
He was gone.