Memory Motel: A Rock And Roll Fantasy, Part Two Section 3: Escalator to Heaven
Part Two: Three Years Later
It had been days and days of hell and the hallucinations were fading into dreams and dreams into hallucinations and nothing was other, nothing made Phillip believe that what was happening to him was in any sense supernatural, nothing from other universes or dimensions, till very very near the end, very near the place where he broke the back of his addiction. At first he was just a very vivid dream –when you don’t dream for months on end, that is what tends to happen. Phillip was in a huge shopping mall, the biggest one he had ever been, it was a hugely open space, in all directions especially lengthwise that seemed to go on for miles and miles before reaching the glass building length wall staring out at a lush green parkland and somewhere very very far away he could hear the Rollings Stones, he knew they were rehearsing, the song stopped and started, for a moment he could hear Jagger sing “just around midnight” but then just Keith Richard chugging guitar and Bobby Keys horn, but maybe not, “I’m imagining this” he thought to himself. Phil was on an up escalator and the was no end so he could look around a floor it kept on going up even though the floors themselves seemed to be changing and suddenly he wasn’t alone. “Susan. Susan Joly, You were wondering what my name is, that’s my name. My slave name” she said with a laugh. “That’s what you were wondering, right.”
“Yes, right. Hi Susan.”
“Hi, we will be doing this together, not just us, us and lots of other people, but me at the After Math and you in the here and now and between us we are going to set things right, aren’t we?” Phillip opened his mouth as they kept on going forever upwards. She closed it, “Why? Why Hannah? Family is family, who else can you trust right? She loves and she needs you as well and this is just the way to put it together. But there is no real answer to the why? Because it’s a great idea, because laws are made to be broken, because now is the time, because it will be fun and we decided to do and with all the things we can do, this miracle is so small and so pure that when people hear about it, it will make them wonder. “
“It will make them wonder if we’ve all lost our minds” Phil said and he looked down for a moment and he couldn’t see the bottom, and he remembered where he had seen it before, the David Niven “Stairway To Heaven” movie. It had the same metallic glow about it, and, it was in black and white, actually had been in black and white, now it was in color and seemed to be all types of sliding mercury. It was both whole and liquid.
“Probably, you seem to have gone from the age of doubt to the age of disbelief. It doesn’t matter, matter. Some people will feel a great truth is happening. All the best things in heaven and earth are entirely for the sheer pleasure of having them happen. Even this moment here, Phillip. There was no reason for me to check in on you, I knew you’d make it, I know the man you are, and I knew you would come out alright. The thing about you is you made a terrible mistake and many people could have lived with it and you couldn’t and you have tortured yourself ever since….”
“She was eighteen, her life was just beginning.”
“It was and you have paid for it and now it has to restart itself, you know? Now you are needed, your skills are required and you only need to forgive yourself, Phil. It is a tiny step.”
Phil hung his head and he was back on that street corner in the early morning and with all the will he couldn’t take the bullet back and put it in his gun, couldn’t not squeeze the trigger, over and over again he pulled the trigger and over and over again Amelia the young girl fell to the floor and she would never ever stand up.
“I can’t, I can’t”. he said, his head hanging down. “We are too easy on ourselves, Susan. We think because our lives matter it is our responsibility to be happy, to make happiness our own and it isn’t. I don’t deserve it, I would kill myself only this is more painful. I can’t open my eyes without seeing the child, I can’t close them, I can’t shut it off and I don’t want to turn it off. This is the price I pay for my wreckless self-pity.
“I know you can’t”, Susan replied. “But you will one day, when the story is completed you’ll forgive yourself.” And she touched him on the cheek.