Vancouver. A Love Story, A Tragedy, A Sonnet. Part Two : No Pain, No Gain.

The feeling of helplessness that filled the later part of 1999 was suspended by the kindness of the fellow travellers that I met in Kitsilano and the burgeoning friendships I made with a group of people from Point Grey and Kitsilano. The then occupants of West 10th and Macdonald (in 1999 the house was two separate flats, an upstairs and downstairs) became my closest allies by the end of 1999. It’s hard for me to recall most of that year after I arrived in Vancouver. I bounced from Sue’s place to live in a van in the back of a property in Kitsilano for several months, living with two Australians and a Canadian (there was some reluctance for me to be there from some of the people at the house, this would become a factor in a couple of my living experiences in Vancouver). The kindness of one Benny Bogus, an Australian from Victoria shall never be forgotten. He like Sue, with open arms, invited me into his home, allowed me to find another new start, and introduced me to his friends Duncan and Melissa both New Zealanders who also opened their doors and hearts to me as I left Sue’s nest.

My work and connection with Suzanne were keeping my head above the water, she was counselling me with her humour, patience, and insightfulness. Coaxing me to feel more comfortable in my surroundings as I began to meet more people, cementing some stronger connections with the Kitsilano crews of travellers and the Wst10/Macdonald household. It was here that I was introduced to what would become the bane and the construct of my daily dependency for most of 2001/2002. Cocaine. My friendship with Jen and Eryn began to flourish, attracting those who knew them within the circle of friends that came to Nevermind, and the social scene in Kitsilano. We spent many a night connecting over red wine, joints and our good friend ‘blow’. The circle grew in size, the flatmates from upstairs often joining us. My flatmates from where I was living sometimes too, and Charlie and Melissa sometimes graced us with their presence. Of the upstairs flatmates, Owen, Corey, and his sister Hayley became allies, and our conversations became deeply esoteric, orientated around spiritual subjects, personal growth, and conspiracy.

In this mix of working, socialising, and creating a foundation for myself in a new paradigm I met Peter Tulloch and Sally Gray, both from Wellington, New Zealand. Sally would come and work with me for Suzanne for almost a year, and I would occasionally work with Pete building. So it was for me in 1999/2000, I became homeless yet again when my housemates moved back to Australia, and my hand was forced again to look for accommodation. It was the generosity of Pete and Sally to allow me to sleep on a couch in their apartment for months that allowed me to stay in Kitsilano, and keep up appearances, just up the road in the downstairs flat on Wst10/Macdonald most nights for deep conversation, drug and booze induced hedonism and eventually an ‘in’ into the house where I spent most of my spare time. I felt completely ungrounded for almost a year in Vancouver. I flittered from space to space, never having a room until one of my housemates moved out, and moved back to Australia, giving me her room in mid-2000. I felt often ‘unwelcome’ in the various locations I stayed at. There was always someone that didn’t want me there living with them. It was never about me, but there was an uneasiness, even when we appeared to get beyond this aspect that stayed with me, a sense of discomfort that lingered from my childhood trauma. Somewhere during this rigmarole, I met Melanie Majarech.

Several women have been in my life that changed me for the better. These women were catalysts for the best and worst I could be in the moments I was with them. Triggering in me my deepest wounds, and greatest attributes of the man I was then. It’s a cliche, but had I known what I know now, and been the man I am now when I was with Melanie, then I would have been so fearless, so relentless in my quest to acknowledge just how wondrous she was. I’ve not known a woman with a bigger heart, whose spirit elevated all who she met, and whose beauty was unparalleled, timeless, and pervasive. Before coming to Vancouver, I had lived my life with a sense of bravado that was unashamedly egotistical. I had an air about me with women that were cheeky, playful, and often strikingly forward. I would come onto women without fear of rejection, it didn’t trouble me, and rejection was rare when I read a situation correctly, perceiving mutual interest. One night I had left home to go to the local service station to grab a bar of chocolate and after purchasing it was walking out when Melanie walked in as I walked out. I was stunned. Tall, dark, exotic, athletic, with eyes that radiated an innocence, but also a deep recognition of what it is to be alive, she could have easily come from an age long since lost to the modern age. We smiled at each other and I quickly looked around for something to give to her. An acknowledgment of my adoration, without the tainting of ego. There was a flower bed close to the street and I picked a flower and ran back into the service station and gave it to her, my heart stammering in my chest. To which she said, ‘What? no phone number?’ 

I lived in fear for most of my life when it came to relationships. My childhood parental bonding was a nightmare that I would not want anyone to experience. My father’s Jekyll and Hyde alcoholic behaviour destroyed all trust in all relationships. I approached all connections with caution, my resonance projected ‘victim’ from childhood and so I was bullied, beaten, and ostracised constantly by those who I wanted to be close to. It would take monumental shifts in consciousness (as a child) to create sound friendships, but those often came at a price. I was bullied all through school (my tormentors became my closest allies after they realised my plight at home during my earliest school years) and was bullied as I attempted to ‘fit in’ in my secondary schooling (first year), but I also turned that around, my tormentors becoming my closest allies. However, to me intimate relationships were terrifying. I would sabotage connections with women by any means as they got closer to me, their authenticity was overwhelming to me, too real. I didn’t have the tools to make good on their gifts of themselves, their vulnerabilities, and their honesty. So it was with Melanie. The hydra of fear rose its head, and through a callous and dreadful series of events, I killed the germinating seed inside of me that was my ‘happily moving forward.’ There was no fairy tale here, just an ugly and despondent acceptance that I was unable to be the man she needed me to be. This would be the first tragedy of my time in Vancouver. Its repercussions sent me into drug addiction and subjugation of the pain that I had run away from in 1997 when I left the country of my birth. It also opened the door for an endless stream of beautiful women who I gave myself to intimately but with hard boundaries around my depth of emotional connection. Some would test that, and trauma bonding became known to me for the first time.

Melanie and I circa 23/09/2000… In my life… I loved you more…

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