Before the age of seven, beyond a few vague sights which echo deep from within, I have no conscious recollection of life. I cannot express any aspect of this period, because I attain no recollection toward how I was or who I was. The only certainty is I was quiet in learning, happy in play, and enjoyed watching Thundercats.
Come the age of eight, I maintain vivid clarity of every year which has passed since. It was 1989; the year in which my parents separated, and the family home split into distant fragments. I view it as a metaphorical mirror, shattered into hundreds of shards and resting all over a dusty floor; everyone too jaded and disillusioned to collect the pieces, aware even if the mirror was glued back together - like a glass jigsaw puzzle, the cracks remain apparent for all to see, and the reflection showing a hundred distorted images of the same person; none of which a true representation of the eyes gazing back.
I am aware you cannot change the past, only the way in which we view it. To live in the wallowing self-pity of a time in which I lacked a maturity, power, or understanding to effect a situation driven by such emotional force, would be both regressive and pointless. Yet still, ever since this period, I have lived with a consistent grey cloud lingering above my head - created through arrested development, then developed through a form of arrested creation; at least, in an emotional sense.
It is the type of cloud you see on an overcast day, moments before the rain comes crashing down. Sometimes my cloud produces heavy rain, other days it grows almost black and produces thunderstorms. Now and again a small ray of sunshine peers behind it. On the rarest of occasion, the cloud allows the sun to bask in the rays of its full spherical glory. Most days, it is simply a melancholic, passively dissociated cloud; probably missing all the other clouds - and wondering who they protect.
Sometimes I am angry and shout frustrated expletives at it - wishing he would take a leave of eternity. Other days I embrace it - thanking him for protecting me from mans ruthless nature, and natures ruthless man. The majority of the time, I simply hide the cloud from everybody, beyond the select few I gauge enough trust to allow to stand underneath it beside me. It is almost like my cloud affords me a paradox, in that I am only ever happy, if I feel somewhat sad. It is not the way many people would wish to live their lives, which is understandable. But for me - much like an inability to stop thinking, I just do not know any other way.
So I embrace my grey cloud; he is my friend. He reminds me I am human, mortal, fragile, and oversensitive to every last aspect of life which flows around humanity. I have tried to thicken the skin, darken the soul, switch off, stop caring, and just turn the heart down to a silent, placid humming sound - but I can't do it, I don't have it in me to stop feeling. I go back to being eight years old, I believe I wanted to understand, but could only do so through my own emotion. There were feelings flying all over the place, so I constructed a grey fluffy pillow above my head. A misunderstood place where I could grow deep in emotion, rich in personal empathy, and strong in fighting the often hollow nature of conditioned existence from affecting my mind, body, and soul.
And now, many years later, the cloud once designed by a small boy; to protect myself from other people. It now protects other people from myself - and I am struggling to find a balance... I really should have built a robot buddy instead.