When summer arrived I got the best surprise when my mother tells me that she will be coming to visit for my 40th birthday. I hadn’t seen her in over 7 years and the thought of finally seeing her again was overwhelming. We had stayed in touch on a regular basis ever since my step-dad had passed but I had not seen her face since I had left. One thing that was gnawing at the back of my head was something I used to say to people when I was in my hard partying days. I was the first to start and last to quit kind of party animal and as such people would quite regularly tell me to slow down, when this would happen I would have my standard response ready, saying that ‘I would be dead by 40 and that I would slow down then’. I had not thought about that for many years but now as I approached my 40th birthday I had a strange sensation that maybe I had sent that message out so many times that the universe had set it up so that I would get my wish. I certainly had no desire to drop dead now so I tried not to dwell on it, but it was there in the back of my mind just the same. I figured that if I keep up the good healthy living then I would have no worries about health, however a big change was coming soon.
I had been a vegetarian for over 5 years and for most of that time I had felt no real urges to eat meat but recently I had been having real cravings for it. When I quit eating meat it was for ethical reasons as at the time I was reading a lot of spiritual information and I felt it was somehow wrong. My reading progressed through the religious books to philosophical and scientific works and over the past year I had been reading a lot about quantum physics. When I learned that everything is the same at the quantum level, the meat-eating part of my brain got back into the conversation. I reasoned that the apple and the pig were basically the same at the smallest level and as such it did not matter which of them I ate, I felt the vegetarian in me starting to slip. Every time I would smell someone cooking meat I would instantly start salivating and lose myself in daydreams about eating some myself. It came to a head one day as I was riding through the park and smelled the wonderful smell of BBQ. The cravings were so strong that I had to fight my own brain as it told me to ride over and grab a piece, then ride off before they could catch me. When I did finally make it out of the park without stealing from anyone, I knew it was time. If I was contemplating stealing because the urge was so strong, then I needed to get me some meat and fast. On the ride home I picked up a couple of burgers from the store and got ready for my first taste of meat in over 5 years. I had been told on several occasions over the years of being a vegetarian that if I went back to meat after not having it for so long, then my body would reject it and I would get very sick. I felt a bit of trepidation as I took my first bite but it was so good that I forgot about anything else and devoured the burgers in minutes. I never felt the slightest twinge of my body trying to reject anything, instead I had the most relaxed and satisfied feeling I could have hoped for, it was safe to say that my vegetarian experiment was over and I was once again a carnivore.
On the day my mom arrived it was hard to keep my excitement inside, I couldn’t wait to give her a big hug and kiss. She would be coming with her sister, my aunt Peg. They were very close and inseparable when it came to vacations, it would also give my mom someone to hang out with when I was working. They were staying in a posh hotel in the Leidseplien called the American, it was one of the fancier hotels in town. When I entered the lobby I heard the familiar voice from my youth and turned to see my mom and aunt Peg standing there. It’s hard to find the words to describe the feeling of hugging my mom after so long, but it was certainly long overdue. They would be in town for 10 days and we would try to do as much as possible in that time. Unfortunately the weather in Amsterdam was not in a co-operating mood. Even though it was the middle of August, the weather was cold and rainy for most of the time. The ladies liked to partake in spirits so needless to say we spent most of the time in bars. My mom had never smoked cannabis, but as she was a tobacco smoker, she had not been too critical of my smoking. I tried to offer her my joint a few times but she just laughed and said ‘no way’. One night after spending several hours in the Nes, the girls were fairly drunk and I put them in a taxi back to the hotel. Upon arriving they both looked at each other and said they were starving so they went up the street and had pizza and ice cream. as they told me this story the next day it dawned on me that they had been stoned. Although they had not smoked any cannabis directly, being in the Nes ( which was also a coffee-shop ) and breathing in cannabis smoke for hours had the effect of a passive high. They said it was the best pizza and ice cream they’d ever had.
My birthday was one I will remember always with a smile, especially in how much of a 180 it was from my 30th as I sat in a jail cell. We spent the day bar-hopping our way down to the Nes where we would meet up with Frans, his lady Miriam, along with Frans’ brother Peter and his lady Sylvana, and we would all go out to a nice dinner. On the walk there I got a pleasant surprise when my phone rings and it’s my brother with a birthday wish, it was nice to hear from him and it felt good that we were back on brotherly terms. Since I had just recently started enjoying the taste sensation of meat again, there was only one choice for me when it came to a birthday dinner, steak and lobster. We went to a fancy restaurant and my taste buds were not disappointed, the meal was divine. I had been using an alias with a different first name ever since arriving in Amsterdam and it had been no problem to this point. I had been very open about my case as I was not ashamed about being a weed fugitive but I had kept my real name closely guarded. I knew it would be difficult for the ladies to not call me by my real name so I told them if it did happen then just keep talking and perhaps no one will notice. Well as we are sitting around the table after dinner and my aunt is telling a story about long ago, she refers to me by my real name, but instead of following through with the story she pauses, looks anxious and says she meant my other name. The whole table perks up and looks at me with the look of ‘now we know’. I didn’t mind too much as these were my good friends and I had nothing to fear from them so I stopped the conversation and confirmed my real name. It was the first time I had said it out loud for over 7 years and it felt very strange, we had a laugh about it and then I swore them all to secrecy to which they all agreed. The night ended with a few drinks back down at the Nes, one of the best birthdays I have ever lived and I will never forget it. A few days later my mom was heading back home and I felt a jolt of sadness when we hugged for the last time. It was very special to get to see her again and I felt our bond was stronger than it had ever been but I wondered if this might be the last time I get to hold her and I didn’t want to let go. I think she felt it too because she held on for just as long. I had my first ever feeling of maybe giving it all up and heading back to get it over with but those thoughts would all evaporate the day tragedy visited my door
A Continuing Story About Life On The Run