The Epic of John Gilgesh (Chapter 1: part 1)

If we are to rightly honor the life and work of John Gilgesh, and also those of his contemporaries—his friends—we owe it to them, and to those of you who will read about their magnificent exploits—and it would not be untruthful, to call them sublime exploits, considering the circumstances in which they occurred—if we are to rightly honor them, we must write boldly without fear, and if possible, also with reverential love, for indeed, that is exactly how they lived, and how they offered themselves to their Creator.

Yes, we knowingly wrote the word ‘Creator’. We first considered using a less controversial phrase like, ‘higher self’ or ‘cosmic life force’ out of instinct—almost without thinking—in hopes of reaching the widest audience by causing the least offense. But this would be impossible, not because of any ideological or religious reasons, but because the life of man, this man in particular, along with his cohorts, is inextricably bound up with the concept of a Creator, and nothing which follows will make any sense at all, if we are to remove the dual concepts of a Creator and His creation, and substitute these with different concepts such as  higher or terrestrial powers.

We must apologize, for it truly wasn’t our intention to delve into such controversies so early into our story—before we’ve even begun to tell it—but words, as you will shortly come to see, play a very important role in the life of John Gilgesh; so, for the integrity of the telling, and to be true to our subject matter, we must choose the most accurate and honest words in the unfolding of our epic. Perhaps, we have already alienated a few of you because of this, and you will not be continuing along with us on our journey. Well, be that as it may, we wish you every blessing and we certainly bear you no ill will; and we hope you feel the same. But now it is time to press onward—to forge ahead—because time is short in a sense, because there is so very much to tell, and so many details to share with you about the life of John Gilgesh, his friends, and about the movement which they initiated.

Here again, we must take a quick detour, because you may have heard others who’ve made erroneous claims that Gilgesh sought to create a utopia—a foolish notion—or that he was the charismatic leader of an esoteric cult—an inane assertion—but nothing could be further from the truth. So it is worth taking a moment to utterly dispel such rubbish right from the outset before continuing. Many of these claims have been made by those who didn’t know the man, as is typically the case. In the instance of the extensive, and ultimately derogatory, commentaries made by Victor Fragmore regarding the time he spent with Gilgesh, as a founding member of the movement—or community, if one wishes to call it that—much more will be discussed about these at the appropriate time in the future. For now, suffice it to say that he was of a distinctly different temperament from his colleagues, and the inner workings of his heart made it impossible for him to perceive events accurately, or to understand others sympathetically.

Now, to begin our story, we will be going back to the very beginning, we must do so because John’s parents, and the times into which he was born, play such an important role—as must always be the case—in his development, and what he would eventually create. It was not long after his birth, several days more or less, while his mother was still recovering in the hospital from what had been a difficult trial, when the doctor and nurse who had been overseeing the newborn boy’s progress, came to some startling conclusions, which they reluctantly made known to his mother and father late one afternoon. Mary Gilgesh was propped up in bed, sipping her tea and looking dejectedly at the untouched tray of food on the table beside her; her husband, Anton, was sitting nearby, and with his warm, sonorous baritone voice, he was attempting to persuade his wife to eat a little something to help speed along her recovery. When a small knock was heard upon the door, preceding the hasty entrance of Dr. Masch and his assistant, nurse Neiblom. Dr. Masch was a rotund man, balding, and with a reddish complexion prone to perspiration, particularly when he became nervous or agitated, as was currently the case. Standing at the foot of the bed, he looked Mrs. Gilgesh in the eyes momentarily, before losing his nerve and turning to face Mr. Gilgesh. Anton looked benevolently back at him and raised his eyebrows in expectation; and he smiled kindly, in an attempt to put the good doctor at ease. Nurse Neiblom nudged the doctor in the side with her elbow to help move things along.

“Yes, well, of course,” Dr. Masch began haltingly. “Yes, it seems, your son. Well, yes of course, he’s getting stronger, he’s looking very strong indeed, isn’t he, Nurse Neiblom?” She nodded encouragingly, and he took her cue and began nodding as well. He smiled cautiously and drew his right hand across his brow to remove the sweat which had accumulated there, before continuing: “Yes, by all appearances he looks quite normal. I mean, physically he is coming along very nicely. It’s just that, well, of course, there’s the mental side of things also, isn’t there?” Anton sat forward in his chair and Mary shifted the pillow that was behind her, and they looked at one another quizzically and then back towards the doctor, who proceeded: “Look. There’s just no good way to say this, so I’m just going to come out with it.” Dr. Masch glanced out the window, through which a golden light was streaming, casting shadows of the panes and curtains upon the wall behind Mary, and sinking Anton into a darkened silhouette. “Your son is retarded. I mean, mentally retarded. Yes, that’s it. Of course, he’s very healthy you know. Very healthy, but…you see, he just doesn’t respond to us. Well, he doesn’t respond to much of anything, does he Nurse Neiblom? No, he doesn’t. He’s in his own world, you see, one can observe this in his eyes, they are vacant. They don’t focus upon anything, like a normal baby would, you understand.” The room fell silent for several moments, as the four occupants each digested this information in their own way.

Nurse Neiblom offered a sympathetic look towards Mary and Dr. Masch hastily continued, “I’m sure you both need some time to think over what I’ve just said. I’m sure it comes as quite a shock, especially given that you both are, well, you’re both university professors, isn’t that correct? Yes, of course, so how does something like this come about? To two intelligent…such a couple as yourselves, how do you have a child like this? Genetics, so many factors at play. Please don’t blame yourselves, no not at all, there’s nothing you could have done.” He wiped his brow again, and then concluded: “You don’t need to worry. We have good places, very good places that can take care of him. You just rest now, and let us know if you need anything. We’ll know much more in the coming weeks; we really don’t know the extent of it all yet. I’m sorry. I’m very sorry.” Dr. Masch turned quickly and walked out of the room, before Anton or Mary could formulate a response. Nurse Neiblom quickly followed the doctor out, leaving the young couple in stunned silence.

(to be continued)

~FS

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