This is some of what I have learnt about my original name, a topic I began discussing on Darklords thread
What's in a name? A Lot.
Thanks to Darklord and Glitch88 for being interested in the subject.
I have decided to file it under the short story board just to avoid any controversy. If you don't believe it, then think of it as a story. If you
do believe, then you are welcome to contact me for further information. This was just the start of what I call my real spiritual journey. I had
followed many different paths before this, but had discounted much of what I had learned previously as I had learnt new ideas and theories.
I think that's the core idea of my own journey. It's not what you can learn. Anybody can learn new theories. It's what you already know that's
It has been ten years since I abandoned my spiritual journey. Ten years where every day I have thought of what might have been. Ten long years were
every day I have wanted to continue where I had left off.
Beginning to document this part of my life has proven troublesome. At what part did it begin? Looking back I can see subtle hints and signs long
before I had embarked on that journey.
I had been travelling thru Romania with Laila, an old friend I had met in Sydney, Australia when I had first moved over from New Zealand.
It was our final days in Romania, we had retuned to Bucharest to travel home to Australia. We had split up for the day, Laila to go to the markets,
myself to stay in bed and sleep off a flu I had picked up. We had decided to treat ourselves after months of living out of tents and backpackers, so
were staying in a hotel close to the city. Around mid afternoon the desk attendant knocked heavily on my door. “Sir, you have a telephone call”
he announced. I slowly climbed out of bed and made my way down to the lobby, where an impatient looking man was holding the telephone out to me.
Before I could even finish saying hello Laila interrupted me.
“I met a woman”
“That's good. Isn't it?” Something in his voice told me otherwise.
“She says she knows you. She says she knows who you are.”
“What?” The pounding in my head stopped my brain from thinking.
“She came up to me at the market, and wanted to talk to me. She was drunk I think.”
“She knows you dude.”
“She wanted to see pictures and I showed her the one you gave me before we left”
I was dumbfounded. Before we had left I had given her a picture of us together on Bondi Beach. On the back I had written: Laila, I hope you find
what you're looking for. Best wishes Shane
. I did not know if we were going to travel all this time together so I had decided to give her
something in case I didn't see her again.
Now that same photo was being held by an old woman who claimed she knew me?
“Laila, are you okay?”
“I'm fine. She's a nice woman. I thought I was going to be killed or something but she's really nice – like a mother.” The sparkle in her
voice seemed to glow.
“She wants you to come. She said that you should come.”
“What? Go where?”
“She didn't say. Shane, I'm okay. I'm going to stay here for a few hours then come back to the hotel. She gave me an address and told me to
give it to you.”
She squealed over the phone. “Doesn't it sound exciting?”
The pounding in my head told me otherwise.
I spent the rest of the day waiting for Laila to return, watching old Russian television shows on the bar downstairs. I didn't have the stomach to
have a drink, so instead drank mineral water.
Around five thirty Laila exploded into the bar, dragging her shopping with her
“I've been thinking about her all the time!” She giggled. “Much too old for you though!” A thin smirk trailed it's way across one side of
“Show me what she gave you.” I asked, impatient from the long wait and even longer television shows I could not understand.
Rummaging thru her purse, she pulled out a torn piece of butcher paper. “Here it is. Madam Vasile, apartment 12, 45 Povernei, District 1.” Her
eyebrows furrowed in concentration. “She said it was over the other side of the markets.”
“Thanks.” I held the stained paper in my hands. “So what happened?”
“Well, she came up to me and asked if I was a traveller, and I said I was.” Her words jumbled out quickly, tripping over each other in their
haste to get out.
“She wanted to know if I had a photo she could see. Just like that. I didn't think I did but remembered the one you gave me was in my wallet, so
I let her see it.”
“She pointed at you and just smiled!” Laila adopted a thick Russian accent. “She said -This one should come and see me
- Just like that!
You should go Shane!” Her voice had risen several levels since beginning her tale. “Way too old for you don't worry,” Laila giggled. “I
told her you would go there tonight.”
“Why did you say that?”
“Well you're always going on about finding yourself and all that stuff, so why don't you take a chance and find out? It was so weird you have to
After much debating and several protests by me, I couldn't believe I was doing this. Trudging thru the snow with my hands in my jacket, my head was
still pounding and my legs felt weak. I had been following my own spiritual journey for a few years now, but this was something I did not foresee
The apartment block was run down, a style the eastern Europeans had perfected during the many years they had spent under Soviet control. The door to
the entrance had no doorknob, just a splintered hole were somebody had long ago prised the brass handles off.
The hallway stank of cabbage and vodka. Dim stains coated the bare concrete walls and the solitary light-bulb that had once lit the hallway was
missing. Wooden banisters rotted in their foundations, offering only an illusion of safety to the people who would grip them while descending the
well-worn stairs. Everything of value had been removed. Everything that was breakable had been smashed. Yet still people remained, locked behind
their doors in stern defiance of the wreckage that seemed to have spread thru the apartment block. I had just enough light to read the faded numbers
painted on the doors as I passed. Outside apartment 12, I stopped. From inside I could hear movement, slow and deliberate. Music floated under the
door mingled with an old woman's voice singing along to the slow mournful Russian song.