"They're cheering for you" my mother stated sweetly "thousands of people, and they are all here for you"
I didn't care about that though. I could hear the roar of nearly 20,000 fans but it was dull compared to the voices in my head. I wasn't nervous. I wasn't even excited. I was here. I was calm.
I was ready. The voices had taken me this far, they would bring me through this night as well.
It was 6 weeks ago when I first heard them, the voices, like thunder between my ears. I had been at rock bottom, maybe even below the bottom.
Hunched in my own closet, pill bottle in hand, ready to finally end this cruel life, they stopped me. They spoke to me. They brought me here. They would take me where they wanted me.
As far as I was concerned, whatever life I have left, I owe to them anyway.
In a way, its hard to connect the dots of these last few weeks Its hard to believe that suicidal young man was me, hunched over in my closet, ready to finally give in.
My father had died, my girlfriend had left me, our house was one month from being forclosed upon, death seemed like the only option. Like a sweet escape from this cruel world.
But "they" wouldn't let me.
More than just something you hear, I could feel them in the core of my being.
Thunderous voices I had either created out of my own psychosis or had travelled the galaxy to find me, it didn't matter. This life was theirs now.
I remember the feeling, throwing the pill bottle across the floor and yelling "Fine! Its your life now, do with it what you will" and I gave up. I gave in.
I allowed them to have their way, and six weeks later, here we are. The voices, my Mother, and Me. Us... and 20,000 screaming fans of course.
The first thing the voices did, after i had allowed them access to my life, was to write through me.
They filled page after page with my hands, pages upon pages of esoteric nonsense that i still don't understand.
They filled nearly an entire notebook with equations and terms I had never heard before. On the last page however, they wrote a simple poem, and then beckoned me, no.... commanded me.... to sing.
"I dont sing" I replied snarkely "if you want singing, your gonna have to do it yourselves"!
And sing they did. I could feel the vibration of my vocal chords, I could hear the sounds coming out of my own lungs, but it wasn't me. It wasn't even my words.
"One last thing" they beckoned me "post it online"
So i did. i was suicidal. I was at the end. Somehow, allowing the voices to have their way with me was the only option left. So i made a simple video, with no introduction, and posted it online.
"Good" the voices celebrated my small success, or rather, their small success. "Now sleep" And sleep is exactly what happened next.
I remember the dream i had that night vividly. It was simple, but the feeling and imagery are still deeply with me. My father and I were silently walking down a long fishing dock, holding hands.
Neither of us ever spoke but occasionally I would look up at him and he would just smile back at me. And with each smile, my world became more and more at peace. I felt safe.
I felt more love than i had ever felt before. More than that, with each smile, I felt at home. I felt like I was finally home.
The emotion of the dream carried me through the next few days, which were monumentous. I had awakened to over 13,000 views on my video and countless comments and shares.
I also awoke to the voices. They wouldn't let me read the comments, they wouldn't let me reply to anyone, even my now ex-girlfriend, who was one of the first to comment.
Somehow the calming emotion of the dream kept me at peace though.
"What shall i do" I replied to the voices, but somehow i already knew.
They had me go into the attic where we still kept my fathers things. On top of the pile was an old guitar case. My father loved this guitar.
He had tried to teach me when I was younger but I never seemed to get it. Maybe the voices were going to teach me now. If so, I would let them.
Apparently they didn't know how to play guitar either because they guided me to youtube saying that I needed to learn just three chords.
As I was looking for the right tutorial I couldn't help but notice that the video i posted now had over 50k views and was officially "viral" but I stayed the course.
I found a simple tutorial and learned three chords, and then under the advisement of the voices I practiced them well into the night.
My fingers would ache and they would allow me only seconds at a time to stretch them before lovingly but authoritatively stating one single word "practice".
Eventually the voices were satisfied. They had me post one more video of me singing the poem they had written, this time with simple guitar behind it, and then they let me sleep.
I dreamt again, the same dream as the night before. My father and I just walking down this old fishing dock.
I kept glancing up and each time i did, i was met with a smile that would bring a peace to my soul I had never before experienced.
When i awoke on this second day, which was a school day, they had me do one thing. The voices had me go to the third email in my inbox and reply one simlle word, "yes".
School was a blur of activity, everywhere I went the students crowded around me, asking me questions, and trying to get my attention.
"I didn't know you sang" was a regular question of which I always replied "I didn't either"
I wanna say it felt good, all this attention, but a part of me knew it was misplaced.
My classmates and teachers were praising me, but I was not the one responsible for the vidoes or the singing, the voices were.
At one point I heard a girl who was pointing at me whisper to her friend "over a million shares in one night"
"A million, huh?" I thought to myself.
For a brief moment anxiety took control but I was instantly transported back to the dock where one smile from my father brought me back to much needed peace.
As I stepped onto the bus I usually took to get home there was an eruption of applause. I immediately got off that bus and decided it would be better to walk.
Afterall, It was only about ten blocks and would provide some much needed quiet.
As I walked, I could feel as if I were still in the dream. I could feel my fathers hand in mine. I felt at peace, at home, and more than that, I felt truly and completely loved.
So much so that I barely noticed the Mercedez parked in the driveway of our small suburban home.
"Son" my mother excitedly welcomed me in "this is Mr...."
"Dan" replied a well dressed man sitting at the dining room table. "Call me Dan"
"Dan has offered to...." She spoke again before the voices made me cut her off.
"Yes" I replied.
The voices had me reply "Yes" but I didn't even know what I was replying to. Apparently it was to this concert, this performance of one song, in exchange for Dan bringing our mortgage upto date.
My mother began to cry tears of joy. I am not sure if it was me, or the voices, or maybe us together that held her.
We held her right there in front of Dan for as long as it would take for the stream of tears to cease. We asked her to handle the details and told her we were tired and needed to sleep.
We briefly thanked Dan and went to bed.
The screams of 20,000 people in a stadium are an odd thing. You can hear every voice and not a single voice at the same time.
The thunderous sound was almost loud enough to block the voices in my head, but they couldn't block the feeling.
Every time i closed my eyes i was back with my Father at that same dock, his smile bringing me instantly back to a deep, loving peace.
"It's time now" my mother whispered into my ear. "You got this"
I still hadn't told her, or anyone for that matter, about the voices. About how all of this praise was misplaced.
They thought i was a singer? They thought I played guitar? Ha! But I wouldn't let the voices down. I wouldn't let my father down.
I would let them use my body like they had before, and if the fans didn't love it, that was on them. It wouldn't be my fault anyway. I was just the vessel for whatever was about to come.
I stepped onto the stage to a deafening roar. I picked up my fathers old guitar which had been freshly restrung and tuned by some unseen stage hand.
As I stepped up to the mic the venue went silent. If you've never heard the sound of 20,000 people in quiet anticipation, it is almost louder than their applause.
I closed my eyes one last time. I looked up to my father and I believe even my physical body whispered the words "This one's for you Dad"
And then I played, and I sang, and the tears from 20,000 pairs of eyes flooded the ground of the old stadium. When I came to the second chorus, every voice joined in.
The sweet vibrations of thousands of voices singing in harmony filled the old stadium, lifting the very roof to the heavens.
When I was done there was silence, deafening silence for what seemed like an eternity. For the second moment since all this began I felt an anxiety.
I turned to put my fathers guitar back on its stand and the audience must have taken this as the cue they needed because the eruption of applause was so loud I felt I would explode.
My head pounded with the cheering and clapping of 20,000 fans. I could feel the millions more who were watching from the live stream at home.
It felt as if the very fabric of earth had been altered some how. I felt emmense terror.
But then I looked to the side of the stage and saw the face of my Father, hand out stretched, smiling at me.
I finished placing the guitar down and put my hand in his loving, firm grip, and together, we left the stadium, we left the crowd, to walk endlessly down the old fishing dock.
To be eternally wrapped in the everpresent peace of...
My Fathers Smile.