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  • Writer's pictureStefan Neff

From Zero To Hero Chapter 17

Escape To The Promise Land

Life had started to become much better since I could focus on my family life. We got remarried and travelled to Japan for a winter holiday. I had some fears creep up, but overall my mind was much clearer than before. When we went to Japan, I was enjoying the vacation

immensely, until a moment of darkness arose within me.

I didn’t have much money in my pocket to buy much but hid some money away for beer and cigarettes. One day I decided that I needed a haircut, so I asked if she could give me some money to go get one. I started to walk and when I arrived and finished the haircut I noticed that I forgot to get the money from her. I paid for it with the money that I was saving for myself. I thought that was OK and she would forget that she never gave me money. When I came back to her family home she was waiting for me and asked right away “How did you pay for the haircut?” She thought that I had no money, and when I told her, she blew up like a volcano. Smoke was coming out of her ears, she called me a liar and thief. “How could you be so selfish and ask me for money but keep your own money for yourself?” I couldn’t stand the abuse so I left into a flurry of self-righteous indignation.

I left the house and started to walk towards the mountains in the distance. Every step I took seemed like a step towards emptiness. I don’t remember how long I was walking, but it was hours and hours as I wallowed in my pain.

My feet started to get so sore and I knew that I couldn’t walk very much further without stopping. I saw the mountains coming closer by the minute. I took this road on a path towards nothingness but somewhere, I knew that I had to continue without stopping.

I saw something in the distance moving, I started to panic with fear. “What is it?” I said to myself as I came closer and closer. They were wind monkeys. I was so scared my body froze up stiff as a board. Luckily a postman drove up on his little scooter. I waved him down and asked him in my broken English if the monkeys were OK or would they hurt me. He said OK, OK, not hurt you.

I got much closer and sat down to watch them. I noticed that they were harmless creatures, only living in harmony with nature. I want to go beyond this point but was still afraid of what might happen to me. I got enough courage to move right past them, walking two feet away from them not making any eye contact at all. Wow! I couldn’t believe that I did it, and off I went to where I didn’t know, but I was going somewhere.

Without a destination or purpose, I wasn’t thinking of anything except escaping my life. I got to the end of the road and what I found was absolutely amazing. I found a Buddhist monastery. “Wow,” I thought to myself, “What a mind blowing experience that was.” I looked around for a bit and was so curious, I knocked on the door, wondering who was on the other side. A woman answered the door, with a perfect smile, dressed in a Buddhist close. I had never met a monk before, so I wanted to know more and more about who she was. I didn’t speak Japanese nor did she speak English, but for some reason we could communicate

without speaking much.

I did a Buddhist prayer while I was there, and suddenly a calming effect came over my body at that very point of my life where I needed it the most. I started to walk back to where I knew there was going to be pain, but for some reason this didn’t bother me anymore. I had nowhere to go except back to her house.

As I approached her home I realized that I had been gone for at least twelve hours. I had to talk about where I went and why, until my eyes got so tired. My whole body ached and my feet were all blistered up. All I wanted to do was sleep. I told her to just let me rest and we could talk about it in the morning.

Well, the next day, we talked about it all day long, with her sister and her mother. They couldn’t understand my feeling even a little bit. They saw me as a man that had hurt them all by not being a real man.

They demanded that I step up and do the right thing. I said yes to all their demands and much more. Was this going to be just another lie falling out of my mouth on once again, or had I changed? Only time would tell. The rest of the trip I had to be on my best behavior and not miss a beat.

The holiday was coming although to me, the holiday was without meaning, all that happened was I knew that I needed to learn how to escape much better than before. Time to get a better plan of lying without getting caught. I had to make a video stating what I was going to do how I was going to it. Also I had to write a promissory letter stating all that I needed to do in order for me to be part of the family again. I felt doomed to repeat my past failings.

I will share in the Next Chapter, how my wife died in my arms...

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