Monday, August 01, 2011

In Treatment. Or, Imagined Conversations with the Ex-Therapist.

- So, here I am. I’m back.

- Yes.

- …

- …

- … …

- …

- “Long pauses.”

- Pardon?

- Long pauses. That’s what you always used to say.

- Ah. Yes.

- It’s funny you should still say that. Because…

- Because…?

- Well, because, you see, ha-ha, I’m not here really. Not really-really. This is only my imagination, and therefore I should be able to make you say whatever I like.

- Yes.

- So why did you still say “long pauses”? It always used to really annoy me.

- Mmm. Although, actually, it wasn’t me, this time, who said “long pauses”. It was you.

- Oh. So it was. But it was only because you always used to say that. Do you remember? Do you, in fact, remember me at all?

- I expect I used to say it because you used to keep long pauses. And yes, yes I do.

- Okay. Well. That’s something, I suppose. And I used to keep long pauses because I didn’t want to talk to you, you see. No, wait. You can’t remember me. You’re not here either. You’re just a figment of my imagination.

- Yes.

- …! This isn’t really going anywhere, you know. I want you to say something else than bloody “yes”. You’re a figment of my imagination, now say things I want to hear.

- Well, as you keep pointing out, I’m only in your imagination, so you should be able to make me say just exactly what you like. Although I do think it would be more helpful if you said what you wanted to say yourself.

- Don’t be getting all bloody clever with me. I don’t like it. I felt real antipathy towards you, you know? You were sort of a cross between frumpy and dawdy and I resented that.

- Was it very important, then?

- Yes it was bloody important. You were a cross between frumpy and dawdy and I couldn’t make out how old you were, but not much older than me, and I couldn’t fathom why you were such a bloody success story, charging me a fortune to lie down on your couch and refuse to talk to you, while I was lying down there, a complete mess, trying to drink myself into oblivion, when I clearly was (in all my ugliness) way more sparky and stuff than you. And the worst was I couldn’t tell you that, no way.

- Yes. Why not?

- I have no bloody idea. Yes I do. Because, because it’s not nice to feel stuff like that, let alone say it.

- Nice?

- Yes you heard me, for fuck’s sakes. You’re not even here, you know, so no point pretending you have to check whether you heard me right. It’s not nice to draw direct comparisons between yourself and other people more balanced and successful than yourself, and make them in your own favour and feel like you’ve somehow been cheated out of something that this other person has undeservedly got.

- I see.

- God, this is a little bit tedious. I thought I’d really go places with this, you know. And it’s not. Going places.

- Mmmm. Well, it’s all up to you, isn’t it – you can make me say whatever you want, as you pointed out. Although I’d still say it’d be more helpful if you just fired away and said whatever you wanted.

- “Fired away”? Fired? Away? You would never have said such a thing.

- No, probably not. But that’s what you just made me say.

- So I could just make you cuss and swear and talk about how you envied me and stuff?

- This being your imagination, then yes of course. Would you want to?

- No. No. Not really, no.

- Not really? Is that really a no?

- Yes, yes it is. What would I gain from your bloody envy? Nothing at all. But God, I used to pay through the nose to see you, and as you know, quite a big portion of the fees – your fees – I had to cover from my own pocket. Your fees, you bastard. It cost me so much and not just money, it took my afternoons after work and I was exhausted and I had no time or energy for my kids, and I didn’t like what I was seeing, and I was totally wanky with my kids and the way they are now is totally my fault, and you should have helped me and you didn’t. You didn’t, you bastard. For all the money I paid you.

- Mmmm. Trouble is you never wanted to talk to me, though, did you?

- No I bloody well didn’t.

- Very difficult for me to help you, then. Particularly when the idea is that you do the talking. It’s meant to be work jointly undertaken. You didn’t expect me to say a magic word, did you?

- Well no, of course not. God, this is just like it was then. I want to be happy, you know, I want to go back and make myself happy then so I could be a better parent.

- A painful desire, to want to have been a better parent. What about being happy now?

- Well, I sort of am. Sort of.

- Ah. Well, that’s a good thing, surely?

- God, I’m not enjoying this anymore, at all. Yes yes yes, it’s a good thing, you frumpy-dawdy fuckwit. Don’t be praising yourself for it, though, it happened long after I left you.

- You left me.

- Yes I did, you bastard. I left you because I couldn’t afford you any longer, and I didn’t feel at all cured or anything, but I had to soldier on on my own and now I’m here, and don’t you be taking any credit for the place of self-honesty that I’ve reached. It hasn’t anything to do with you.

- No.

- So there.

- Yes.

- … !!

- You would have liked to continue with the work we were doing, then?


- So. Here I am. I’m back.

- Yes, I can see that.

- Only, I’m still not. It’s still just in my mind. I’m writing all this down. Just warning you.

- …

- God, couldn’t you just say something for once.

- What would you like me to say?

- Tell me I’m lovely. No, don’t.

- This is interesting. Did you want me to think you were lovely?

- NO. Yes. I don’t know.

- …

- I wanted you to love me, I suppose. I wasn’t going to love you, no way, you frumpy-dawdy so-and-so. No way. You know I could have had the Olde Europe dude, don’t you?

- Well, technically yes, I do, because I am a figment of your imagination and as such, share your knowledge. But no, as the person I was, I didn’t know that. How could I have? This isn’t something you wanted to discuss with me, and I had no access to the things you left entirely unsaid.

- Well I could. Have had the Olde Europe dude. I loved him, I was in love with him straightaway. I never wanted you. At all.

- Yet I’m the one you chose.

- No I bloody didn’t. I just let R influence me. I always held it against you.

- What a pity you never brought it up.

- I couldn’t. You wouldn’t have been able to handle my rejection of you, you poor dowdy weakling. I am the strongest thing in creation, I can handle everything. You would have buckled under the weight of my not wanting you.

- I see. That’s how you feel.

- Yes.

- …

- I’m going to go and pull my photos off my camera and onto my computer.


- Okay, I’m back here. Shut up. Don’t say a word. So I wanted you to love me and so I would have wanted to continue with “the work we’re doing”. Or the work we were doing, more like. So what? What are you trying to say? Shut UP, I told you already. You’re trying to make me say that I needed you like I need people when I get needy, even though you were frumpy-dowdy and I was angry at you for not being the Olde Europe dude. Aren’t you? Aren’t you? Shut up shut up shut up shut up SHUT UP.


- And besides, what does it matter if I say I needed you and felt abandoned when we stopped “the work we were doing”? You’re not here. It’s just me. I can say what I like.



Reading the Signs said...

Godammit, she has no right to keep reminding you that she is just in your imagination. Tell her to get stuffed, Sees - even if 'she' is just in your - er - no, hang on - I was just about to get myself stuffed too, that won't do at all.

It makes me sick that you didn't get European Dude. I wanted him too, you know, and what did I settle for? Shrink! Nuff said.

Anna MR said...

What I really don't want to look at too closely is why does one refuse to give oneself the one one wants to have - messily said as that is. Yes I settled for Shrinkette, too - I blame R, which is handy - but I'll be buggered if I want to look too closely at how come this staggering disaster came to be (as really and truly I'm not entirely convinced it's enough to say "R's fault").

I hope the European Dude comes your way, you know - he might. I, however, have had my chance. Sigh.


Reading the Signs said...

It has to be said (yes it does) that if I had actually met the ED I would have grabbed him. But he only ever existed in my fantasy. Perhaps if I'd waited long enough, but Time's Winged Chariot etc - and Shrink did seem like an acceptable English equivalent. No no, I've had my fill of shrinkage now.

On the other hand, it does of course make perfect sense not to give oneself the One one wants - for then the fantasy remains, you know, intact: he will always be there for you in his Dudely perfection - the love object. To have encountered him and perhaps espied the feet of clay - well it doesn't bear thinking about.

Anna MR said...

Oh the feet of clay of His Dudely Perfection - you're right. Better pine away for ever, Schwesterlein, in his eternal absence. I think. As it is, of course, I only ever find Perfection where I absolutely cannot be close to it. Ensuring I never see clay. So I've no point of comparison, really, and hence cannot say…