“Why don’t you try to love me the way that I love you?” – Paula
“Perhaps if you just tried you could find a better way to something deeper and more substantial.” – Kate
“I know it is within you, it has to be, all you need is to embrace it and place your trust in me.” – Alex
“I know you flirt with all kinds of dirt, but beneath the sin, I know you want to love me like I love you.” – Karen
“If you let me I will show you how to love without condition or cruelty, it can be done by all of us. Just let me try.” – Caroline
I still hear these words from these women (and more besides) as I sit late at night in the large living room to the rear of my house. It is on the first floor and provides me with a commanding view of the fields to the rear of the property, the occasional copse breaking up the undulating countryside. I had two bedrooms knocked together and created this living room where I like to sit and look out across the view as the sun vanishes and the cool, calmness of the night arrives. The sky shifts from the medley of flaming oranges, reds and yellows to a soothing azure and then the darkness descends. Karen and I enjoyed sitting in the large elbow chairs that faced the window. Often we would say nothing as around us the lamps would switch on, a gentle click signifying their creation of a pool of light as the timer activated them one by one.
I will often leave the city behind and come out here so I can sit in this house which I regard as my castle and with a glass of Chablis in hand, watch the sky change colour. The occasional noise of a distant animal might be heard but largely there is silence. The enveloping stillness of a calm world until I hear their words. All of them meant what they said and did so with the best of their intentions. I know that because I could see it in their eyes. Whether it was the earnest green, the heart-felt hazel, the beseeching blue or the inspiring grey, I still see them as they tried to make me see a different way. They wanted me to change. They wanted to make me something else.
Now Karen no longer sits beside me, I rarely bring the girlfriends that I acquire out here. I prefer the solitude, only for a few days. I will periodically check my electronic devices and the winking displays, lists of messages and e-mails sustains me as so many seek my attention. Without Karen, I decide against having the lamps gently bloom and instead prefer the gathering darkness. It is here that I can sit and plan. It is in this quiet that I can marshal my resources, mark my targets and organise my machinations. It is also when I resist those pleas to become that which I regard as impossible to achieve. I prefer to walk amongst my trophies. I stride amidst the frozen tributes to my brilliance as I picture each and every of my conquests as if they are beautifully crafted statues each in a pose denoting my victory over them. There is Siobhan, on her knees looking up at me as she begs me not to go, her pretty features contorted by the pain she is experiencing. Paula sits at a table, her hands clamped over he mouth, her eyes wide with fear as she fights to say nothing, terrified that a word might slip from her lips. Becky dangles limply, the strings rising upwards attached to her hands, her feet, her head, her hips and other places. The broken puppet. Kate stands on tip toe, her face a mask of anguish as with one hand raised above her eyes she peers into the distance as if searching for something, an empty dog lead in her hand. I let my hands glide over the smooth stone that has captured their defeat and embodied it in an eternal stance. My fingers drift over open mouths, curled lips, tear-filled eyes and flared nostrils. I savour the misery, anger and dejection that has been injected into these statues. I regularly walk amongst them and it reminds me of my power, the hold that I have over these people who sought to change me but could only ever disappoint me. Why would I ever want to do what they would have me do? Why would I embrace their suggestions when I can create these monuments to my omnipotence? These masterpieces of misery always reinforce that I am destined to do this for this is what I do best. I am reassured, validated and comforted that my way is the right way when I take a stroll in my asylum of the grotesque.