Dr E explained that he wanted to discuss with me the issue of regret.
“Have you ever regretted anything?” he asked.
“No,” I answered promptly.
“I see. What do you understand by regret?”
“It is a feeling of sadness or perhaps disappointment over something that you have done or failed to do.”
“When have you experienced that feeling?” he asked.
“If I tell you that most people have regrets, which ones would you remember?”
“Which of their regrets would I remember?” I asked. He looked up at me over the top of his red and black note pad and raised his eyebrows.
“I haven’t had any,” I repeated.
“Why do you think that is?”
“Let me see. Probably because I have had nothing to express regret about. The absence of something tends to be the reason why you have not something, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Okay. Now in your many explanations to me you have explained some of the things that you have done. Yes,” he noticed I was going to interrupt him but he kept going, “I know you detailed those at my behest and I appreciate you sharing that information with me. Those acts of commission and omission led to people feeling angry with you, hurt and upset. Would you agree?”
“Okay. Now I would suggest that one might feel regret at having caused those people to feel that way. Would you agree?”
“You might feel a sense of regret Dr E but I do not.”
“Why is that?”
“Why to which part? Why you might feel a sense of regret or why I do not?”
If he was irritated by my pedantry he was not showing it.
“Because I am not at fault. In all those instances it is the other person’s fault.”
“How about some examples?”
“Okay. Kate’s dog went missing. Do you remember me telling you about that?” He nodded. “If she had cared for it properly and given me the attention I deserve it would not have been lost. Christopher who was fired from his position, he was incompetent. Emily kept asking me the wrong questions so that is why she was treated in that way. Sophie kept asking me what I was thinking so that is why I lost my temper and smashed her television. As for Paula, she was late so I walked off and left her to find her own way home. Do you want me to go on?”
“No, that is sufficient.”
“If people tried harder, if they were more thoughtful then this would not happen. I can do it so why not they? I will tell you why. They become weak and complacent. They think that they can not invest any energy into our relationship, whether intimate or not, any longer. If you do not feed something it will wither and die. They brought it on themselves and they are the ones at fault. My reaction was perfectly natural. I was entitled to respond the way I did. They cannot judge me, they have no jurisdiction to do so, certainly not when they let me down every single time. They bring it on themselves with their weakness and their whining, their reluctance to do what is needed, what I need. It sickens me doctor, it truly sickens me. Have you any idea how difficult it is to find someone who retains my interest, someone scintillating enough to match my brilliance? It is impossible. I try Dr E, I bloody well try to I offer them the world in the hope that just this once they will match my expectations and not let me down. It always happens. I am always let down. She did it the first time and then it happened again and now it is repeated. Why? What did I do that was so wrong to deserve being treated like this? I regret nothing doctor because nothing is my fault.”
I love the rain. I have a lodge in the countryside and like to sit on its veranda and gaze across the lake as the rain lashes down. I hear it drumming on the roof, a steady, reliable rhythm. I can see the large droplets cascading down into the lake, striking the foliage that grows on the edge of the water, the splashes and rivulets visible from my vantage point. After a time I am always compelled to leave my seat and walk the short distance from my lodge to the lakeside. I have brought most of my girlfriends here. It is tranquil and beautiful. The lake is about a two miles long and half a mile wide and is rather deep. Excellent for fishing. One can walk all the way around the lake and I have done so with my girlfriends as we strolled through the woodland, isolated from the rest of the world.
I like to stand on the edge of the water and stretch my arms out wide and tilt my head upwards and feel the heavy drops of rain pelt against my face causing me to blink as they land on my eyes. The cold water trickles down my cheeks and over my chin as the steady patter continues, eventually soaking into my clothing. I often lose track of how long I stand there, feeling the water striking me and then running off me. I never feel cold and I don’t notice the wet, not really. I feel clean though, the cleanest I’ve been as the edifying pluvial downpour continues. Each drop that hits me seems to take with it the dirt and disease, casting it down onto the ground beneath me. The impurities are washed away, the droplets scouring the contamination from my skin. The water strikes me and the spray that rises dashes the filth away, the mire rinsed from me. It feels to me as if God has sent his purity to scrub away the muck, grime and pollution that clings me to me for far too long. I am soon soaked as the water dilutes the sin and flushes away the stains.
There is innocence in the rain. For however so long it is that I embrace the downpour, I am divested of my cynicism and just for a while everything I have ever done, everything I have ever said no longer matters. I have been stripped of it all. I would stand like this with Karen. She would adopt the same pose. I would hear her gentle laugh as she opened her mouth to let the rain get inside of her and she held my hand, both of us arms outstretched as if we were being crucified. Even now as I close my eyes against the deluge I hear that soft laugh but I know she is not besides me anymore. She knew what the rain did and does for me. She understood.
I am the master architect. I will amaze you as I create golden cities that reflect the magnificence of our relationship. With glass and chrome I create those skyscrapers that soar high into the air as a testament to the sheer height to which I will take you. Clean, sparkling rivers run through the centre of these cities, spanned by intricate bridges. The stonework on the most elegant buildings bears the hallmark of the master craftsman that I am. My technique and brilliance surpasses anything that you have seen before. Carefully landscaped parks and gardens provide a verdant oasis at different parts throughout these cities, a haven for flora and brought to life with the sound of birdsong. Beyond the city limits lush meadows undulate away to the imposing grandeur of mountain ranges. I keep the sky an amazing azure through out the day, save for sunset when I allow a few clouds to wisp across the horizon and contribute to the breath taking hues of red, orange, yellow and violet that I weave through the sky. My empire is vast. It is resplendent and awe-inspiring. It is all my own work, achieved through my careful application of building something worthy of representing our relationship. It is built on the most solid of foundations, from the most reliable and durable of materials. There has been no corner cutting, no use of cheap and suspect stone, word or steel. Nothing shall fall but instead it will prevail for ever in tribute to you and me.
Yet for all this splendour that I have single-handedly created I will take a match to it and bring about an all consuming conflagration. I want to see it engulfed in the inferno of my making. It makes no sense. There is no logic to burning down what I have created. The wanton destruction of such beauty is abhorrent and flies in the face of any reasoned individual. The flames burn with such intensity that the steel melts, sizzling drops of molten metal that scar the stone which fractures and crumbles. Glass shatters, blackened shards that collapse to the ground, the noise of destruction masked by the roar of the flames.
I will stand and watch this terrible destruction with a twisted grin on my face, my hollow eyes reflecting the shooting pillars of orange flame. You are knelt beneath me as I hold your head in my hands, forcing you to watch this display of carnage and obliteration. Your tears stream down your face, cutting through the soot that has adorned your features, the heat haze shimmering before you and your sobbing inaudible compared to the fierceness of the fire that will burn for days.
I will build you an empire and then I shall raze it to the ground. That is my way and it shall always remain the case.
I want you to do your best. That is a noble intention is it not? I want you to try harder each day. I want you to aim high and strive to improve on what you achieved the previous day. Though exhaustion may be clouding your vision and that ache in your limbs reminds you of the strenuous ministrations that you have attended to, I know that you can push through it and do it more, better, faster and stronger. I believe in you. Those other imposters are mere charlatans. Am I not the one who has given you a perfect love? You need to keep that perfect love and earn it. Accordingly, each day I will pull it away from you. On a Monday it might be the case that I do not kiss you. I will not give you an explanation for this withholding as you must work it out. Once you have you need to work hard to recover my kiss. The next day I will not return the hug you always give me when we first get up. Rather than complaining hold your tongue and consider this all part of your on going education. If you want my perfect love to manifest through those warm, safe hugs that you relish then you must please me so that you may have them again.
You repeatedly comment to me that there has to be give and take in a relationship. I am doing exactly what you ask for. I take away in order to make you give more and then you will be rewarded. In order to avoid any complacency on your part you will find that the next time I withdraw from kissing you, your first response which reinstated my luscious embrace will not work a second time. No that would be far too easy. You need to ascertain what different act you must accomplish in order to secure my tender kisses. I know you will do it. Who would not in order to feel my mouth against yours and that soaring sensation inside as the relief floods through you, knowing that you have secured it return. Admit it, the potential loss of my affection at any time for any reason excites you. You do not want mediocrity. You want excitement. You want to feel like you are flying, soaring, bursting and spinning with delight. I am the only one who can supply that to you and thus you willingly engage with me in these games as I push you further and further, pulling back a little more each time so you wrack your brain and strain your sinews to find the answer once again. It would be wrong of me to say I only do this for your benefit. I do not. I do it wholly for mine since I need you to please me. You please me by being the puppet jerking on my strings, doing everything at my behest. The surge of power that I get from this control surpasses anything you might get from our relationship, but are we not both getting something from it, so where’s the harm in pleasing me?