Therapy Session Number One
“Read it to me Morgan,” said Dr. Nolan.
She smiled and I felt a sort of motherly warmth coming from her and at the same time I thought about the whole screwing your therapist thing.
“I’m sorry… it’s just that I’m trying to work against this feeling that’s been plaguing me since I was 11 or 12.”
“It was then that I started to see that the world wasn’t what I knew it to be as a child. My childhood was good and I didn’t want to leave it. I didn’t want any part of this larger, confusing, adult world. I didn’t need to know who I was as a child, I just was. Individual days were like a lifetime, each an adventure, without wondering or worrying what was next. I started tearing everything down around me. I’d look at people and imagine them as skeletons. Nothing more than skin and bones and tear them down to the point where they no longer had any substance. I felt very alone in the world cuz it seemed everyone else around me was still in the light of childhood and I didn’t like them because of it.”
“We all go through that Morgan. Somehow you must’ve just gotten stuck there and taken it to some kind of extreme… so what did you write? Maybe I can help you through.”
“… I sat down and decided to write; thinking again that this current emptiness could somehow be filled in with words. Recent days had found me waiting for a reprieve from an open, undefined space of time spent expecting something to arrive. But for the millionth time I was wrestling with the idea that untouched spaces, stacked one on top of the other, did not and would not amount to anything substantive, just tension and unease.
Like layers of cooling, descending air this sort of high pressure system of my soul had hit ground level and had, for a while now, been pushing away all climactic instabilities. But as adept as I have become at creating and maintaining this artificial sense of calm, high pressure always gives way to low, and movement in a lateral direction must once again take place.
The prospect of wind scares me because it means, at least to some extent, a loss of control. In calm seas, the sailor need only give mild attention to the compass and sails and a loose grip on the rudder. But as conditions change, become less forgiving, as pleasant as the prospect of sailing may seem when tied off in the harbor, a still hull in stagnant water has no future but to rot and will only know the encrusted kinship of barnacles, never the freedom of a dolphin flying at its bow.
I’d been living a harbored life, sometimes self-imposed, sometimes not, and had only fantasized about a life on the open sea. I was beginning to feel that a harbored life was no life at all. But getting your sea legs takes time on deck, beyond the calm and security of being always in sight of the lighthouse and land.
Women have, for most of my life, been a strong influence. Having a doting mother made me feel more comfortable around the opposite sex, as long as little was expected from me. But this same doting and adoration has kept me from experiencing myself fully as a man, a provider, a survivor. Strength and virility have never played a significant role in my development and it was this that caused me to seek only the warmth and comfort of a Sunday morning, and only occasionally, the adventure of a Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t wanted to come to grips with the cold mechanics of a Monday and the effort of surviving in the workaday world. And the shit that I saw everywhere growing up, posters of hermaphrodites, people doing lots of drugs, crap like that, it messes with your idea of healthy thinking, healthy sex, a healthy life.
I’ve come away from sexual encounters feeling a sense of shame, as if I’ve somehow betrayed the world of women that’s always been so kind to me. Women have been like ‘Mary’ to me… the sin of sex, the fulfillment of sexual desire, made me feel as if I’d performed some great injustice to women. I felt like the snake in the garden and once introduced, angels fell.
My fourteen-year-old self expected to become a great lover of women. The thought of giving women pleasure gave me pleasure.”
“You’re doing the work,” she smiled, “you’re already cognizant of the barricades.”
“Now… without thinking too much about it… tell me about these women.”
“What do you want to know?”
“You’re already overthinking it… just picture one of them… and… and start talking.”
I took a deep breath through my nose.
“I can see Carrie. There’s light coming in indirectly from outside the bedroom window. The light’s coming from a street light. She’s naked, beautiful. Well-formed honeydew breasts. As my first, I felt I needed to know, but I couldn’t speak.
She seemed sad and distant. I felt her leaving me.
She said, ‘We should go home, sounds like the party’s over downstairs and Bob’s little sister is going to want her bed.’
Hadn’t lasted long… clumsy… let myself go… hadn’t pleased her… dirty when it’s one-sided.
The art of this wasn’t known to the Morgan of then. I felt I’d failed her.”
“How old were you Morgan?”
“You were just a baby.”
“It just kept happening like that.”
“Do you think anyone bursts from the head of Zeus fully formed? Do you think women are looking for nothing but a good roll in the hay?”
“My confidence went to shit… I didn’t want to fuck it up anymore.”
“If you were kind and loving to her that was enough at that age. Let’s go on Morgan. Who else was there.”
“She was a beautiful Navajo-Apache princess and I didn’t know until it was too late that she had a drug problem. I was already in love with her and addicted to the sex we had and felt indebted for all she’d given and opened up. Sad, drunk and dazed indian princess screaming at me from a pay phone in the middle of the night to pick her up.
I said ‘What’s going on?’
She said ‘I’m at the Cat Box and these guys…’
‘I’m on my way… ‘ I said.
I’d pick her up like always and like the sap I’d become and after she screamed about how fucked up men were we’d have great sex, sometimes all night. It was ok until she came at me with a knife. Came at me like a native american poltergeist on coke. I guess that’s what she was on. I’m still not sure. She was beautiful though, like Pocahontas, but Pocahontas on coke. I didn’t write anything for months.”
“Sounds like drug-induced dementia,” said Dr. Nolan, “and can you see that making yourself out to be a victim here doesn’t fly?”
“I mean you had a choice not to get involved with her or end the involvement before it got out of hand.”
“But nothing Morgan, you’re an intelligent young man and you need to make intelligent choices.”
“Don’t be sorry, just think about why you gravitate toward this sort of drama.”