I found the first text I ever saved from you today. This text as I recall (and you probably don’t) was sent sometime in the gap between our fourth and fifth therapy sessions. I got drunk, and went to Morrison’s and shoplifted.
Then I went and sat in the shed in the rain and smoked. I messaged you and asked if you would call me, and was enormously surprised when you actually did. You had no idea, then.
You said strangely reassuring things on the phone, that first ever phonecall between us, and I was bewildered and seduced by the whole thing in equal measure. Something in me did not trust you one bit, and some brave part of me messaged you to ask whether you would write down what you said on the phone so I could remember it (more like so I could have proof of it, and store it as evidence for the inevitable moment when you eventually did leave me, as everyone does in the end.)
Last weekend we went to the Freud Museum.
We consulted with a portrait of Freud over whether it was OK for us to be there or not, and though I must admit Freud himself looked rather intensely disapproving, I feel strongly in my heart that it was OK. That it was more than OK. We had done an hour of therapy before going and I cried and cried, but I didn’t cry at the museum.
I kept close to you, and you told me some interesting anecdotes from the long ago past as we read the captions on the exhibits, and afterwards we sat and decompressed. There was so much more to the day than this, but of course you know all of it, and I am too tired to tell.
Tonight, some 16 months later, you told me:
And someone might say, “oh, a therapist shouldn’t say I promise. How can he promise it will work?”
But Tom, you and I have found hope not only to be alluring, but to be quite a curative force in and of itself. You spoonfeed me hope sometimes, when I am slightly suicidal and starving. And I sip it down slowly, until I can steady my limbs and stand again.
Tom, you are the hat that fits. Thanks for promising to be a centre of gravity, and sticking to it. The only person who will ever know what I have put you through is you. But you did stay. You do stay. And that is the hat.
I told you I was going to sleep, and I will. I hope one day I will have a centre that isn’t you, and I know you hope that too, you tell me all the time. But for now – thank you for lending yourself to me. Thank you for letting me grip you and steady. Thank you for not letting me slide back into the vortex I was in, back when I got drunk and went to Morrison’s and shoplifted.
I will accept you whatever you tell me, you said, in September 2016.
And how true it was. And how healing it was.