— I often feel like I’m a silent actor in a talkie… like, there’s explosions and aliens and things moving in 3-D, but I’m walking around, carrying a ladder and accidentally smacking people in the head with it.
— Do you feel voiceless?
— No, I feel like I have a voice without sound.
— Isn’t that the same thing?
— No, doctor. I hear my voice, just nobody else does.
— Do you feel powerless?
— Yes. No. Yes and no. I feel like I have power, but it only works against me, like a gun that only fires backwards; even if you turn it around, you’ll only ever shoot yourself. My power is only useful if I’m trying to ruin everything.
— You’re very hard on yourself?
— Yes, doctor.
— Because I care.
— Before you can fulfill your true potential, you need to accept who you are.
— I accept. I just want to be better. I can accept and strive for more. I accept the good and the bad. I just want to wean myself off the bad. When a forest burns down, from the ashes growth happens. Can’t that be what this is? Can’t I grow bigger and stronger?
— Did you burn down the forest?
— No, but I was there. I didn’t put it out.
— Why not?
— I guess I liked the flames, but now they’re too hot. I just want to sit up in a tree house and watch the sunset. Which, if you think about it, is also made of flame. This whole world is made of flame.
— You need to build your tree house.
— I need a tree first.
–Okay then, what are you going to do?
— I’m going to water the fuck out of the ground.
— Okay, do that then.
— It’s going to take tears. I need buckets of tears. I need to feel. I need all the deep emotions needed for this forest to grow. I need to feel everything from love — that ferocious beast of full-blown love, with its teeth and destructive appetite — to the deepest, undefined unrest to the quiet, strange pain of silence.
— Why is there pain in silence?
— There’s not just pain, there’s beauty too. Like, when two people can just sit and enjoy the sound of nature, like crickets or the wind, and not say anything, but think the same thing and be at peace, there’s nothing better. But sometimes when silence is the arena of unspoken words, there’s a lot of pain. Unaddressed pain is the worst.
— Are you able to be silent?
— No. There’s always something to say. Even if I’m alone, I’m talking to the wind, I need to tell the wind something.
— Like what?
— Like… shit! I don’t know. Like, hey, wind, good job today… Fuck! I don’t know.
— You’re getting mad…
— Yeah, I’m getting mad!
— Because I don’t like the wind. Don’t ask me what to say to the fucking wind! It comes and moves everything around. Nothing is safe from the wind. Wind is relentless. And you can’t see it. You can only feel it. You can see what it’s doing to things, but have you ever seen wind? You can see leaves blowing or a street sign bending over, but where is the wind? Have YOU ever seen wind?
— I suppose not. Please calm down.
— I can’t when the whole world is always changing out from underneath my feet. Our whole existence is built on fucking quicksand.
— You’re right, in many ways. Death. Disease. Heartbreak. Is there anything else in nature that you’re mad at?
— There was a time when I was younger when I liked the way the ocean always stopped at the same spot, give or take ten or thirty feet of course, for tides, you know, but a beach was consistent… but now I feel there is something brutal about it. Like, the ocean is constantly changing, but never really grows or shrinks, it’s just constant movement for no reason. It’s exhausting. The ocean is exhausting.
— Do you feel like you’re constantly moving?
— Yes, doctor. At least my brain’s got to be.
— Do you feel exhausted?
— Because this is a tiring world. There are so many people in this world. It used to be you never had to be aware of them. There were people in Spain and people in Australia and they were left to themselves, and they left you to yourself. Now everybody is connected. Everybody is making the same joke. They’re commenting on a picture of you, saying your tie is crooked, or something. Like, what the fuck?! Go back to your bullfight!
— Interconnected! Yes, but nobody’s connected! We think we are, but we’re not. We’re all just throwing Nerf balls at each other in the dark. And yeah, it may feel like we’re touching each other, but we’re not, we’re hitting each other with really soft objects. But it still hurts! It hurts worse because it doesn’t mean anything, and deep down we know it doesn’t mean anything. And it feeds you… it’s the worst kind of junk food. We get fat on our own false interconnectedness!
— Okay, let’s stop here. Our time is up.
— What if I can’t survive the silence?
— You’ll survive. I’ll send you a bill for today’s session.
— Okay. Thanks, doctor.