Am I a sociopath? I have been called that before. I don’t cry at funerals if that would help you come to your conclusion. But many people don’t.
So, I’m not the only one. I don’t feel much either, or at least I say I don’t. Feelings are tricky you see. Acknowledge then once and they become tangible. Once you admit them to yourself there is no coming back. And trust me when I say this; ignore them or even shut them out for as long as possible.
I self-diagnosed myself with sociopathy at around age 9 after my brother’s funeral, at which I didn’t cry. That was the last time I felt something. I think it was fear. But identifying feelings is harder when there is nothing to compare them to.
I remember the loud thumping in my ears, my hands were drowned and sweat ran in rivers down my face. And there was the casket in the ground. The image of his motionless, peaceful body on the concrete front lawn after he jumped, radiated like a bullet of a revolver around my skull.
It used to make me sick. There were moments when I thought about it for too long. In those moments I would taste bile rising my oesophagus. The paining of the unfolding past of my brother’s Shakespearean end was encrypted in my memory castle next to the paining of hamlets death, that I showed you before. Who was I in this play? I didn’t know. Maybe I was Hamlet in the end.
“Talk to me Hadrian, if you don’t talk. I won’t be able to help you”, that was the quote that Dr Holland said the day we have met. He said it again now. And I was in the same position as I was all those years before.
After Max’s funeral, I promised no feelings would get through. But here I was again observing my past repeating itself. There I was lying in a hospital bed, my father standing in one of the corners of the room like a boxer before a fight and my mother weeping at my side, KO. She whispered to herself repeatedly ‘It happened again, it happened again’ as if she noticed me for once.
And there was Dr Holland, stoic, the picture of composure, compassion and concentration. Hippocrates himself would be proud. He told me numerous times he was here to give advice and compassionate guidance not to cloud my decisions for me. And again, he failed, the fucking hypocrite. However, I didn’t care for his challenge, I could see it in his eyes, the irritation and annoyance at my decisions. I wanted to tell him to fuck off, and that was the exact thing he wanted.
But to be honest, even if I wanted to speak. I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to say never less how I felt or if I felt anything at all. So here I was a mute once again. It happened, again, feelings have staged an attack at my castle of unsettling composure of a Jedi knight. And the more I thought about the small chinks in my castle walls, the more my feelings crawled through the windows, they broke through the gates and were hacking at my doors. I couldn’t let them through but as I blocked the door, the windows cracked when she loudly sobbed again, and it was like a tangible missile of brittle icicle piercing my left lung.
I felt like I was having a pneumothorax, and the machine I was plugged to show my distress. But it was quick I took hold of myself just in time. Only though Dr Holland saw it, and his face of disapproval stared right through me as my mother drenched my hospital bed sheets, hiding her face in them. I didn’t look. It was a human disposition to stare at a train coming towards them until it was too late. I couldn’t allow that to happen, so I forced myself to look at the blue pained wall of the private hospital.
It was a close call; I could still feel my rib cage tightening and my heart collapsing under the pressure as I write to you Victoria, but when she stopped crying, it felt better. The doors were reinforced, the windows bolted down, but the gate remained torn down. And I was safe. For now, at least.
I thought about Max then. I wish you could have met him. I didn’t speak for two years after his death. Was this the same case as the last time. Was I so overwhelmed, that my system short-circuited that much? But I didn’t care, not that a lot of people besides you talked to me anyways. And you don’t talk to me now. No one noticed for months last time it happened, no one will this time besides you. It will be fine. I gave Dr Holland a look then. I looked him straight in the eyes and sent a message that only he would understand.
“Time. I need time. Sensory overload”, he responded by looking at my sobbing mother, I didn’t take his bait.
“You can help him, right? Like you did last time. We are willing to pay as much as you possibly need”, she said, and she almost took out her chequebook before realizing what was happening. She was trying to fix a problem by throwing money at it.
Like he did. He still stood at the corner not looking at anyone. My father, the visionary, the cutthroat businessman, the lawyer of the richest, the most famous, the most entitled, stood quietly staring out of the open window and into the night sky. As if he wanted to turn into a bird and fly away as far as possible. He migrates when things get tough. How predictable. The boring old man, I thought. Where was his fighting spirit? You might ask. The answer was, it ran out a couple of hours ago when he tried to shake me into speaking. Again, very predictable, that’s why he always lost against me in poker.
“He will speak when he feels it’s right for him to do so. At the right time, to the right person”, said Dr Holland. Yes, I was the one to decide, I was the one to choose when, where and whom. The last time it was Dr Holland. That’s why he was the hero. And I could see disapproval in his eyes as if he could read my thoughts. And after knowing each other for 7 years I think we both possessed that ability. I tightened my lips in a grimace when she started to sob again, she let out heaving silent sobs. It was as if she was suffocating. Like I was. Some part of me wanted to reach out. But I didn’t. I only tightened my grimace until the cuts on my lip bled again and held my breath until my broken ribs couldn’t take it.
I was driving too fast. I do that a lot to run away before they catch me. So, trust me when I say again, don’t let them in. And I can imagine your face of disapproval as you read this. You most likely don’t want to know me. I don’t blame you. You are the one to choose, the one to decide when and where and whom to speak to. You decide to whom you dedicate your finite resource of time. And I agree with you. You shouldn’t waste it on me.
Sincerely, Hadrian Black.