... a recklessness with others, to be able to hurt without feeling that you have done so, these gifts come untethered from weights of responsibility that comes from empathy; this is Joseph's advantage, what he tries to give to his son. It is raining in Park Slope. The windows outside the house give off ceiling light to the dull daylight shine. This is better than the way it used to be. Before Joseph was a raging animal, caged inside himself and poked at by time and other concerns the children did not get let in on, or his wife. Anne was quiet for several years, and then very quiet, before anyone noticed she wasn't eating much and then I found the laxatives in the bathroom, and first made the diagnosis.
I am a psychiatrist. I am the hero of this story.
When Joseph first came to me, he presented his world so well and so meticulously that it was hard to believe he needed to be there at all -- everyone else in his life, on the other hand, sounded like monsters. Human monsters. These things exist. It is important to realize that, to grasp the importance. I am not just talking about pedophiles, or murderer. I mean that there are people we encounter every day who warp the interpersonal fabric of the universe in such a way that others suffer. The question of intention, of syntonos with self, is a different discussion.
Joseph's life was populated by such monsters. He believed that he was always honest, and that his care for others was plain for all to see, if only they possessed decent enough eyes to recognize such things when they saw it. There was a rose garden he kept, and he worked hard to keep the insects who ate petals away, though he understood they needed to eat to, and so kept a few roses for them as a kind of sacrifice. For Christmas he brought me dried roses pressed in a book. The gift almost seemed romantic, but his way of giving it -- loudly, saying, "Hey Doc, their are people I don't like and there are people I do. This is because you're a good guy... I don't care about the holidays -- if you ask me, no matter how you slice it, it's all baloney, but think of this as a just a token of my appreciation..." -- distracted me from the fact of the gift itself: roses, carefully dried and placed in a small book, handed to me in my office.
Outside the park rolled over into the distance. There were no children out there today, too wet, but the dogs came with women in boots walking them and some men smoking and talking on the phone, the animals electrocuted with life. The men and women usually walk alone and don't talk, except when their animals intervene, and then the right is theirs to decide what they want.