Regression – Chapter Thirteen

From Milena’s therapy sessions, the only conversation between her and Valentin recorded in full is the following one, which happened six months after their breakup:

( The Cosmic Microwave Background sound fades in and out swiftly)

“Do you love me at all, Milena? What kind of sick game are you playing with me? I know you feel the same as me, so why can’t we just forget about everything else and be together?”        

“You ask me whether I love you, but it’s up to you to answer that question. Just ask yourself: What have I been doing all this time if not loving you? Don’t you feel my care for you? But you don’t always get what you want…. Sometimes you get what you need.”

“Stop quoting the Rolling Stones, please. This is serious.”

“I know it’s serious, Valentin, but that doesn’t mean we need to take it so seriously. I know our happiness is at stake, but getting some distance from ourselves always helps us make the best decision. The end arrives for all of us, so the best we can do is to add some humor to this tragedy called life.”

“And humor is the last refuge of humanity, the last thing you lose, just before losing hope. You said that last time I was angry at you, remember? And you made a silly joke and dissipated all my anger. And I was angrier because of that. I felt insulted by the lightheartedness with which you approached such an important subject to me. But you showed me that I’m not that important, and I thank you for that. I was taking myself too seriously, but I think I understand you and the rest of the people now. It’s not that you don’t care. It’s that you can’t care; otherwise, you’d go mad. There’s no way of getting attached to the world without losing our minds. So let’s embrace humor and succumb to our tragedies in Shakespearean style.”

“And you showed me another way, Valentin, your way. You live outdated philosophy and ancient songs as if they were brand new. You brought a breath of fresh air to my life. Being with you is like seeing life through a child’s eyes. I admire you, Valentine. You’re special, and that’s a great quality in today’s society. The rest of us may not have your urges or hopeless desires, but we’ll also never have your charm… If it’s not much to ask right now, would you play a song for me?”

“Milena, you break my heart … You know I’d give my charm away any day just to become normal and be with you. I’ll never understand why you chose not to be with me. It’s so simple to like each other and be together. What’s there to think about other than your own desire?… But I’ll sing you a song:

Oh, lipless, soulless gal,

when will you fetch that heart of yours

to bring it here where it belongs

side by side with mine?

Oh, you bland, bleak gal,

will you write your own song,

instead of taking away mine

to steal the crumbs of my soul?”

“That’s beautiful, Valentin. I wish I had your talent to feel things.”

“You don’t really wish it. You’re just bluffing. I wish you had my talent, and my pain… and so many other things I can’t name.”

“Try not to hate me, Valentin.”

“But you don’t understand. I wish I could show you the intensity of my hatred, but then you wouldn’t be here anymore to finally see it.”

“Don’t speak like that, please. I tried my best not to hurt you. You need to do your part, letting it go.”

“It’s easy for you to let go. You can easily find a suitable match, but there’s no app to fix my broken heart.”

“So fix it yourself and stop whining. It doesn’t suit you, Valentine. Whining doesn’t suit any free person. You have a sound mind and a strong will: use it to your advantage.”

“I wish I could use them to put you six feet under in my backyard.”

“I’m glad you’ve recovered your humor. I used to love you too, Valentin, and I still do. Remember it, love is also in the air between us. Just breathe it in and breathe out the disappointment.”

“Stop quoting third-millennium philosophy. I read all the theory and I understand the mechanics, but you’re making a false assumption: You’re assuming I already know how to breathe.”

“You’re right, Valentin. I’ll stop sermonizing you. I only want you to know that I’m here when you need me, and that I didn’t break up for my sake as much as for yours. If you don’t realize it right now, you’ll see it ten years from now, when you’ll only have to beckon me to come to your side.”

“I don’t need you to be at my beck and call in ten years. I need you to be fully mine now.”

“I can’t, Valentin. I’m sorry.”

“If you’re sorry, and you have no heart, imagine how sorry I am.”

“I don’t need to imagine it, Valentine. I feel it. I’m not devoid of feelings. I only process them differently.”

“Yes, processed feelings are the only ones your body seems to crave.”

“You’re right again, Valentin. But have pity on me; I didn’t choose to be like this, the same as you didn’t choose to be like you are.”

“But I chose you, and you didn’t choose me, and I can never forgive you for that.”

“And I’m not asking for your forgiveness; just your understanding.”

“But I understand, Milena. I just can’t accept it. I agree with you logically, but I disagree with you morally. To me, you’re just a coward. Call it some old fashion name: civil duty or self-sacrifice; call it wisdom if you wish; I just call it cowardice.”

“Fear is ingrained in us, Valentin. Please understand that I’m not a daredevil.”

“But that’s very clear already.”

“Goodbye, Valentin. I need you to go now, please.”

“Don’t need to beg for my absence. I’m already gone.”

“But take care, Valentin. Remember I care about you.”

“Yes, from afar, like a hitman cares about where his bullet ends.”

“If this hitman would allow himself to be hit by his own bullet, then yes, I’m like him.”

“You don’t need to. I’d never harm you. Actually, I’ll put you out of harm’s way and just become a lost bullet.”

“Don’t do that, but please go and forget about me for a while. It will do you good.”

“Bye, Milena.”

“Bye, Valentin.”


Read more: Chapter Fourteen



I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.


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