Annotations: The Appointment

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But we never mourned. If anything we performed a new version of ourselves, hysterically non-racist in any direction and negating difference wherever possible. Suddenly there were just Germans, no Jews, no guest workers, no others. And yet we never granted them the status of human beings again, or let them interfere with our take of the story, down to that ugly heap of stones they put up in Berlin to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. Have you seen that, Dr. Seligman? I mean, seriously, who wants to be remembered like that? Who wants to be remembered at the receiving end of violence?

… I have not reached the point yet where I find satisfaction in letting my father down. I reached that point years ago with my mother, but with a mother it makes hardly any difference. It’s not like you will ever be free from her love, from that animal-like affection that would follow its children to the darkest of dens. The kind of love that finds excuses for Marc Dutroux and Harold Shipman. It’s like the slime my mother covered me in before forcing me into this world, and the idea that I was once part of her flesh still fills me with dread. Her love was always too much, too embarrassing, too indiscreet. A father’s love can’t be compared to that. There’s an element of choice in it—it’s something you can win and, of course, something you can lose.

I told him about how I sometimes follow strangers. I don’t remember how I came up with the idea, but I guess something fascinated me about how much power you can gain by overstepping those small boundaries. Most people would be terrified if you suddenly stared in through their windows, and that’s not even illegal—just like following them is mostly within the law. I just think that most perversions are born out of a sense of insignificance, Dr. Seligman. And telling Jason all about them was like a fun way to try them out, another way of leaving myself behind. And it’s quite easy to follow someone.

… it’s one of my many flaws, Dr. Seligman, that I cannot imagine other people’s unhappiness. I felt so violated by society all my life that I refused those people who lived by its rules the right to be unhappy. I always wanted them to smile themselves to death for supporting those institutions and limitations that had made everything so difficult for me, for thinking that as long as you tick all the boxes and follow all the rules, flowers will be growing out of your ass until the end of time. I didn’t want them to be allowed to talk about their pain, I wanted them to suffer from their own stupidity …

But the body others see is never the body we see …

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