Mistrust

The scene opens in a white room, where the only furniture is a couch and a stool. Tim is lying back on a couch. The Questioner is sitting at his head, on a stool. Tim has his eyes closed, while the Questioner asks him questions.

Questioner: “Do you know why you’re here?”

Tim: “Yes.”

Questioner: “Tell me.”

Tim: “I am suspicious of my best friend.”

Questioner: “In what way?”

Tim: “I don’t believe he wants to know me. I’m too weak. I make all the effort.”

Questioner: “What makes you suspicious?”

Tim: “He seems distant.”

Questioner: “But he always compliments you. He keeps telling you that he is your best friend. Why can’t you see that?”

Tim: “I’m a pessimist. I’m too stupid. I’ve trusted too much in the past and been let down. Now I am suspicious of people telling me that they are my friends.”

Questioner: “So it’s not really about your best friend, is it?”

Tim: “No.”

Questioner: “It’s just about you and the rest of the world.”

Tim: “Yes.”

Questioner: “What has happened?”

Tim: “People push me to the outside. I had friends, but they all decided they wanted to join chess club. I didn’t like chess. I should have taken the hint, but I trusted them too much. When I got used to it, started getting to like it, they stopped going to chess club. They went to photography club instead. There were only five people allowed in the darkroom at a time. I was number six. I should have taken the hint, but I trusted them too much. I used to walk around the school. Round and round. Pretending that I was doing something, but everyone knew that I was just alone. And I knew that everyone knew that I was just alone. I left that school. I trusted my friends too much, but they just rejected me. So I rejected them and went away for a new start.”

Questioner: “But not everyone was like that.”

Tim: “No. IH was my best friend at that school. We both left at the same time. But he used to spend time with JG. They told me it was nothing private, but the rest of the world told me to leave them alone. I was pushed out again. I was suspicious that he was just telling me it was nothing private because he didn’t want to hurt my feelings. So round and round again. ‘Oh look,’ they’d say ‘it’s Billy Nomates.’ People pushed me away from my friends.”

Questioner: “And this makes you suspicious?”

Tim: “My best friend is so much better than me. Everyone loves him. People who were like me, rejected me. How can someone so different from me, so much greater than me, want to know me? That is why I am suspicious.”

Questioner: “But what about your other friends?”

Tim: “They say I’m great. I was always the stupid one, the weak one. But they say I’m great. I’m not that suspicious of them. I trust them. I don’t have to make an effort with them, they just keep on encouraging me.”

Questioner: “And your best friend doesn’t?”

Tim: “Of course he does, but it feels different. He seems tired. I’m the one who rings up or goes to see him. When he went away he did not have any contact with me. When I saw him walking in town I got angry with him, because he never bothered to contact me. Just to say he was back. I don’t like being suspicious, but it felt like chess club all over again.”

Questioner: “Is it because of loneliness?”

Tim: “I think it is everything. I depend on people too much. I turn people, who are just acting like friends towards me, into saints. Because of bad experiences in the past. Then I get too high expectations of them. They’re all just people. Love. Rejection. Guilt. Loneliness. Regret. Mistrust.”

Questioner: “You are frightened that you will be locked out in the cold again, aren’t you?”

Tim: “I am frightened that people are lying to me. I am frightened that one day they will admit to me, ‘We just felt sorry for you.’ I don’t want pity, I want true friendship.”

Questioner: “But you have that. You must forget the past. You must look at what you have now.”

Tim: “The past haunts me each time I look in the mirror. I have few friends and many enemies. I am scared that, when I don’t hear from friends for ages, they have done the photography club trick on me again. I enjoy good company, but I spend my life on my own. How can I not be suspicious?”

Questioner: “Because they tell you that you are great. When did those other people ever tell you that? Listen with your ears, not with your memories.”

The image freezes like a photograph, then a hand in a pair of rubber gloves grab the corner of the image (now a physical photograph) and dips it into liquid in a plastic dish in a darkroom. The image on the paper fades out (i.e. developing a picture in reverse) The rubber gloves pick the blank photographic paper out of the dish and hangs it on a drying line. The scene fades out to black and the titles roll.

Six Confessions of a Tortured Soul

  1. Nightmares
  2. Rejection
  3. Guilt
  4. Mistrust
  5. Loneliness
  6. Regret

Part four, 12 March 1996.

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