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Monchy, M.F. (2002). Thrills and Regressions. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 10(2):319-329.

(2002). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 10(2):319-329

Thrills and Regressions

Marike Finlay-de Monchy

From a few months after we started not knowing until when in the future, I moved the thin, seedy, mustard-coloured mattress from its bedstand onto the floor in the middle of the room and reached back for your hand with my head sprawled all over your lap while for me the walls moved in and out to make of the room either an enclosed and sheltered wrapper or the expanse of the entire vacuum of a universe that mocked me.

I could hear the roar of the air conditioner and smell the sickly odour of institutionalized cooking or, through the open window, feel the breeze from the bay, the moving air that never ceased to push waves onto the pebbled shore. I was sucked down. Submerged. Even at times against my will. Traces of earlier movements were etched on my skin. And when I lay on my back on that minuscule mattress, in those deep silences, I felt a spinning and falling and clawing back up and roiling around as though struggling to get out. But I could not. I did not want to control it. I wanted to be open to it. It was both new and old to me. All of those reminiscences in my muscles! I panicked. Yet I rested. More real than ever.

I asked you to explain what was happening to me, as though explanation could bring reassurance or make it stop, this movement. You had little to say. You would not make abstractions or wax metaphysical. You simply lived inside situations as they came. You lived in my insides, too, when I invited you in. When I dove, you humbly asked whether I wanted you before me, beneath me, alongside, just behind, or back up there on the surface, in the air with a lifeline to the sun.

We listened to the bumbling of the institutionalized rabble in the halls, or we watched the rooftop fiddlers, kamikaze pelicans, dancing and diving in our sometimes white, sometimes blue square of skylight. I speculated as to what was really up there, behind the hatch. I wondered if it, too, were watching us. I vacillated between mildly entertaining hypotheses and terrifying realities. You just let things happen. Served me frothy milky cappuccino. Met my skin. Breathed or gasped to catch your breath.

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