One minute later I got an email advising that my alcohol dependence hypnotherapy download had arrived. All I needed now was a quiet room and the rest of my life.
I’d always thought the sunroom was a quiet room in our house. It has a leafy outlook and exudes calm.
I told Robinson I was about to be hypnotised and would she please take herself off upstairs to watch a violent zombie movie while I did whatever hypnotherapist Hugh had in store for me. I needed half an hour without interruptions.
She agreed with a gin…I mean grin and a look I don’t often see. What was it? Like I was being wheeled in for surgery or something. Goodbye to all that, our old lives together. Our Grand Days.
‘Don’t drink all my chardonnay,’ she intoned sotto voce as she left.
I took off my shoes and lay on the couch. I put the ipad on the floor beside me and turned Hugh on. He told me not to drive a tractor while I was listening to him. He told me to relax and just listen to the sound of his voice.
Then Nina jumped onto the couch and started chewing my long lockdown hair. She loves doing that. I quite enjoy it too, but not now. I’m trying to be hypnotised. Then an international flight lowered its landing gear overhead and steered towards the airport. Hugh was droning on down on the floor, inaudible. I sat up and turned him off.
I went to the spare bedroom and shut the door and lay on the bed. Pressed Play. Hugh told me not to drive a tractor. Yes, yes, get on with it.
As I’ve said, it doesn’t take much to entrance me. Soon I was deeply relaxed, as instructed. I couldn’t feel my body any more, and Hugh said this was OK. I can remember he walked me down ten steps to a featherbed and then god knows what happened. I was asleep.
Hugh told me earlier that this was OK too. A lot of people fall asleep listening to him. Poor bloke. I woke up some time later when someone delivered two boxes of wine onto the front verandah. Ha!
A curious thing happened that evening when 4pm rolled around. That’s when we usually open the bar and join together for a chat about the day or start preparing dinner. Four pm came and went and I felt no inclination to have a drink. It was 5pm when Robinson appeared and asked if I was OK.
‘I think so,’ I replied. I could feel all my limbs. We shared a drink, just to check the rest of my system. I wondered if I was going to be like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, violently cured. That evening I drank less than I normally do and it has stayed that way. I’ve listened to Hugh most days since and I now know what happens on that featherbed down in the basement. In fact I’m getting a bit sick of it. But it seems to be working.
Apart from anything else the half hour session is very relaxing and similar to any number of mindfulness sessions I’ve listened to on my phone. It’s a great way to just calm my ever-questing brain, and to have a short break from window cleaning. As the review said: ‘You can’t loose.’
Needless to say Hugh has a range of products for sale:
. Ultimate Weight Loss (no hip therapy)
. Quit Smoking
. Quit feeling like there is a worldwide epidemic and you’re in lockdown all the time
. Quit your addiction to hypnotherapy, etc
Based on my modest success (so far) I’ve gone mental and online and purchased a mindbender headband for Robinson. She often has trouble sleeping. I’ve told her for free it’s all those zombie movies before bed but for some reason she doesn’t think I’m a Doctor.
This headband is more prosaic than Hugh’s mysterious charms. It has tiny speakers in it. You can listen to music, or podcasts (or Hugh) all night long instead of turning on your bedside clock radio at 4am and waking your husband while you drift off back to sleep and he listens to The World Business Report from the BBC.
You’d think that would put me to sleep but it doesn’t.
The mindbender hasn’t arrived yet so we can’t report on whether it works but soon we won’t need to watch zombie flicks because our entire household will be shuffling around under inexplicable and possibly dangerous head vibes.
Robinson won’t listen to Hugh. She’s scared of what he might do to her, and besides she wants me to have my own friends, even if they’re imaginary, and not much fun.
I accept her reluctance partly because the vision of us lying side by side on the bed in a quiet room and drifting off to sleep feels a bit Jonestown.
And someone has to feed Nina.