Chapter 20 - Deprivation

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He had already showed up for a couple days at a time, twice since 'to get his things'. Jerremee used a promise that Valentina had made to him when they moved there: that he could live there as long as he needed to if he had no where else to live. Because they still jointly owned the land of the field 'that he had generously paid for out of his hard earned money', he claimed that he could insist she buy him out, or stop the animals from grazing it. His threats didn't make sense, but with Jerremee being a solicitor, she knew he had the upper hand. As with Martin Martin, he also had legal access to the dirt lane next to the little cottage to get to the field and a building permit that she herself had garnered early on. The last thing she needed was for him to show up and start building a house right next to her to spite her; it would be typical of him. (And somehow he would be able to find the money to do it.) She had to keep quiet.

She prayed he wouldn't turn up. The previous week when he was there, he looked sweaty and shaky. His hair was standing on end, rather than simply sticking up as usual and he had an extreme, crazy, even more inhuman than usual look in his eyes that was much worse than his ordinary put-on, crazy, inhuman look. The new, extra crazy mood seemed not to dissipate as convincingly as usual. Even when he resumed his honest gentleman act, the crazy would be back rapidly, as if someone pushed a switch as soon as he got off the phone, or as if he were practicing for a part in a play as a madman.

He hadn't brought back any food, or lifted a shovelful of soil, to help with the goat's burial, but instead waited until Valentina had finished the arduous task, to surface from his room, claiming he had a fever. She had long lost any ability to have positive expectations of him, so didn't care that he hadn't helped her. She actually detested him so much, she was relieved he didn't try to help, because that would have required him to be near her. She accepted that he didn't understand feelings of true love, or sorrow but she had no patience left for his obnoxious irreverence, or equally sickening, over-the-top unctuous mimicry of being terribly emotionally distraught. All of this made Valentina react bitterly towards him in the extreme, which he secretly relished, because her being nasty (which had no worrying effect on him whatsoever, no matter what he pretended) only weakened her further and gave him the attention he craved.

The split personalities that she thought he had (or rather thought that he pretended to have, in order to exculpate himself of any guilt for his actions) were all coming out in force. For the sake of her own sanity and physical health, Valentina finally decided to ignore him altogether, no matter what he said whether it was annoying or entirely ordinary. He would just go into holier-than-thou saintly sermon –or alternatively his little boy display– bemoaning how unfair she was while he was such a good person. A half an hour or so later, the reasonable, trustworthy businessman would turn up for a couple hours while he made phone calls. But in between, he would explode into an apoplectic rage about something minor (nearly always because he had tripped himself up on something he was inwardly ashamed of. He would then spend several hours chatting to prospective 'clients' (i.e. lonely women in chat rooms) where he faked being kind, emotionally solvent, charming and wealthy too. Then he would imagine himself as a dominant alpha male character while he watched porn for a few hours (or else it would be documentaries on how experts caught sociopaths – presumably so he could fine tune his skills) before finally passing-out in his underwear, in the foetal position, full of dried cereal and vodka... It was his usual behaviour, but it was all escalated and occurring in much shorter, more extreme intervals.

He was supposed to be gone!

Supposedly unaware of what had happened, or that Valentina had been digging the large, metre deep hole in the hard, rocky earth over two days, he rushed to her concernedly: 'What had she been doing?! Why was she dirty?... If he had only had the SLIGHTEST SUSPICION that an animal had been ill! A woman shouldn't be doing such work!... Why hadn't she informed him???' Then he followed her around, impeding her from doing other work to get his attention fix. He was like one of those fast, unswattable summer flies that just couldn't understand there was nothing for him there – oblivious to the fact that hostile attention was actually a bad thing.

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