by Fabrice Bourgelle


I have a friend, who coughs quite alot. He doesn’t cough nearly as much as he used to. He’s not ill, there’s nothing wrong with him. But he coughs loudly now and then to express things that language fails to convey, or that social restraints keep out of reasonable reach.

Some years ago, professionals taught me, trained me in fact, in the belief that my friend was coughing for my sake. I was instilled with the firm belief that this tick was a display of aggression, aimed at getting under my skin, on my nerves, into my head.

I don’t recall, come to think of it, actually asking my friend, if this was the case.

Fascinating to observe in oneself, is the tendency to place oneself at the centre of any scenario, and the willingness to favour negativity as a cause for something that is in actual effect entirely harmless.

I have no doubt that my friend suffered for the uncountable harmful aspects of the treatment he received, or failed to receive, on many levels, for the sake of this false, unrealistic, self-obsessed and cowardly belief.

Here we have an example where the ill effects of malignancy or aggression have been needlessly manufactured even in the absence of any actual original ill-intention. I wonder how many examples of this there are.

It’s been pointed out to me, that all behaviour is in some way communication, and that as such it deserves respect, or at the very least, an attempt at understanding, or interpretation. Anyone with an argument against this fact is encouraged to contact me here.

My personal point here, though, is that I consider myself complicit in this action, for believing, and blindly trusting the word of those who first named an aggressor. In the act of believing, we are ourselves responsible.

Through recognising this, I might be encouraged to question an emphatic insistence of a person’s basic malign intention, the next time I come across one (for come across one I’m confident I shall).

Hopefully so, anyway. As aside from this meagre gift, all else I will have earned from this error will be the tendency, still, to feel as if I’m under attack, anytime someone near me clears their throat.