L’esprit d’escalier (literally, staircase wit) is a French term used in English that describes the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late.
So about four months ago, I wrote an email to a guy I used to be quite fond of, and he wrote back. At the time, it seemed we’d said what needed to be said, and I was comfortable trying to move on from the whole thing.
But, if you’ve been reading this here blahhhhg, you’ll know that I’ve been doing some work on self-blame lately, and damned if what he wrote to me doesn’t stick in my craw something fierce.
Because: We dated for a year. A year of hanging out and drinking in bars and spending time together in our respective houses and going out and doing things and having lots and lots of what was, quite frankly, amazing and unprecedented sex. For a goddamned year.
And that whole time, he was embarrassed by me? Afraid to let me around the other people in his life that he cared about? I was good enough to fuck but not good enough to bring around his friends? For a year?
Let me tell you, the audience, and you, the guy who isn’t reading this (but whose network of little gnomes probably are) what my life was like during that year. I was losing my shit. Pretty much the whole time. My life was made up of three things: The Boy, numbness, and panic. I was not well. The drugs I was on to help my depression had turned me into a numb, panicky zombie who couldn’t function or even manage to leave the house very often, at least not when it was light out. I’d dropped out of school because I couldn’t sit still. I’d alienated a lot of my friends. I slept all day and stayed up all night and was making art with my own blood and was completely, balls-out obsessed with The Boy. Yes indeed.
He would have been entirely correct to have run the other way. He would have been more than justified in never seeing me again. But he didn’t stay away. He kept on having (crazy, wonderful) sex with me. He kept seeing me. For a year, until I deliberately sabotaged things so he’d stop coming around for free sex and emotional torture.
What the fuck does that say about him?
I might be crazy, dear readers, but I am not and have never been that much of an asshole.