by Giselle Renarde
I hope this will be my last post about my ex, but I suspect it won't be. I ended that shitshow a decade ago, but he won't let it die.
Why won't he let it die?
For those who need a recap, I met this man in high school. He was my teacher: a very depressed, very married man. I thought I could cure him with my newfound sexual prowess. Cure him of the sadness that shrouded him. Cure him of his marriage, too.
None of that happened, of course. Fucking your students doesn't cure depression.
This guy was raised in a very religious family, and that's the sort of thing you never shake. He felt super-guilty about surrendering to the temptation that was young Giselle. Now I realize he was using the guilt around having sex with me as a form of self-flagellation. I think he got more fulfillment from the guilt than he got from the sex.
And that's saying something, because I was awesome in bed.
After a decade or two of reflection on what I once considered a relationship, my opinion on that whole situation is a lot less rosy than it once was. My opinion has changed even since I wrote Audrey and Lawrence, a short story collection based loosely on us.
He was my teacher. I was not an adult when we met.
I was looking for a father figure. I told him that in words.
My parents were divorced and my own father had fallen off the map by that point. Turns out he was incarcerated. For the "criminal harassment" of an 18-year-old girl. My sister spirit, somewhere out there. I don't know who she is, but I hope that in her lonely hours she feels my kindred heart in hers.
My ex didn't want to be a father figure to me. He told me that in words.
I don't want to make any outright accusations, but I was young. If it wasn't abuse, it bordered on abuse. That's hard for me to say, having participated in the proceedings as ravenously as I did. For many years, I felt like I caused it. I certainly asked for it. But a mature adult in a position of power knows where to draw the line, and a big part of me wishes he'd done that. It's not impossible to fend off a teenager, even a starving one.
It boils down to the fact that I was young. I need to be able to forgive myself for stuff I did when I was practically a child. Adults always called me an old soul when I as a kid, but that didn't make me old. Didn't even make me mature. I had a lot of responsibilities heaped on my head. That's different.
I was inexperienced. I thought I knew everything, but that just shows how very susceptible I was.
A couple years ago, some stuff came through my letterbox. My ex had entered my building. He'd come right up to my door to hand-deliver this weird work of "fiction" about us.
I ran it through the paper shredder.
Part of me wishes I hadn't just because I would love to be able to quote it right now. I read very little of it, but it seemed to be about how he was totally going to leave his wife for me right before I ended things, but, you know, stuff kept happening or whatever. It was never a good time.
But, like, when is the right time to leave your wife for your mistress?
Probably never, just an educated guess.
He wasn't shy about showcasing his ongoing feelings for me. Keep in mind I hadn't spoken to the man in YEARS. After I ended it, he kept sending me shit, like Christmas cards and birthday cards and emails on the anniversary of the final time we had sex (gawd, don't remind me!). It was not comfortable.
But coming into my building? No. Just no. Enough. Move on. Find another student to fuck or get some therapy or something. I don't care. Just don't involve me in your life please and thank you.
My girlfriend is good with diplomatic stuff. You can probably tell my reaction would be something along the lines of "Fuck the fuck off, you fucking fuck." But I wanted to be a grown-up after all these years, so Sweet wrote this email for me to send:
After all this time the gifts, the cards and your presence make me uncomfortable. Please stop sending things, stay away and please do not come to my building again.
His response was as follows:
It saddens me greatly to acquiesce.
He later sent this:
I know I pledged no cards, no books, no visits. Unanswered, this will also be the last e-mail.
I'm sure you'll be shocked when I tell you that was bullshit, because on my birthday this turd hit my inbox:
I know I promised no cards, but e-mails you can ignore. I truly do hope you have a very happy birthday. I have spent years regretting 2008 (and indecisions of much of 2007, 06, 05, 04...) and cannot believe I may never see you again.
Oh my fucking lord. Dude. Dude! Where do I even begin with this?
First and most obvious: you MAY never see me again? No, darling. No. You are guaranteed to never see me again. A person who respects my wishes would keep their promise to leave me the fuck alone. Let me get on with my life. You are not part of it. You never should have been, but I can't change the past. I can, however, change the future, and that means no contact with your sorry ass.
I always got off on this self-pity stuff when I was young. Probably because there was a bit of my father in it. My father was a hard-core alcoholic to his dying day, and when you're a kid you want more than anything to cure that affliction in your parent. My ex pretty much drank himself into a stupor every night too. I wasn't around to see it, so I thought it didn't affect me.
Silly silly young Giselle. The impact was great.
I really thought I could cure this man by listening to his troubles and being a saucy little minx and feeling so superior to his cold cold wife who didn't understand him. I couldn't let myself see that I was really trying to heal my father, heal my family, heal myself.
That's messed up, even for an adult to reflect upon. Way too much for my teen and young twenty-something brain.
I sound really worked up about all this, which might lead you to think it's been weighing heavily on my mind. It hasn't, to be honest. When that email came in, I showed it to my girlfriend, we discussed, and then it kind of fell out of my brain until I noticed that this week's topic involved broken promises.
He said he would stop and he didn't.
That's a broken promise you don't recover from.