Noun: a French term used in English to describe the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late.
This is where I got inspiration for my letter to Lornaigh. Ugh God, I am such a crying mess tonight. In my letter I said I found things she wanted to put up that she had written out long hand. This was one of them.
Note: Lorna calls Gearoid a 'shem' a few times in this. It has different meanings in different countires but where we're from it means a mate or someone you care about.
This is something I wrote pretty much on whim. My best guy friend/boyfriend/person with a penis who I deeply care about, Gearoid, last week died after being braindead for four days. He had been walking home from his mate's house, completely sober and sane and everything (he is teetotal, non smoking and a good little Catholic boy), and some dicks in a car thought it would be funny if they rammed his skull several times into a nearby tree. He stopped breathing when they got on the scene but he was put on life support (artificial everything; he was basically gone when they got him) and after that his parents/ family / friends thought it best if he was put off the machine. He took one last shaky little breath and then his heart just stopped. I was there with him. He was the first person I ever loved, and the first person I'd ever seen die right in front of me.
Although he lived in Belfast and had a godawful Irish name, he was originally from Sicily in the Mezzogiorno (Italy) and so his funeral was along the guidelines of Italian traditional ones. At the end of the mass everyone close to him made a speech about him. There were light hearted ones, serious ones, recants of his childhood, his short life. I went last, after agonizing days of making sure my speech was perfect. His dad said happily, a little hoarsely; 'his girlfriend, Lornaigh, is gonna speak next; she's a writer, it's gonna be good!' I got up from the pew, my legs all jelly - like, and proceeded to the pulpit. This is what I wrote.
I was rather proud of it. In Italian culture, you don't speak about the dead person after their funeral because you don't want to jinx their spirit. That's fine for me; I can barely talk without him. So I wrote.
I don't want sympathy from you guys, I'd just liek to see what you think of the piece. I also don't want some cunt saying 'this isn't MCR don't shit up our category' because my mates are here and well fuck off.
Yes, I do curse in this. I was not in any way trying to be rude and/or vulgar at his funeral, but in the place I come from, swearing is knitted into someone's natural speech. May other people swore too, I was not being a bitch. There is also slight weird humour in this because I was trying to lighten my own spirits.
My best to the di Mesrocetti family; like my second fucking home.
xo lorna n.i.
l'espirit de l'escalier: a French term used in English to describe the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late
Oh, hon. There is so much to say and so little time to say it.
I can't believe you're not with me anymore. I...I don't really know when this suddenly went wrong.
I remember coming from school with you that morning, just talking about something dorky and geeky like how you aced that maths test and how I probably got zero/no grade and we were walking near the Ravenhill Stadium and you made a joke about American football being a gay version of rugby with padding and I laughed and you laughed and oh God it was good. I have this horrible girlish shriek that sounds like a cat getting strangled while playing the violin but you had the most beautiful laugh ever. It was so light and sunny, so pretty. That sounds weird for a dude but there you are. I could listen to your laugh all damn day, that nerdish giggle.
So we were walking and then you were going to soccer or something unimportant like that, and you told me you were going to Adam's tonight to study for the French exam on Monday and I agreed and then we fought over we were gonna watch at home tonight; Pulp Fiction or The Godfather. You were vehemently against the latter because oh Lorna it's so racist and no Scilian actually talks like that and whatever.
So we were saying goodbye or whatever and we hugged and I got that stupid flipping thing in my stomach. Y'know, that really gay thing in the Stephanie Meyer novels where the pale chick with the anxiety issues always freaks her shit when she hugs the sparkly vampire? Yeah, like that. I don't know how to desribe it. Well done. Fair play, mate, making the writer unable to desribe stuff. That's what I do for a living and I get one hug and then bam! I'm as bad as that Meyer one.
Mmm...I dunno. You felt warm or something. I'm not one of those girls who shows off her arm candy and squeals when you show up and talk about you endlessly but yeah. Warm-take it as a compliment, love, that's a good thing considering May in Belfast is as cold as Siberia in December and about as rainy too. You smelled so good; like vanilla and cream. I had to kind of stand on you to reach up - I am like 5'3''/5'4'' and you were 6'4''/6'5''- but it felt good, I suppose. I always prefered hugs to kisses; I don't get what's so damn romantic about swapping spit with someone. I always like wrapping your arms around someone, be they your signifigant other, your parent, or even your cat, because it shows you're depending on them or something.
Sorry. I'm not so good with describing the whole *gestures awkwardly with hands* romantic thing. I normally write about violence and death and happy bunny things like that.
And we were hugging tightly, looking like a right pair of tools, on the side of Ravenhill and it was like pseudo-hipster romance at it's best. I was in my school uniform with my skirt down to my ankles (I am not a whore our uniform is ankle-length) and you were in your horrendous looking rugby kit and there were the murals behind us with anti-war slogans and some picture picture of Bush with horns drawn on it. And normally I'd be chattering my ass off, about something like Radiohead or cats or how I should call my next cat Radiohead, and you'd nod and laugh or whatever, tolerating my weirdness. And I was quiet that day, I don't know why. Some chav passed us and muttered something about getting a fecking room but hey, chavs'll be chavs, eh?
And then people were showing up to the stadium so I guess we kinda broke apart because it's a little awkward when your girlfriend is just kinda there. I kinda walked away awkwardly and said something about feeding Atticus or something and you did something weird.
You pulled me back and you kind of kissed my cheek (fecking up my foundation in the process, but hey whatever) and you like smiled like such a dork and I could feel your quiff against my cheek (you told me you were trying to resemble Morrissey in the Kill Uncle years, and you did quite succeed in it) and you said something in my ear. It kinda took me a while to figure out you weren't speaking English, and it's like, yeah Lornaigh, well freaking done, he speaks two other languages, God like.
And so I kinda nodded at you and smiled and didn't say anything back, y'know? Because I didn't know what you said. You looked a little hurt but you smiled and walked away, blowing me a kiss while I was stupid enough not to dwell on what you had said. My total ignorance on the subject, despite me writing a story about Italy for six months, was so painful.
I was walking home, all happy because it was Friday and movie night and Kath and Alicia and Aislinn were coming over to have the weekly low-down on the girls in our class. (We go to an all-girls school; of course we are bitches.) And we were watching Criminal Minds and fangirling squealing over Reid with a tea-cup and I totally forgot to ask Kath what you had said. She had done Italian for three years and so well...before I met you, Gearoid, I knew like two words in Italian: 'ciao' and 'pizza'.
But I forgot because I'm a tool and I was at home, watching the news or something and then I got that phone call. That phone call no one wants to get. It's like, I was just hearing about how David Cameron is pledging to save the world (or something, I just think he looks like a tanned egg, that man has a forehead the size of a runway) and then, fuck, the hospital was ringing and asking me if I knew what had happened....*sniffle* and I broke down, Gearoid. I'm nearly eighteen, of legal age now and I'm expected to be mature and stuff. I'm meant to be adult and grown up and not make stupid jokes and not cry. But I did. I couldn't help it.
I'd never seen someone like that before. I had briefly viewed it on shows like ER and House about people in comas, but I never thought I'd see you all pale and deathly, still, not moving. It was so weird; you were braindead and the proof was just a tiny yellowish bruise on your forehead.
I don't mean to bring in school but remember how ages ago we had to read that Seamus Heaney poem, 'Mid Term Break'? It says something like 'no gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear' and then it says about the poppy bruise on the temple. I thought of that when I saw you. My baby, connected with tubes and depending on machines for sustaining your life.
I want you to know I didn't fucking leave your bedside for four days. I probably looked a right sight because I had come in my pyjamas, shem (an old Misfits shirt and Invader Zim pants) but I stayed with you and I talked to you because I couldn't stand not being there. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I couldn't think straight. I think I even bitched out a few nurses who tried to muscle in the room, I'd snap at them to eff off or something.
And hell yeah, I talked to you. It was fairly trivial at first; how Stone Roses were coming back on tour and hey what did you get for question five on the Latin test because I totally bluffed? I must have looked practically insane, chattering away to you when your mind was frozen, when your brain wasn't even working anymore. I knew, of course I knew you were gone already; I may suck at Biology but I do know the basics. But I think I couldn't really accept that. Not now.
The last day, the fourth day, I suppose I was in the accepting stage. I kinda got a pen and a pad and I wrote like eight possible eulogies for you; I'd write them and then look over them and see how much they'd sucked, and I've never worked so hard on anything, Gearoid. My God, I worked like for twelve hours straight. I finally had the right one and finished it about an hour before they turned it off. I don't think I've ever been so upset to see someone gasp in my life.
I had never envisioned that before. I heard this terrible noise, this weak rasping thing, coming from your chest, you kinda blinked and then oh my God, you were gone. I collasped on your brother and probably killed the guy but I couldn't help it. I never thought I'd be the one giving your eulogy, Gearoid. And if I was, it would be when I'm old and happy with my life, not when we're both as young as this. It honestly never occured to me I would be giving this speech now, seeing you all pale and silent, your hands clasped together, in that box.
If I got you back right now, if God decided to stop, well....playing God, and just fling you back down from wherever you are, I don't think I'd break down and sob, I don't think I'd say something really corny or gay. I think I'd return you the words you said to me on that afternoon, the last time I'd look into those chocolatey eyes, the last time I'd be remotely near you, even if it was near you in your sweaty mankey rugby gear.
Because, Gearoid, at the time I didn't know what those words meant. I don't mean in a I'd-have-to-find-myself-I-have-not-yet-experienced-the-feeling cringey sorta way, but that I literally did not understand what you were talking about. English is my second language; before that it's Irish, and I speak Latin pretty much fluently. But I don't speak Italian, and I never have, I was just researching for my story and I guess I didn't remember what they meant. Forgive me, hon, I'm a bit on the dim side somtimes, obviously I took my dumbass pills that morning. I don't think I really put two plus two together and gathered that you would actually speak Italian...being from Italy.
And I didn't even know until I Googled Translated it yesterday. And to be honest, Gearoid, it gave me a really bittersweet feeling. Half stupidity that I didn't know what the phrase was after (Rihanna has a song after it, yanno) and then...oh Jesus, bliss, I guess. That made me real fucking happy. It made me feel like the time we hugged outside the stadium and my stomach did that retarded flipping thing. So, if you can please bear with my horrendous pronunciation of your language....
....*big old fat sniffle* ti amo, Gearoid.
See ya around, ya old romantic sap.