"Pierre Connard" was — and doubtless remains — one of those wretched manchildren who is tolerable only because his wretchedness is so clearly borrowed from some book by some guy whose excuse was, "it was satire, silly!" A French, status-obsessed, fashionable freeloader, he met Abigail in grad school during the summer his grandmother died. They spent the following year inseparable, until he decided she wasn't quite wrenchingly beautiful enough or some shit, stopped having sex with her... and moved into her apartment. The next year she finished her master's thesis while he lived off her groceries and accumulated several hundred dollars in debt to her. In April he abruptly left for France, leaving 12 boxes of crap he'd later ask Abigail to mail to him and totally lost all contact. In August, a week or so after the boxes magically disappeared from her house — he'd conned some friend into picking them up — Abigail received this Facebook epic. It is longer than the usual crap email, almost like the beginnings of some sort of novel. Title idea: "Not That Profundis."

Dearest Abigail, I could start this email by telling how foolish I was not to have given news for the last month and a half or so, how terrible I feel about having excluded you from my life for so long, how wrong I was all along but I guess it would not make you feel any better. I will simply ask you to try to forgive my truly despicable behaviour of the last month and I will give you an explanation. I don't even know where to start. I'm not sure there is actually a logical start to what happened to me or more precisely, what went through my mind. All I can say for sure is that it is not at all related to you and I would not want you to believe that I'm mad at you or that we are not talking to each other anymore. It is very legitimate for you to wonder whether I'm upset at you but the only thing I would like you to be sure of is that I'm not in any way mad at you. Confusion is the only word which comes to my mind to define the two latest months of my life. I came to Paris saddened to have left Chicago and a life I was starting to truly enjoy. After the turmoil of the first term, and after a rather rough end of year, I was coming to terms with my daemons, and I was glad to be such a close friend of yours. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it felt like we had become great friends and our relationship had matured a lot. I arrived in Paris with one thing in mind: going back to U.S. as soon as possible. I will always remember my first day at Mars, Co. and how things changed drastically from that moment onward. I'm not sure how much I told you about those first weeks so please forgive me if I repeat myself. On my first morning at Mars I met that extraordinary girl Sandrine with whom I was and still am sharing an office with. Don't get me wrong: I don't mean extraordinary in "I fancy that girl" way but in a "she's awesome" way. I knew instantly that she was the kind of person I would love to be friend with and our relationship quickly evolved to that stage. She soon kindly offered me to live at her place and we shortly ended up spending all our time together. Yet, regardless of how strange it may sound, she is also not the reason of my silence or confusion. Weeks went by and things were getting better each day in Paris. I was feeling more and more at home and I must have unconsciously started wondering what it would be like to stay there after my internship. In a nutshell, I was feeling somehow less inclined to go back to the U.S. for a masters. But that was just a thought and I did not take it seriously. At the end of May, on the 31st to be accurate, Sandrine decided to introduce me to her friends. She invited all of us to dinner in a lovely little restaurant, not far away from her place. Six people attended: Claudia, Odille, Etienne, Rafael, Sandrine and I. It was at first weird and slightly awkward to meet most of her friends at once, but as the evening progressed, this initial maladroitness disappeared and we ended up having a lovely time in a Parisian bistro. Things could have been fine, had the following events not happened. A few days later, while I was in Provence, both Odille and Etienne added on their msn contact list and we started chatting. We first casually talked about our lives, and the conversation soon became ambiguous and flirtatious to say the least. What I initially thought to be inconsequential banter quickly turned out to be a very dangerous game, albeit very silly and immature. I came from Provence to Paris that night, feeling foolishly restless. I could not help but thinking about what had been said that afternoon and instead laughing about it I was both confused and childishly thrilled. I did not sleep much and the more I thought about it, the least rational it seemed. The following week proved to be crucial. Sandrine had planned a dinner party at her place on the Thursday night. She became sick and it had to be cancelled. I nonetheless decided to pay her a visit with a bowl of hot soup. As I was taking her of Sandrine, someone knocked on the door and I was surprised to find Etienne waiting outside. He obviously had the same idea and had decided to come to Sandrine's to take care of her. But instead of looking after her, we started chitchatting and soon selfishly forgot about her. She fell asleep, rather understandably mad at us. As we were about to leave her place, I offered Etienne to walk him home. I don't know what went through my mind, what pushed me to tempt him back... mild attraction is only rational explanation. Still, it doesn't fully explain why, after having been terribly rude to a friend, I decided to irrationally flirt back with a guy I barely knew. What had to happen next happened, and we spent the rest of night kissing outdoors. A week after our initial encounter, I found myself kissing a man without being able to rationalise it. I hadn't seen it coming. As you might imagine, I was utterly confused and from then on, things got a bit out of control. Instead of talking to Sandrine about it, Etienne and I decided to hide what had happened from her. That was the first of many mistakes to be made. Etienne was and still is in a long term relationship with Rafael and Sandrine and I had then a very new friendship. We thought it was best to keep her uninformed, as she might not have understood why Etienne was cheating on his boyfriend with a straight guy whom she had just met and had gotten close to quickly. The following day, Etienne picked me up from work and took me to the train station: what could have been inconsequential kisses, was now becoming something else and I left Paris for London completely lost, feeling guilty while wanting more. I spent a very nerve racking week-end in London and even though Etienne and I phoned each other quite regularly I hadn't had time to fully integrate what had happened over the last 48 hours. I came back to Paris on the Sunday night, still confused, but determine to clear things up. I hadn't told any of my friends by then and I was feeling burdened. When Sandrine asked me if anything was going on between Etienne and I, I immediately denied that something was happening, and I went from hiding to lying, thus rejecting the great opportunity she had given me to clarify the situation... I still don't know now why you I didn't seize the chance she had given me, especially after she had told me that she would be fine if I were interested in seeing her friend. I thought that things couldn't get more complicated... but I was again proved wrong. Sandrine organized a big party on that Thursday as a friend of hers was leaving Paris for the U.S. Agnes, Etienne, Rafael, Odille and I were amongst the guests. It was the second time I was seeing Etienne after my London escapade and I was dreading the moment of seeing in public surrounded by mutual friends and his boyfriend. The first part of the evening went relatively smoothly. We ignored each other while socializing with the rest of the crowd. Rafael left early on in the evening and from that moment onwards we started fooling around again, kissing in dark corners when people had their backs turned, like stupid teenagers. The more it was happening, the more I was losing control, and abandoning myself to an unknown confusing feeling, while being perfectly aware that I was a cheat and a liar. We didn't get caught: it felt as if we had been given one more chance to at least stop lying to Sandrine who deserved to know the truth... Sandrine left the following morning for Africa for a long week-end, leaving me alone in Paris. Just a few minutes before she boarded on the plane, she sent me a text message saying that her little sister had told her everything and that she felt betrayed and was not sure she wanted to talk to me ever again. She then turned her phone off for the whole week-end, leaving me with a message that should have, in normal circumstances, scared me and stopped that silly dangerous game I had been playing. Instead, I phoned Etienne and we agreed to tell her everything when she was back from Africa. Instead of agreeing not to see each other up until then, we decided to convene at his place in the evening. I rushed out of work, both anxious and terrified at the idea of spending time with someone I both liked very much and partially blamed for the recent destructive series of events. The minute I saw him, I knew we would make love and I(we) had lost all sense of rationality. I felt somehow compelled to kiss him, to give myself fully to him, and at that point, nothing rational could have stopped me. I like to think of myself as a fairly reasonable person and up until then I had never let go to that extent. We had passionate destructive sex all night long. He came to the airport with me the following morning and kissed me goodbye before I boarded to Provence. I spent most of my week-end dwelling upon the events of the last days. I couldn't deny that I obviously had enjoyed myself. Yet, I was most feeling overwhelmed, sad, burdened, guilty and lost. I then decided that whatever was happening between him and me should stop and that, if I were to decide whether I was bisexual, it had to happen in better circumstances ( i.e. not with someone in a relationship, and not lying to my friends about it). I was glad to see that Etienne agreed with me and that he was feeling terrible for having lied to his friend and lover. He told me that he might be falling for me and that he knew that the longer it lasted, the more we would get hurt. I thought by then that part of my problems were solved and that I now had to work things out with Sandrine. As I was going to sleep, I received a phone call from Etienne. Surprised, I picked up. He came with a weird favour and I shouldn't have accepted. He asked me whether we could spend one week-end together in the mountains"to give us a chance to properly say goodbye" to another, to end this story "on a positive note". Don't get me wrong: I already knew by then that it was a terrible suggestion and I should never have agreed to it. Nonetheless, and in spite of all signs pointing towards the opposite direction, I decided to go for it and booked us plane tickets to for the Alps following week-end. The week went by quickly. Sandrine admirably found the strength to forgive me and was being very understanding given the circumstances. She rightly told me that she had felt used and manipulated and that she was willing to be forgiving once but not twice. I was all the more impressed as she didn't know me well. I foolishly accepted to have lunch with Odille, one of Sandrine's friends, unconsciously knowing that it was more of "date" lunch that a "regular" meeting between friends. When I told Sandrine about it, she went furious, and decided not speak to me until I had returned from the idiotic getaway with Etienne. The week-end in the mountains was excruciating. I was torn between reason and passion. The break-up was too recent not to feel attracted to him and we soon got lost into each others' arms. I don't really know what to think of what happened over the next 48 hours. It was both sensational and inadequate. I'm not going to deny that I had a fantastic time. Yet, I knew that the more time we would spend together, the more difficult it would be for us to part... We talked about it on the morning and for once we both decided to be reasonable to stop seeing each other for a while, to both give us time to fall out of love. When I came back to Paris, I told Sandrine that I should act accordingly to my promises... I haven't seen Etienne since then. Sandrine has slowly regained trust in me. And I'm left with many unanswered questions, plenty of doubts, and a half-broken heart. I still don't understand what happened to me. I still don't fathom my motives. I certainly do have ups and downs and I'm more subject to mood swings than usual. I'm gradually going back to some sort of normality. I'm still attracted to girls which probably mean that I'm bisexual. Yet, I have no real explanation: attraction/ lust/ desire/ love ? All of the above? I'm utterly sorry I treated you so badly. I'm not even going to try the "it's not my fault, I was lost or confused" argument. The truth is that I could have at any point told you and I'm sure that you'd have been understanding without being too inquisitive. You are a great friend my behaviour is truly despicable. I wish I had gotten in touch with you before. I wish I had at least let you know I was alive and fairly fine. But, I shut down, pushed you away when all you wanted to do was help. I sincerely regret it. I'm not sure there is much more I can do aside from asking you to forgive me if you can and promising you that I will do my best not to exclude you from my life in a similar way. I'm sorry, please forgive me There is much more I need to tell you. And I don't really know how to explain it to you, but here's a try. I hope you will understand my doubts... I am sincerely sorry... I love you, Pierre