Éclat de rire


Content warning: potential misgendering, kink, drugging, PTSD

Me: Do you want to try limeade?

Bodhi: What’s limeade?

Me: Like lemonade, but with limes.

Bodhi: Oh, so it’s lemons –

Anaïs: No. It’s lime-ade.

I have a habit of calling people “girl,” but “girl” is, after all, a gendered term, so when it slipped out as I was talking to a nonbinary person, I asked if that was okay.

“Any term of endearment is fine,” they said. They then added, “It’s always awkward dating nonbinary, masc-presenting people and asking if I can call them ‘daddy.’ Like, I feel bad about possibly misgendering them, but...”

After I caught my breath from laughing so hard, I added, “I understand the need. I’ve been a dom, and I’m seeing this guy who wants to be treated as a sub, but he is so good at being the opposite that I feel bad not giving him what he wants.”

The other day, I’m talking to my two friends, the writers who were my favorite regulars at the café I used to work at. I’ll nickname them Goofy and Galba.

Goofy likes to gab, and when he gets into a story, he goes on for a while. He starts telling this half-funny, half-ranty story about the time his roommate offered him a brownie without telling him it was a pot brownie. Yadda yadda yadda it made him sick, he got a bad high, it pissed him off because he felt violated.

Anyway, this story takes him an (sidenote: normally an endearing quirk ) to tell. As it goes on and on, I feel more and more tense.

I should shut him up – he would want me to, if he knew – but he doesn’t know, and I don’t feel like explaining. I don’t feel like shutting him up over something he thinks is (relatively) innocuous. I don’t feel like having to remember what happened to me in the first place.

So, it’s one of those situations where it’s easier to deal with discomfort for a little bit rather than make a stink.

And that’s, basically, life with PTSD.

When the story’s done, I feel as relieved as I would after drinking an untainted glass of cold water on a hot day.

“Stoners, am I right?” he gripes. “Like, who does something like that?”

“Tell me about it.”

Anaïs and I were sitting in the Student Center, working on our laptops, and a girl who I’ll nickname Puppy joined us.

Puppy has a habit of blurting random things out, which is normally adorable, but the other day when she started going on – in detail – about serial killers, it was incredibly uncomfortable.

I put my hand up, and before I could finish saying “Please stop,” she slapped it, thinking I was going for a high five.

She had a big smile on her face. Overall, she’s one of those people who are so innocent, it hurts.

In class the other day, we were discussing The Great Gatsby, and I realized that the only things that stuck with me are the descriptions of

Anaïs thought I was crazy. She started reminding me of Gatsby’s backstory and funeral, and I was like, “Wait, what? Gatsby had a dad?”