a vapid pleaser/ catherine lacey

After a few weeks of failure, I told Christopher I couldn't do his project, that I didn't have it in me, and he said I'd ruined his entire thesis and wasted his time. I didn't know you were such a vapid pleaser, he said. I asked him what he meant and he said, You know, one of those women who want male approval so badly they go along with whatever a man asks them but ultimately end up failing because they never think about what they actually want. It was a beautiful autumn day and we were standing in front of the old library, the concrete steps strewn with students. My veins dilated. I said, I didn't know you could be one of those pretentious assholes who think they have a right to something just because they have one stupid idea, you skeezy fuck. I had never felt so large and small at the same time. I didn't recognize my own voice and words. Shame and pride swirled together in a way that felt animal, so I darted away from him. I was still new to this kind of adrenaline, the immediate release of anger instead of gnawing on it like overdue gum.

~ Catherine Lacey, The Answers/ p. 31.

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