Distractions; a guide to escaping toxic relationships. 


But the thing is, I couldn’t be anybody, or potentially have a child with somebody, who could abandon his child. That was my personal boundary, and I had finally found it.
-Tiffany Haddish-
The Last Black Unicorn

You guys. This isn’t about absent fathers. I wanted to quote the part about boundaries but I couldn’t do it without context.

***
You are watching New Girl at one am on a school night. You can’t fall asleep because every time you close your eyes you remember something he did and your throat is dry from all the crying you’ve done today alone. Besides, Schmidt is hella funny. Your phone chimes, it’s a text from him.

Hey you. I love you. I miss you, have a good night.

You throw your phone against the wall. Your nose is on fire and your legs are trembling. How dare he? What part of your frayed heart is that text supposed to mend? Does he even know how to love people? You should ask him that. You go to pick up your phone and right there on the phone screen, is an accurate representation of your soul; darkness and a big ass crack.

Do you even know how to love people?
*Delete*

Do you realise how insulting this is? Thinking some generic text is going to erase years of emotional abuse?

*Delete*
He really is a good guy, he didn’t mean to hurt you.

I know you don’t do it on purpose, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

*Delete*
At this point, you’re not even sure he gives two shits about your feelings.

I’m so tired of your bullshit.

*Delete*
You don’t want to aggravate him. You want him to reply. Because when all is said and done, he’s the best relationship you’ve had. You just want to talk it out. Because maybe, just maybe, if he sees how badly he’s hurt you, he’ll remember he loves you and will stop doing it.

Hey. I love you. Do you think you can make time to talk?

*Send*
You both know he isn’t going to reply. Not tonight, not in the next few days.

Your thumb is bleeding when you lock your screen and put it under your pillow. Like everything else you’ve done today, you think if you can just bandage it, if you can avoid aggravating it, maybe it’ll stop hurting. Either way, your pillow is wet and you have a headache when you wake up three hours later.

***
You’re seated at a restaurant, pretending to read a book but mostly using it to hide involuntary tears. He should have been here an hour ago. You knew he’d be late. You want to choke it up to human error but deep down, you know it’s because he doesn’t value your time. He knows you’ll be there, smiling, when he shows up two hours later, just like you’ve been there for years when he’s disrespected and taken you for granted.
You text your friend:

Do you remember when Schmidt was planning his wedding but he was burnt out so he had to hand Jess his flash drive full of wedding ideas? “Do not reach for it like you’re Winston reaching for a woman’s breast!” I die.😂😂😂

You are laughing so hard, you’re out of breath when he shows up, him, the other reason you’ve been so out of breath lately. He’s with his with friend and without even realizing it, you’re already shrinking yourself to take up only as much space as a third-wheel should.
You speak three words the entire time.
No when he asks you if you want to go somewhere else. You picked this corner table for a reason, damnit!
No when he says you hope he doesn’t mind that he brought along his friend to this private conversation you had to beg him to have.
No when he jokingly asks you to foot the bill.
You pay your share of the bill and when he hugs you and says it was fun hanging out with you, you want to kick him in his balls. Instead you smile and ask him to call you later. You know he won’t. You know you’ll stay up all night waiting for him to.

Schmidt cramped at an anti-gang initiative.

***

Schmidt is cheating on Cece and Elizabeth. Cece found out.

If you take anything from this, know I didn’t mean to hurt you.
Is that the best you can do Schmidt?

You finally told him how you felt. How loving him has drained you empty. He hasn’t spoken to you in three days. Even after all these years, that still blindsides you. It feels like a fat man is cheating on your chest.
You’re not even worth a text back. All the years you invested in him and in the end, you still don’t deserve a text back.

Schmidt’s new tailor sews like an army medic. He is not being overdramatic when he says he’d rather sit naked on a hot grill.

Your phone chimes. It’s Airtel telling you about the 1GB data bundle for Ksh.99. Your heart plummets. Your hands are shaking. You can feel a panic attack coming.

Please just text me back, even if it’s just to let me know we’re done.
*sent*
Silence. Screeching, deafening silence.

You suspect that if you were done, he wouldn’t even have the courtesy to tell you. He’d just let you figure it out for yourself.

Schmidt wants to know in what scenario did Winston only touch one of a certain girl’s breasts.

Your phone chimes.

You and I can never be done.

It feels more like prison sentence than an assurance.

You’re not enough. Everything you did and somehow, you’re still not enough. 

Schmidt’s is wondering how Winston doesn’t know if he’s made love to a woman.

***
Here’s the thing about love, you assume it’s mutually exclusive with hurt.
He can love you more than life itself but it doesn’t mean he won’t hurt you.
And the thing about heartbreak is you could be busy as fuck, minding your own business, battling your demons, when this smile like feels like home struts up to you. Before you know it, years have gone by and most of your nights are spent howling at your pillow, clutching your chest wondering why it feels like a bottomless pit of fiery hell.

I’m not a ride or die kind of girl. I refuse to gauge my loyalty by how much bullshit I let slide.

Schmidt’s first name is Winston.

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