By this point in the Mr Weirdo saga, all the niceties that trick you into staying in the first place had evaporated.
Mr Weirdo wouldn’t touch me in public, if I brushed against him he would make a big show of flinching and rubbing the affected area with pantomime disgust. I had always been the more popular and I found myself pleading with the friends I had made at home whilst he lived on campus to like him. Just give him another chance, please. He doesn’t mean to be like this. I gave him every validation to treat me like dirt, and sadly once you do that it is extremely hard to go back.
He came back home after Uni and we both found ourselves unemployed in the epicentre of a huge recession. In the same breath Mr Weirdo would curse my mixed race heritage (“I can’t find a job because I’m a white priviliged male!”) and insult me all in one go (“You can’t find a job because you have no skills”). I used to do writing as a hobby. He told a group of friends I had recently met that my writing was “uninspired, all very much the same, dull” and I soon threw away much of the writing I had done at University with shame.
We started staying round his parents a lot. I suddenly found I didn’t want him around mine anymore, in hindsight it was my only refuge. He had another take on it of course (“They live in such a low class house, she prefers to stay here”). After a while, towards the last few months of the relationship, he sold the guest bed in his room for money. He turned down his mothers offer to buy a double bed. He would put a thin single sheet and a pillow on the floor. I would sleep there like a dog on the scratchy carpet whilst he slept above me in the remaining bed.
I lie. The dog had it’s own bed, so actually I was kind of worse off.
This is really hard for me to write. It’s so hard to acknowledge, even on an anonymous front.
He started cheating on me again, of course. With a girl I used to be friends with. This time he knew he didn’t need to conceal it. He would text her in front of me, giggling and hiding the phone. Sometimes he showed me her messages. “Aren’t you going to fight for me, then?” He laughed once.
I should have said no. I really wish I had.
I did start demanding he stop. It was humiliating. I would kick off in pubs and at nights out after he’d spent an hour goading me on. I’d call him every name under the sun and then burst into tears. He’d give a look to my friends, now his friends. Look what I have to put up with. Mad woman.
One time we were at a house party and he and the girl in question got drunk. They were all over each other to the point where even the other guests became uncomfortable and turned a blind eye. I sat, frosty in the corner, scowling over my drink.
“I’m going home” I hissed at him eventually. He scowled.
“What the hell is your problem? Lighten up, it’s a party” he said quietly.
I looked at the other girl and said, “You’re making a fool out of me and worse, a fool of yourself. You look like a fucking drunk idiot”
It was the first time I had really turned any proper venom on him and he looked shocked. I don’t think he knew what to do, really.
So he said, “Don’t talk to me like that” and slapped me across the face.
It wasn’t a hard slap, but it stung and made a sound enough for people to turn round. I always used to think people would rush to someones defense in such a scenario. Sad news is, they don’t. They are scared to get involved.
I had to get a lift off a person I didn’t really know, my cheek pink and my eyeliner running.
He only ever hit me again once. In our local high street when I made a joke at his expense about him taking a long time to get ready. It was more discreet, over the side of my face. Just enough to let me know I’d spoken out of turn, not enough to get in trouble with the people about town. Again, if anyone saw, they didn’t step in.
My medical records around these years show an increasing amount of urinary tact infections, anxiety, self harm, eating problems and depression. It was a phase, and my mother wished I would grow out of it and my doctors reassured her I would.
When I was a kid, I nearly drowned after getting stuck in a pool. I fought like crazy at first, but then after a while everything felt very still and calm. I stopped fighting and sort of accepted, this is it. I could see the lught coming through the top of the water and it was pretty, but I didn’t need it. Not meaning to sound melodramatic, but that’s how dating Mr Weirdo ended up. You stop fighting and accept this is how you will be shown love. Love isn’t like in the movies. And even once it’s gone and you’re back on the land and in the light, you kind of don’t believe it because you have been under there where it is dark. It takes a lot of your faith in goodness and kindness from you.
But I didn’t drown. I’m on the land. I guess it’s got to count for something.