Cut in oval shapes, Toni’s nails were painted in the perfect shade of blue. Not many can pull off presidential blue, but she could… she did. She smelt of spiced earl grey and tobacco, two of my favourite things. The closest thing I knew to perfection… effortlessly so.
Yet I remained unmoved by her, unmoved by her voice, her confidence, her overall presence. It’s as if that part of me that knew rationally what beauty meant failed to align with how I felt. The most perfect being I knew still wanted me and I remained… oh god dare I say… repulsed by her. And so, yester night after 4 years, a child, a pot belly and a forced indoctrination into feminism, I finally left.
I wanted so much to love her. I tried so hard to want her, but…
Drew’s heart belonged to another. We fought… he left… I followed. Round the bend, past a few side streets, he took a left turn. At the corner stood a complex of six units. With a rare urgency he rushed to number three and opened the door. I trailed quietly behind and peaked through the partially opened blinds. On the couch, Drew was lying in the arms of a Balmain-wearing, tattooed man.
Now, I’m not proud of what followed, but rage helped in the way of picking a huge rock and breaking the lounge room window. I lunged at Drew, while his lover called triple o. In what seemed to be ten seconds later, the sirens sounded. “Leave,” yelled Drew and I did. Luckily so.
What did I do to deserve this? What happened to the man I fell in love with? Once upon a time, like a wayward soul in search of salvation he hang on to my every word. Now, he bailed and disregarded everything I did. That man brings out the worst in me, pushes my buttons. He promised he would never cheat on me and he did. He promised he’d love me eternally no matter what. He didn’t. God only knows how many others they have been. After all I’ve done for him? How dare he?
How dare she? That is the last time she puts her hands on me. I let it go the first time and stopped counting by the fifth. It was never going to get better.
Blame had become her one toned note, played out in every confrontation.
“Drew, you didn’t clean well enough, Drew, you were out too late,” Drew this, Drew that.
My voice muffled at any opinion, refusal or defiance I dared express. I kept house, cared for our child and supported her career. I was like the bara to her afrobeat hit, the paper to her exceptional thesis… crucial yet easily replaced, never enough. I helped, did what I could.
But it was never enough, I didn’t want a helper; I needed a partner!
A partner who kept house, worked and didn’t need me to pay for his so-called music career. I needed a man not a boy. It wasn’t good enough. Music career? Please. Careers bring in money. That was a hobby, an awfully expensive one, that I paid for. It is his fault it has come to this. He cheats and I get angry. Rightfully so… I mean, I don’t want to but he makes me this way. All the cheating, the other woman and now a man? My gallivanting baby daddy robbed… no burglarised my youth. I gave him a child, a home and this is how he repays me? Sleeping around?
And so, she slapped me across the face. A pattern formed through the years. She hit and I found solace in the arms of Nia and Eli. I don’t know what I would do without them. Eli made the best baked treats and Nia made love like it was her last time, every time. Nia snored and Eli said ‘like’ at least once in almost every sentence. Nia wore a size too large and Eli a size too small, yet I remained moved by them… quirks and all. Their imperfections humanised them and like ambrosia from the gods they fed whatever parts of me Toni drained. I wonder now with Toni soon gone is the love I have for them fed by the dysfunction that was Toni and I? Will my love for them last?
No, he will be back, we can make this work, if he stops pushing my buttons, I will stop hitting him. I’m not proud of who I am when I’m with him, but I can change. I will change. We can work it out.
No, I’m done