I said I needed to deposit a check; that was it. The store with all the cute cards and crop tops and feminist trinkets and houseplants was just a block away. I *needed* a snarky pin for my backpack, maybe one of those velvet shirts with corset-style lacing up the front. A party shirt. Yes. I needed a party shirt.
That’s why I was walking a block out of the way to the store where the cool, edgy birthday cards also happen to be. Yes.
I didn’t buy a single crop top, feminist trinket or houseplant, but I bought a birthday card for a man I really, really liked. The kind of crush that had overwhelmed me.
As I walked to the store to make a questionable decision, naturally, I gave myself the kind of pep talk I reserve for such situations: You’re amazing! You’re out here doing the damn thing! You’re in law school!
It’s perhaps a balancing of factors: I reminded myself of all the things I was doing right to balance an ill-advised walk blocks out of the way to buy a $5 birthday card for a man who had treated me like an option at best.
I had let it last for too long, of course, drafting increasingly elaborate excuses for his behavior, the kind that stretch reality and anxiety and hurt into a pale taffy of emotions, one that has been tugged too far, too long. All the sweetness had gone away. Continue reading