When I saw the Instagram post I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t even their legs wrapped around each other or the scar on his calf that clued me in. It was the tear in his bedspread. You know, the one I made when I clawed at his mattress the last time he blew my back out. I think I must have stared at it for nearly an hour before I finally summoned the courage to open her profile.
It was like I was looking at a mirror image of my own Instagram. Cryptic posts about the ‘one’, pictures of body parts and broad backs. Pictures of places and food, but never faces. But the worst were the thinly veiled excuses. I think I reached 54 weeks’ worth of posts before I was able to pull myself from her Instagram.
How could she do this to me?
How could she not?
We’ve been following each other for three years, enough to become civil, I’d even seen her at a few events, we’d chitchatted. But she really isn’t my friend, is she?
Besides it’s not about her, is it?
My fingers quaked as I searched his handle, checked his Instagram handle. There were a thousand pictures of him, his face, his hands. Laughing with friends, giggling with his female bestie, just his face over and over, none of mine, or hers. Just him.
“What the hell is happening between you and her? Why is she lying in your bed? Just tell me if something is happening, I deserve that much.” I all but screamed it into the receiver. I had called him with my Nokia, the serious phone. He must have known how serious I was.
He laughed, can you imagine, he actually laughed.
“She’s just one of those girls that hover around me. I had a party at mine over the weekend, she must have taken it when we were all watching something. You knew they existed before you and I got intimate.”
He dragged out the syllables, the way you would for a mentally challenged child. Intimate, could mean anything.
“I would never hurt you. At least not deliberately.” He cooed into the phone. “Not after the last night we spent together, the things your body does to me. I’m not an idiot to throw that away.”
He had me by the balls, just thinking of that night had me tightening my kegels.
“I love you.” He said. “It just me and you, everything else is a distraction.”
My Instagram refreshed, there was new picture of hers, four legs in the Atlantic, his scar visible above the water. I saw his name appear in her likes bar. The very first name. The ball was in my court now.
I grimaced and double tapped.
We’ve all heard a story like this, predators on and off social media, gently weaving cocoons of misinformation and vague titles to trap people in vicious cycles of hope and heartbreak. We’ve coined terms for them, most common ‘The Yoruba Demon’; defining the spirit of entitlement fuelled philandering that characterizes their relationships. Most of them are male, but there are quite a number of women holding it ably representing. But they get away with because we never say anything. We are always too afraid of being laughed at, thought of as stupid, treated like the patsy.
We at Stories want to blow this phenomenon wide open. We want to hear your stories, discuss your theories on what motivates people to act this way, what they gain from it. We will even entertain arguments supporting this behaviour.
You can send entries to us anonymously, or if you’re past caring, send it to us as yourself. We will listen, we will empathize, we will not judge.
All through the month of October we will post your stories, essays, arguments for and against. We will moderate twitter discussions about this and connect people to others who have valuable experience with being in situations like this. Most importantly we will give you a platform.
So send us your stories and essays.
Entries close on the 10th of October. All entries to firstname.lastname@example.org