Relationships column: After a breakup, an immediate emotional swell

For The Baltimore Sun
Relationships column: After a breakup, an immediate emotional swell

I finally felt good.

My arduous work week was ushered out by a picturesque Saturday. The sun's steady beam managed to ease my overactive mind and place positivity in my soul.

I walked out of the mall, several bags in hand, glowing naturally. I wasn't sure if I was happy about the weather, or the fact that Call It Spring still had a sale on accessories. Whatever the case, Round 1 of retail therapy was complete.

Walking through the parking lot, it felt like all eyes were on me. My aura that day was so strong. At last, my internal conditions were mirroring my outside appearance.

Just as I walked up to my car, my phone rang. I looked like a crazy woman, fumbling between bags and contorting my body, just to grab it from my back pocket. It was my best friend.

"Hey girl!" I answered.

"Girl, I have something to tell you about T," she said.

My heart sank to my soles. My stomach ignited with anxiety. All I could do was let out a colossal sigh of frustration.

T was my boyfriend and at that moment, we were not speaking. I'd caught him in a silly lie at the beginning of the week and for that he quickly became a member of my blocked numbers list. What had he done now?

A part of me wanted to hang up and avoid hearing anything that could ruin my day. But I listened reluctantly.

"My friend S was doing my hair, and she asked me if you and T were together," she said. I cringed as she continued. "She said that he is always calling her and saying that he wants to be with her. She said that he's a dog and you should really leave him alone."

During the course of our 10-or-so-minute conversation, I was filled with humiliation and fury. After hanging up the phone, a week's worth of concealed emotions had caught up to me.

The moment I was dreading: feeling and living in my sorrow.

I took a second to gather the remains of my strength and rationality. Now, my silence had to be broken.

I called my boyfriend and got straight to the point. "Who is S?"

I listened intensely, expecting lies, yet giving him the benefit of the doubt — as always.

He laughed at the allegations, apparently tickled that I would even ask about a "nobody."

It burned to constrict my wrath. If there was one thing that irritated me most, it was being laughed at while in a state of frenzy.

One question turned into an hourlong argument, riddled by name-calling and character attacks. The discussion merely made matters worse.

I was done — with the conversation and with him. We broke up.

"Just relax. Just breathe," I told myself, reeling from what had just happened. I even channeled the breathing patterns I learned from practicing yoga. That was the only thing that could potentially calm my nerves.

Between T's and S's versions of the truth, and the interpretation going on within my own disoriented mind, I didn't know what to believe.

One thing's certain, though: A complete stranger had gotten a say-so in my relationship. I didn't know her last name, where she lived, her likes or dislikes. I didn't even know her intent.

Now, I just needed to see her. I needed one good glimpse at the woman who was almost capable of deconstructing a bond I'd worked so hard to build.

I always told myself I would never let a guy drive me into playing detective. At that moment, I tossed all of that self-righteous crap out of the window. Today, I was Inspector Gadget.

My best friend gave me S's Instagram name. I searched and there she was: tall, overweight and old-looking. My first catty thought was of how I'd seen better facial features on Animal Planet.

I exited Instagram, turned my phone off and sat silently in my car.

I was drained — from arguing, from overthinking and, especially, from love.

Zahara Johnson's column appears regularly in b.

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