It had gotten to the point where I didn’t even need to type the first letter of his name in my search bar on Instagram. His stupid face was automatically the first thing the social platform assumed I wanted to see when I was doing a search. His tweets were always at the top of my “while you were away” feed on Twitter. I basically only used Snapchat to excessively check whether he’d viewed my story. And if I still fucked with Facebook, which I didn’t, because I am not 300, his posts, along with those of his best friends and fraternity, would be my whole timeline. Hypothetically. Ugh, okay, I still fucked with Facebook. You guys are good at getting to the bottom of things. This was a well-selected crowd.
Anyway, I didn’t need to do a walk of shame — my digital footprints were all the embarrassment I needed. I was a woman obsessed, and I was sick of it. Fed up. Frankly, I needed be stopped. I guess you could say that’s when I “snapped,” though I find that to be an unnecessarily incriminating term.
I decided to quit him cold turkey. I took the pledge to stop stalking my ex. I unfollowed him on Instagram. I unfriended him on Facebook. I blocked him on Snapchat. And I muted him on Twitter. I was done. No more would I spend my digital life with the hard evidence that I still gave a shit about some stupid fuckboy, who honestly wasn’t even that cute. Even his friends said he was lucky to have me. I needed to wipe him from my mind, and that started with wiping him from my phone, and I swear, that was my only intention when I’d set out.
At first, it was hard. Every day, I hit that search bar on Insta, and his name was still at the top. Oh, how easy it would have been just to click it and check if he’d been fucking some skank, information I’d be certain of the moment I saw a girl in a photo with him. Everyone knows if you’re photographed with a girl, it means you’re fucking her. But I resisted the urge. And slowly, his name appeared second in my Instagram search. And then third. And eventually…not at all. And I’m going to be honest — that was a good feeling. I felt like I’d accomplished something. With hard work and self-control, I could force myself to get over him. I didn’t have to see or hear from him ever again, and maybe, this was the first step to moving on.
And this feeling? The feeling of not having to see his stupid fucking face? It felt good. And I began to notice that it wasn’t just on Instagram. He slowly but surely disappeared from other social media as well. And it started occur to me…did he disappear from real life? His friends weren’t throwing parties any more. My friends and I had spent so many a drunken night making out in that basement, and for awhile, I thought people were just shielding me from the reality of my past. But there were no fliers on campus. There were no signs of debris outside their house on Sunday morning. I even saw fewer shack shirts with his letters on them.
Being in the same major, just a year apart, we’d generally always had some classes together, or at least crossed paths in our college’s main building on the way to class. But I hadn’t seen him in weeks. Could this be a coincidence? Or had the universe rewarded me for staying true to my plan?
I continued to frequent our old favorite haunts. I wasn’t going to change my in-real-life life just to avoid him. So I visited them all. The bagel shop on campus. The third floor of the library. The Starbucks, obviously. All the best bars according to which days they’d always been most popping. And I never ran into him once. Was he avoiding me? This campus isn’t really that big. This couldn’t just be mere luck. How was this possible?!
I’ve always said it was reasonable to hope that all of my ex-boyfriends disappear from the planet when we break up — and I know that sounds bad given the circumstances — but I never thought it was actually possible. Had I really done it? Had I willed my ex-boyfriend out of existence???
It turns out, I hadn’t. They found him in my basement a few weeks later, very dehydrated, and a little bit thin. I’d apparently lured him over with my vagina some time ago, and locked him down there the night before I’d decided to erase him from my browser history. I don’t much remember the details of the night, but when I saw him covered in his own piss, the drunken memory of him shouting “You’re a fucking psychotic bitch” came rushing back to me.
And, well, that’s how I ended up here, Your Honor. I know it wasn’t my finest hour, but I think, given the circumstances and the amount of vodka I’d consumed — vodka I was only moved to drink BECAUSE he was such an asshole, I might add — my actions are forgivable. I will admit that for that brief time, when his face and words no longer assaulted my visual space online, I felt very free. I’d recommend the social media purge to any of you. The blackout kidnapping and leaving him for dead, however, the jury is quite literally still out..
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