Beth was indoors on a Saturday afternoon. She was mulling over her recently ended relationship. There was a sense of loss because she had hoped that this was ‘the one’, but she didn’t regret her decision. Her thoughts were interrupted by a message from her friend Karen.
“Babes, what’s this I hear that you broke up with Alex and he’s saying you have decided you belong to the streets?”
“Hello to you too Karen. Yes, we broke up but what’s that part about the streets?” Beth replied to Karen.
“Let me send you screenshots,” responded Karen.
Karen was friends with one of Alex’s friends. The mutual friend had told Karen about Alex, and Karen suggested they should set him up with Beth. Alex was a successful engineer who was looking to settle down. Beth, too, had a successful career in media and was looking for a serious person to start a family with. On paper, they ticked each others’ boxes.
They hit it off immediately after the introduction. There were mutual interests between them, like indoor games and politics. They also enjoyed trying different foods, which featured heavily in their time together. Both Alex and Beth were competitive, so their sessions playing games were passionate. However, they had very different views on life.
In the novelty of the relationship, Beth thought some of the things Alex did were acts of affection. He wanted to support her in her goals. Like the time he got her on a workout application so that he could see how much exercise she had put in daily. It seemed like a good idea until he started shaming her when she didn’t hit her targets. He constantly mentioned that his woman would have to stay fit and look a certain way. She dismissed that as health and fitness enthusiasm; anyway, she also didn’t intend to let go of herself.
The next time she felt that way was when they were discussing politics. They were on opposing sides of the conversation. Alex skewed towards an elitist view, while Beth argued for the good of more people. It was such a heated discussion that they got angry at each other. Eventually, Alex told Beth that she should try to tone down on such positions when they are with Alex’s friends because she wouldn’t fit in. He further elaborated that it was vital for him to maintain a particular image amongst peers.
There were many such incidents, but the one that led to the break-up was about her friends. Beth was in a group of close friends. The four of them had known each other from high school. Fate would have them attending the same university, although they pursued different courses. Two of them lived in different countries but were still close and had a group where they updated each other on every aspect of their lives. These were Beth’s sisters, and they had been planning a meet-up. It had been in the works for months.
Alex wanted to spend time with Beth that weekend, but Beth told him about the plans with the girls. The compromise was that Beth would return to Alex’s place after their staycation. Beth and the girls went ahead with their plans for the weekend. They had so much fun catching up and spending time together. It was a weekend filled with laughter and tears of joy because they had been there for each other on so many occasions. They were all doing well in their respective lives and were happy for each other. Beth even told them about Alex.
On Sunday afternoon, they each went home, but there was heavy traffic because the weekend had many events, so Beth got to Alex’s place a little past nine o’clock. She could tell something was off when he opened the door. He was in a mood. They hugged, and as Beth put the bags down, she told him about the weekend’s events.
He listened and nodded his head. That wasn’t alarming because Beth was a chatterbox and talked way more than Alex. After she was done, she took a shower and changed into pyjamas. Alex watched her do all that, and he turned to her when they were in bed.
“Babe, you didn’t even ask me if I have eaten since you came,” said Alex. Beth wanted to ask him whether he was a child who needed to be reminded to eat in his own house but opted to keep quiet. Further, he had known she would come late, so he should have made sufficient plans. She thought about voicing it but waited to see where he was headed with the conversation.
“Beth, you are a smart woman who will make a good wife and mother so I hope you know I don’t expect you to prioritize your friends over your husband and children. I wanted to spend time with you this weekend. You also know no serious man wants to see his woman going on trips with her girlfriends. God knows what happens at such meetings. Anyway, I know we don’t have to have this conversation again. I love you,” said Alex.
Beth got out of bed and went to the bathroom. She sat on the toilet seat for a few minutes, wondering what to do next. She was angry. It was the kind of anger accompanied by outward calmness because expressing it would be lethal. She then went for her phone and requested a cab. Once the cab driver announced his arrival, she wore a jacket over the pyjamas and took her bags.
“Where are you going to at this hour?” Alex asked.
“To my house,” Beth responded and left.
Alex tried calling and texting her, but she didn’t respond. That was when Alex started telling the story of how she was uninterested in settling down because she left him after he told her how a woman interested in becoming a wife was supposed to behave.
Once Karen sent Beth the screenshots, she called her and told her the events. Eventually, Karen asked her whether she was going to talk to him.
“No, Karen. Alex wouldn’t see it from my perspective. He would play the victim and I would be the rebellious modern woman who can’t take direction from a man. It’s not worth it. He’ll find a woman who shares his views,” Beth responded.
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