…then it may as well be bat-shit crazy!
A couple of years ago I wrote the blog post “How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work,” as my mature, P.C. way of telling everyone that I was newly single because I found out, during a vacation in Southeast Asia, that my boyfriend was cheating on me. This was seriously the best thing that has ever happened to me! First, I have a bat-shit crazy story to tell, all of you to happily read it, an understanding of what I really wanted in a relationship, and important life lessons to teach. Therefore, if you are not interested in learning about the train wreck that led up to this break up, then stop reading now.
Disclaimer: Events have been slightly exaggerated (I am Latina after all). Also, names have been changed to protect the guilty; and trust me, they are guilty. I have screenshots!
For some background: I was living in Okinawa, Japan partaking in the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program, where I taught English classes at three Japanese elementary schools. Although I knew this would strain my seven-year relationship, I could not sacrifice my childhood dream of living in Japan. The eleven- year-old in me would have been disappointed if I had. Now, I know where your thoughts are going with long-distance relationships and break ups — inevitable, you say! However, don’t you think it would have been a lot easier to break up with someone who lives a billion miles away and who, subsequently, can’t key your car? I thought so too!
The summer after my first year in Japan, I travelled home in order to visit my loved ones. Everything with He Who Shall Not Be Named (HWSNBN) seemed all right until I was invited to a Tuesday Friends Night with friends he had made while I was away. Totally violating the #NoNewFriends rule, but whatever. Unsurprisingly, the women from the Tuesday Friends Night were absent and thus Red Flag #1.
The months following my return to Okinawa, got weird. First, he hid all of his photos from Facebook and changed his profile photo to the Japanesey Amazon Box Guy What was up with that? Oh, I know! It’s because I called him out on photo of his kickball league’s ice-skating day. The event didn’t bother me but there were an equal amount of men to women and posed as though they were couples. Thus, Red Flag #2.
Then, in early December, his phone died FOR TWO DAYS at an extra credit event at a local brewery. I particularly remember that moment because I took a 4-hour Japanese proficiently exam with full-blown anxiety. I spent most of the exam wondering if was taking the Greek proficiently exam while this come mierda sipped ales and pilsners.
Red Flags not raising any eyebrows? Well, he eventually deleted his Facebook account because of “rando friend requests and annoying messages from a group chat.” Really? Then, when he reinstated his Facebook, he changed his name to something slightly amiss (ex. “Jose Hernandez” into “Joe Hernz”). My response to all of this was, “What is it that you’re trying to hide because one way or another, I’ll find out.” Of course, I received the “you’re crazy” line and, like an idiot, believed it (life lessons, people).
I can’t say that I actually believed I was crazy due to my next Red Flag. In the past, Snapchat would highlight your best friends, or the people who you snapchatted with the most. So, can someone explain why his best friend was someone named Kbubblez25, which was definitely NOT my username? As a woman with FBI clearance (not really, just good at creeping), I found out that Kbubblez25 was a woman from my city named Karen. I did not mention Karen to him, but kept her in my mind for future reference.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, I move on to Red Flag # 1 Billion with “The Box.” My friends and I often refer to particular situation as “The Box” because, well, it involved a box. During my first year of the JET Program, I received a wonderful Christmas care package from my family and loved ones with cards, gifts and decorations. For the second year, my mother complied gifts from her recent trip to Ireland as well as some food and cosmetics to send as my Christmas care package. She handed The Box and her part of the shipment money to HWSNBN in the hopes that he would put in his share and take the box to the Post Office.
As Christmas quickly approached, my mother asked HWSNBN for the tracking number to see when I would receive the package. Guess what, familia? The tracking number, you know the number that’s on the ginormous slips of paper that the Post Office gives when you ship boxes internationally, was missing. In fact, the entire shipment receipt was missing! To be honest, my mother knew everything that was going on and used The Box as a social experiment. It either backfired or worked, because I did not receive The Box in time for Christmas, New Year’s, or Valentine’s Day for that matter. My mother sent a firm message to HWSNBN and in his anger, declined my family’s Christmas party – a first in eight years.
With The Box disaster looming over us, HWSNBN and I, unfortunately, had an upcoming 9-day (11 days for me) vacation to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. In the midst of the train wreck, I attempted to cancel the vacation only to be met with the “you’re crazy” line.
The day before I left to Vietnam, I spoke with my mother and, in the conversation with her, realized that HWSNBN didn’t know my itinerary for Vietnam — what time my flight landed, how I was getting to the hotel, etc. I was 5’3″,105lbs (160cm, 47.6kg) tiny Latina, who was about to travel, by herself, to a communist country. (Huge Red Flag).
I ended the call with her, called him but was screened, and received a brief message claiming that he didn’t hear his phone ring (bullshit) and that he was out with his best friend. My response was something along the lines of “I don’t care if you’re with XYZ, you’d better pick up.” When we finally spoke, I completely lost my shit. I demanded, not asked, to know what was going on and who he was with. I didn’t have implicating evidence, but I knew I would find out in Vietnam soon enough.
Our first day together in Vietnam couldn’t have been more awkward. While touring Ho Chi Mein City, he frequently visited the restroom (UTI? Doubt it!), refused to take a photo of me, and stayed glued to this cellphone. He was so attached to his phone that he took it into the bath with him!* Through vigilance, I learned how to unlock his phone, and with patience I waited for the jet lag to take effect. The opportunity arose and I, sin pena, navigated to “Messages” and searched for Karen (Snapchat BFF). I found a message thread and scrolled through their conversation. He had kept Karen up to date with all the activities of his “business trip.” He sent a photo of his ice cream from our stop at a Baskin Robbins saying it reminded him of her red lipstick. I also saw messages from her regarding her family’s approval of him and a detailed synopsis of the aftermath of a date that included smeared red lipstick and a broken dress strap. The f*ck!
If you did not get that, he was literally dating this girl and doing the dirty.
By the way, the date with the lipstick and dress-strap-popping occurred on the night I demanded to know what was going on and who he was with (life lesson: intuition)! To the woman’s defense, she did not know about me…until shortly after when I sent a message via Snapchat. I also saw messages from his Tuesday Friend Night group that discussed his weekends spent partying and not actually earning extra credit. Que precioso. The confrontation was met with lies and denial until I quoted messages. The apologies were frequent, but insincere as he was later caught looking at a photo voluptuous and practically nude Asian woman that his bro-friend sent him. Sure.
After the trip and return to our perspective countries, The Box miraculously appeared! Jesus is real! Customs in Japan had allegedly refused The Box due to its content. I offered to have a neutral friend pick up The Box but he insisted on sending it himself. On January 20, I asked if he sent The Box and received the reply, “Sent it today. I couldn’t yesterday.” On February 1, I asked for the tracking number. On February 7, after ignoring my message, my father calls. Five minutes after my father leaves a menacing message, I received the following:
Your dad called me while I was at the Post Office. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to send it earlier. I’ve had a crazy January.
Sure. We are just going to forget that you told me on January 20 that you sent The Box, huh? After this fiasco, I can only assume that The Box stayed in the trunk of his car throughout the duration of the train wreck. The Box arrived to Japan on February 22 with most of its content intact except for the chocolate.
This, mi amigos, is where my bat-shit crazy story ends.
You can find more sentiments about this trip with my previous post, “How to Trick Everyone into Thinking You’re Fine.”
I hope you read this with as much humor as I had in my heart. I hope that you will take a moment to appreciate the collateral beauty, growth, clarity, and overall maturity that comes with such an event. I hope that you think back to some of your bat-shit crazy moments, because we all got’em! Also, I hope that, by reading this, his family will stop reaching out to me for stupid shit.