A Breakup Intervention Staged by the Vermin in My Apartment

Look, we get it. Your heart is broken like our legs that time you couldn’t grasp the brutalities of glue traps. We’ve all been there. We, the dust mites in the pillows you’ve been crying into every night, the microscopic slugs suffocating in the caked mascara collection between your eyelashes, the malnourished mice under your bed and the anxious swarm of flies that lurk in the gaps of your broken AC unit…we’ve been watching. We’ve been silent. But now, we are very… hm. Disappointed? Nope. Don’t cry, we meant worried! Disappointed and worried.

We wish we could be those endearing animated rodents that whip up ball gowns with a catchy, harmonized tune in those childish films you’ve been seeking regressive comfort from recently. Unfortunately, we never learned to sew. (We tried. The only materials we could find was a wad of your shower drain hair and that needle you used to pierce your own nose yesterday).

For the first time since we’ve violated your apartment, you’re bothering us. You are a pest. We could tolerate that you never leave your bed, wash a dish, or wear underwear. In fact, the grosser you are, the healthier we are. Do you see what we’re saying, sweetie? You are so depressing that we would rather sacrifice our survival than coexist with a deteriorating sack of carbon and water. You are bringing down group morale. Last week, Colin spared a pile of Oreo crumbs under the couch because he knew you were going to pick them up eventually… to eat them.

“No Colin, she still has a shred of dignity,” we said. Then, sure enough, after watching thirteen episodes of The Office and a Taylor Swift documentary in your ex’s boxer briefs (really?), you finally noticed the stray cookie bits and chirped out a barely audible “woo.” We haven’t heard you that excited in months.

You should know that we weren’t even impressed by this former male companion, whom you now refer to through blackened tears as “the one that got away” with the creepy, singsong cadence of that hooded hag from Sweeney Todd. I suppose we enjoyed this sloppy British specimen for his careless cider spills and clichéd crooked-toothed chomp of pita “crisps.” He always smelled strongly of liquor, though. Liquor and regret.

It was just disconcerting to watch you change from stretching out of your sleep and smiling when you realized he was there, to shuddering back under your unwashed blankets as you remember he will never be there again. Even if he did buy the bed you’re forced to sleep in now and you remember him putting it together on your birthday after the wooden slats in your twin-sized college cot split under the stress of a post-work flop. That was kind. But, was it? Or was he just tired of your freeloading ass hogging space in his Queen-sized dream that took up 90% of his overpriced high-rise luxury studio? The jury’s out, we think.

Despite our disapproval, we watched you love this forehead-kisses-charming Jekyll and drunkenly pee-on-the-couch Hyde. We observed nearly two years of irrational arguments until the sun rose. Serene mornings complemented by sickeningly sweet cuddles. That night you cooked homemade ravioli to kitschy Christmas Pandora and laughed directly into a pile of dirty laundry. Those quiet moments when you snuck away from your unbecoming, crowded house parties for a silent hug.

You were never the sort of woman we believed could cry over a seemingly soulless coding prodigy. Much less write a series of silly poems and love songs for someone who appreciated the emotional arch of Transformers. He used the edits you made to his OkCupid profile to cheat on you. You should be offended as both a girlfriend and a writer for that one. Instead, you’re barely recognizable as a human. We would know. We are vermin.

He broke up with you, and then used his self-induced sadness to gain sympathy (and money!) from his 12,000 unsuspecting yet loyal twitter followers. You were forced to watch as the stream of, “Kim left you?” “Did Kim cheat?” “Sorry, buddy” tweets unraveled directly into his wallet of pity donations via PayPal. You didn’t leave him. You didn’t cheat. He wasn’t sorry. Buddy.

There was a moment we thought we should worry when we heard you tell your childhood best friend he was inevitably going to ruin you. One rainy afternoon on the phone, you confided through long exhales that even you were aware it was getting dangerous. You were in too deep. He went to your family’s Thanksgiving. He made you pancakes in the middle of the night. Your mother made him a stocking for Christmas. Your dad bought him a desk lamp (that he later sold on Craigslist with a public Facebook posting stating, “Originally a gift. Has to go”). He had his own collection of clothing in that dresser you found in the street together. You did his laundry when he was stressed, as if you were an obedient domestic woodland creature. And alas, after six weeks in England together and two days before your anniversary, here comes the drunken 3 AM text message that changed everything:

“Tomorrow we aren’t together.”

We think you’re better than a text message.

We also think you’re better than someone who finally agrees to see you in person after a two-day booze bender. Who greets the door with chapped to chalk lips, whiskey breath and a backwards shirt. Someone who tells you he no longer finds you attractive. That he’s already been “making out with bartenders” on his roof. The roof you can see from your bedroom window as “she’s not really my type, but I think you two are forever,” soundtracks the unavoidable stalking. Should’ve splurged for the blackout curtains. Damn.

We’ve come to the conclusion that the generic advice you’ve received from co-workers, roommates, your dentist and your mom has merit. You do deserve better than someone that can wake up to you for forty-six mornings while touring the UK, after dinners with his parents and heart-to-hearts with his sister…Someone who can carry around all the letters you wrote him and then still casually confess that finally his sober and drunk self got together and agreed to “just fuck that bitch.” That they finally came to realize all you have to offer is that you’re “nice.”

You’re not that nice.

Sorry. I mean, you’re a pleasant person. Sure. That’s just not the first word we would use. “Nice” is a surprisingly entertaining beach read. A rom-com with some solid com and relatively realistic rom. Nice is not being charged for a side of guacamole. It is simple, predictable. Nice is your local coffee shop. You’re the local bar.

Trust me, we’re not just saying all this because we need you. Just like there are plenty of fish in the sea, there are plenty of human dwellings in this city. Say it with us, “You’re better than a text message.”

OK. We’ll try again later.

See, we’re not here to make your pain about us. Well, we are, but we’re also attempting to propose solutions. After Mark Mosquito got “wicked drunk” from biting your ankles Thursday, we’ve unanimously agreed that the only way you’re going to get through this is to… first, take off those godforsaken boxer briefs. Burn them. Or, put a witchy hex on them so every time he tries to get an erection for another woman, he prematurely ejaculates warm, sticky, beer. Either one.

Then, whenever you’re ready. When the dust has settled or the fat lady sings or this blazing heartbreak finally fades to ash, repeat with the ardent solidarity of a gaggle of women on the floor of a public restroom:

“Everyone is better than a text message.”

And believe it. In the meantime, we’ll be here. Watching. Waiting. You’ll be fine.

Kimberly Dinaro is a writer of scripts, songs, and your drink order. She contributes jokes to Reductress and complaints to @Kimberdin.

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Image by Carol Von Canon