I’d like to share, in the strongest possible way, the horrible demise of my relationship with Justin. I’m not sure why I waited so long to speak out about our break-up; I guess I wanted to make sure I had all the facts. Since Justin skipped town after stealing my credit card, emptying my bank accounts, and booking a business-class flight to Maui with a girl he met at the gym, I think I can finally announce that our relationship is, in fact, over.
Justin can be a rough, bad person. He gambled away his unemployment check on a chicken fight in upstate New York. He once drank laundry detergent because someone told him it tasted like “meth soup.” He frequently forgot major events- birthdays, anniversaries, airport pick-ups, court appearances. But I can be just as bad. I once was twenty minutes late to our lunch date because I was trying to convince my grandmother’s insurance to pay for her cataract surgery. Rude, right? So both of us are equally at fault.
No one knew Justin like I did. He could be sweet. He announced “I’d tap that” when I bent over to pick up my phone that he’d just stepped on. He gave me $6000 in cash for no reason whatsoever. He called my grandmother to check on how her eyesight was doing, and where she kept her jewelry. The truth is, nobody is all bad, or all good.
I think there is blame on both sides. On one side is a guy who once stole my car to help his stripper ex-girlfriend jump bail on a narcotics charge. And then there’s me- I showed up at his buddy’s Superbowl party without bringing anything, and it still keeps me up at night. No one wants to say it, but I’ll say it right now: we are both guilty of neglecting our relationship.
Sure, he recently got fired for embezzling funds from the movie theater he worked at. Is he a lazy bum? An opportunist who’s just trying to eke out a living? A criminal? You can call him whatever you want, but remember: not all people who steal are thieves, just like not all thieves steal stuff. Let’s not get into legal semantics- what he did was wrong. But so was his boss for not paying him enough to buy that PlayStation 4 Pro he’d been wanting forever.
So I won’t come right out and condemn Justin, especially on social media, and I urge my friends not to untag him from Facebook photos, delete him from their contacts list, or put out an APB to track his location. He’s a shameful part of my dating history, but he’s also kind of brave for following his heart, even if it led to grand larceny, several paternity suits, and our amicable, totally mutual break-up for which many, many factors are to blame.
Ali Solomon is a cartoonist from Queens, NY. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, the Washington Post, McSweeney’s, WIRED, and The Believer. Find more at www.ali-solomon.com and @alicoaster.