‘There’s something wrong,’ I said, looking up with a frown. ‘I think the spring is broken.’
‘Why do you say that?’ Mathew asked, wiping his hands on his jeans.
Arsehole. He erred on the side of me being stupid, unknowing. Not what you’d call a supportive bloke. Many of my friends, and especially my parents, wondered why I put up with him, why I was with him. I couldn’t answer them honestly, but I can tell you. It’s superficial: he’s really good looking. I looked good on his arm, and his pretty face got us into all the openings, trendy bars and restaurants. Plus, he’s fabulous in bed. Told you it was superficial.
‘Coz of this.’ I held up a broken spring. I couldn’t help it, I smiled my biggest smuggest smile. So there, it conveyed in a most juvenile manner.
I saw him grind his teeth. He hated it when I’m right about…well, anything. I’m supposed to bend to his will, to be quiet and thankful that he’s with me. His eyes flashed, a dark shadow crossed his face.
‘Don’t be a smart arse,’ he uttered through clenched teeth. ‘It doesn’t suit you.’ He stormed across to where I’m crouching, by the bike. He squatted to my level, his lips centimetres away from mine. Almost as if he were about to kiss me, but instinctively, I knew he wasn’t.
At that moment, I was frightened, I admit. Up to that point in our relationship, he’d just been an arrogant arsehole. Never threatening. I’d never before felt worried, or scared of him. Right then, as his breath blew hot and acrid in my mouth and nose, I thought about how to renege on our deal. Could I?
He pushed me. He pushed me! His arms rested on my shoulders, then shoved. It wasn’t forceful, but powerful enough to knock me from my position. I fell backwards onto the gutter, my head butted against the kerb. It didn’t hurt, but the shock was all I needed.
‘We’re done,’ I said. I stood up, rubbed the back of my head. I walked away, leaving him with the broken spring and my bike. I didn’t care. I’d buy another bike. And I’d easily find someone who deserved me. Someone who treated me like I was the best woman in the world. My time for superficiality was done.
Time to get real.