looking for help leaving a toxic relationship with my betta

by b.s.

sophie spencer

On October 24th you, and some 4187 students living on campus1 awoke in a cold sweat, realizing that from this day, there was exactly one month before you had to return home. The sophomores are well acquainted with the practice of returning home for the holidays, but for a first year like yourself, the looming journey home is more pervasive in your brain than the primal instinct of finding your next Yerba Mate. Speaking in simple terms, the worst homecoming ever. Instead of wearing a short black dress, forgetting to put on deodorant, and crying whilst you watched your history teacher crush talk to your female guidance counselor, you’re now faced with the true nightmare of homecoming: your betta fish.

You met him your first week of college. You had never been able to hold down a relationship with a betta due to your parents’ divorce, and a deep rooted fear that you would never know what real love was (and it was hard as fuck to switch houses with a fish). You made the journey to Petco in the car of an upperclassman your roommate hardly knew, and listened to Pandora’s “Today’s Hits” radio while he nonconsensually hotboxed your car with grape vape.

You quickly found the betta section and were appalled by the size difference between the Moonking betta and the Sweetbabygirl betta. Author note: I will not delve deeper into this issue, you can look it up if you’re so disturbed as to be inclined. You settled on a dark blue betta, got him some faux greenery, and went home to set up his tank on your desk. You conditioned his water and complimented him, you did everything right. YOU WERE THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND. But of course he didn’t appreciate it. They never do.

Your relationship with your fish, let’s call him Scott2, grew increasingly toxic. You would wake up in the morning and feed him his TetraBettaplus™, while you ate your Honey Bunches of Oats. He would watch silently over his morning paper whilst he sipped his coffee, and when you asked him why he was staring, he would mutter “you really only need half of that bowl” or “no wonder half your family has Type 2.” You would look in your mirror with tears running down your face, because Scott didn’t love your body. You told your roommate about what was going on between you and Scott, and she suggested that maybe he just didn’t know his words were hurtful. You sat down one day after your Healthy Brains Healthy Bodies class, finally having the confidence to tell Scott the way this hurt you. He shouted. He said he had never insulted your body and it was all in your head. He called you crazy. Scott was gaslighting you, and you had to get help.

Soon it was late October and you were realizing you would have to introduce Scott to your parents. As you gave him dinner each night you would dread bringing Scott to Thanksgiving and introducing him to your loved ones. You secretly wished he would die. You considered getting a babysitter for Scott while you went home, but you wouldn’t wish this son of a bitch on anyone. Not even CEO of Betta Fish himself. That time you numbed your ear with vinegar ice cubes, pierced it with a sewing needle, and used a Clorox wipe to stop the bleeding? You’d do that a hundred times over if it meant being free of Scott. You’re now just a few sad weeks from returning home3, and Lake Champlain is looking better and better as a home for your partner.

  1. According to the most recent testing numbers, and operating under the assumption that all those who have not taken tests have perished
  2. Actual name redacted due to fear of domestic retaliation from the author’s very toxic fish
  3. If you are a Wildlife and Fisheries major, this is a joke, if you’re not, I might need some help, November 23rd, 9pm, come alone

Categories: November 3, 2020, reflections

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