Sour Tastes & Bitter Waifs

Don’t call me crazy.

I’m outside his house, watching him. Staking it out. There’s a pair of binoculars in my hands and a crumbled letter from him beside me, in case I need some inspiration. You know—a reminder of why I’m here.

But don’t fucking call me crazy.

He called me that. Several times too. Each time he said, it hurt a little less. Funny how, the more banged up you get, the more numb you become. Never completely, though. The pain might be dull, but it’s still there.

He fucking called me crazy.

I see these images of women—desperate, unhinged, lonely women—in pop culture. They’re branded “crazy ex-girlfriends,” tossed aside like trash. Once I looked at them with judgement and scorn, thinking I was above their drama. I’d been taught to do that. I’d been instructed—by our stupid, fucked up society, of course—that being a “crazy ex-girlfriend” was the worst thing a woman can be. Next to ugly, anyway. I’d been taught having emotions (never mind showing them) was a bad thing, an unattractive flaw. I’d been taught my period would make me crazy. I’d been taught not to question it when a man puts his hand up your thigh, even when you say no—because boys will be boys. I’d been taught wearing a short skirt meant you were asking for it.

I’d been taught all kinds of things. I’m still working on unlearning some of them.

I light up a cigarette as I sit out here, in my car. Oh yeah, I’m asking for it now. Maybe I really am the whore for drama he said I was.

It almost strikes me as funny.

I smoke and sit, waiting to pounce. Any minute now. Just gotta work up the nerve—a cigarette, plus some liquid courage. I’ll read that letter again, too. It always gets me fired up.

Funny how that’s one thing I’ve not gone numb to. Not yet, anyway.

I wonder if, once I’m done here, the nightmares will stop. I hope so. All I have these days is hope.


He said I was beautiful, at first.

He said I looked like a waif. He said my eyes were full of light and sweetness. I thought he was romantic then. I thought he loved me.

It all changed so fast—like Jekyll and Hyde, I used to say. How could I leave Hyde when I loved Jekyll? He’d make me cry, he’d cheat, he’d play mind games. He made me think I was going crazy. There’s a term for that, but I didn’t learn it till after I left: gaslighting.

His buddy touched me one night at a bar—and he let him. He laughed and said I was overreacting.

I wasn’t fucking overreacting.

I tried so hard—you gotta believe me. I tried to move on with my life and be happy again. I told myself I could get past it.

Couldn’t, though. See, I’ve never been good at forgiveness. (I sure as hell have never been good at forgetting.) And the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was only one thing I could do that would allow me to shut the door on this ill-fated chapter of my life: get revenge.

Cold, hard, fast revenge. Quick and painless. That’s what I wanted. I’m not an evil person, but I’m also not the bigger person. Revenge, even with its bad rap, was perfectly okay in my book.

Now here I am.

With a pistol at my side.

It’s been my trusty companion during the ride over here. A copilot and a confidante. The nice thing about guns is they can keep a secret.

And I’ve got quite a few secrets worth keeping.


I kill the rest of my beer before getting out. I’m nervous but it’s a good nervous, I guess. There’s some excitement mixed in. I know how that sounds, but I’m not heartless—really. It’s just that you can only take so much before you start to crack. In my case, the cracks all seemed to erode my moral center. I wasn’t using it much anyway.


There’s two sides to every story. Right?

Wrong—there’s only one side if the other is told by a woman.

Crazy exes. Apparently they grow on trees, judging by all the stories men tell. They pop up everywhere. But I have my own theories, my own stories to tell. Only other women—other “crazy exes” or “hysterical bitches” or “uptight prudes”—will listen.

I know where he keeps his spare key. I walk right in like I belong there.

It smells like wood and rain and takeout. The overhead light is harsh, almost blinding. I hold the gun tighter.

He’s in the living room, watching sports. He looks up at me. When our eyes meet, I almost crumble. But then he says, “Have you come to beg forgiveness? Try to win me back?”

He’s smiling.

“No” is all I say.

His expression darkens. “Then what are you doing here? How’d you get in?”

He hasn’t noticed the gun yet. I don’t know what to say—I didn’t plan for this part.

So I just decide to tell him how I feel. How I’ve felt for months now. “You made me feel like shit. I’ve been torn up over our relationship for ages now. Maybe it’s over to you, but not me. I still have all the scars. I still have issues trusting myself, and days where what you said to me comes rushing back. You had no right.”

“Is that what you came here to say?” He laughs. “For God’s sake. You’re absolutely pathetic, you know that?” He starts to laugh again—but the noise dies away when he notices my gun. Concern floods his face. “What’s that for?” I can hear it in his voice that he already knows the answer.

“Eye for an eye,” I say. There’s a bitter taste in my mouth. I add, “You don’t deserve to breathe.”

I shoot him in the head.

It’s bloody, satisfying. The noise the gun makes is loud and rings in my ears. I feel like a million dollars.

He’s dead. The nightmare’s over.

He’ll never treat anyone else like he treated me. And he’ll never get the chance to call me crazy—not ever again.