dating, drama, heartbreak, relationships, Uncategorized

Do I know you at all?

There’s a certain freedom that comes from building a relationship through a screen. There’s a certain lack of accountability that comes from building a relationship through a screen.

I met Frank Churchill on a holiday trip to New York City. He grabbed me as I walked past him with my friend towards the back of a club in Chelsea.

“I just have to say,” he said, eyes serious and piercing, “‘you are the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.’”

I smiled and allowed him to pull me closer. His hand moved seamlessly from my elbow to the small of my back.

“Is that so?” I asked, our faces dangerously close to each other. Strangers shouting out orders to apathetic bartenders bumped into and nudged themselves around us.

“Yes,” he responded. “Let’s go.”

I didn’t have much time to spend with Frank before I left for California. But I felt like I knew the basics of who he was through our conversation held the evening of our meet-cute: pizza, rescue cats, Catholicism, the law. He had piqued my interest during a drought of dating-related interest. Although I am not one to delve into long-distance relations, I had enough to build a base until I could return.

Over the next few months Frank would text me asking me to come to New York to visit him. “I can pay for your flight with miles. You can stay here. We can see Hamilton.” Each conversation followed a similar format and occurred at a twice-monthly frequency. I had to begrudgingly decline each invitation since my private practice was taking off, but I promised that I would visit as soon as possible.

When the PhD program I applied to in NYC-adjacent Boston rejected me mid-February, I delivered him the bad news.

“Are you serious?? I’m sorry.”
“Eh, I guess it wasn’t in the cards for me,” I responded, trying to downplay my disappointment.
“Not going to lie, I was holding out hope that you would move to Boston and we could start dating.”
“Me too,” I ended. Sad-face emoji.

I thought about Frank three days later while pretending to get ready for church, aka taking 20 minutes to apply eyeliner and half-heartedly watching reruns of The Good Wife on my laptop. I had finished feeding my Neko Atsume cats and pulled up Facebook, in a natural progression of procrastination, to reminisce about the missed opportunity of a boy in New York. There, on my newsfeed, were two enlarged images, a picture of Frank and a picture of a dowdy redheaded stranger, connected by the word…

“Engaged.”

My heart momentarily stopped beating. I muted The Good Wife to restore focus. I scrolled back through my feed to make sure I wasn’t misreading the message.

“Engaged.”

It had to be some sort of hoax. I had spoken to Frank Thursday night about flying out to see him. Surely someone must have logged on to his page and posted a joke relationship change.

“288 likes. 56 comments.”

I scrolled through the comments section, searching for any suggestion that this wasn’t real.

“Congrats!” “We love you two together!” “It’s about time, man!” followed by reposts of Snapchat pictures of them kissing. A feeling of disgust fell over me. I was going to throw up. I was actually going to throw up. And yet the lump of emotion stuck to the inside of my throat, just making it more difficult to breathe.

I threw my phone across the kitchen table and pressed my palms against my sternum, willing my chest to rise and fall. My breathing resumed, along with my pulse. Now it was racing, agitated, my blood becoming claustrophobic in my veins. I stood up and began pacing.

Who was this guy? What sort of double life did he lead? I heard my father’s voice in my head, “Never trust lawyers.” He had seen too many episodes of The Good Wife to think otherwise. “But he seemed so normal!” I said aloud to my father’s voice in my head. Thick shame covered my body. I was the other woman. I was an idiot for believing this guy that I hardly knew. Was I so desperate for attention that I would allow myself to be used by someone so cliché, someone so stereotypically slimy? Was I so desperate for connection that I allowed myself to be blinded by the promise of a guy with religion, a love for neglected cats, and (supposedly) Hamilton tickets? “He probably didn’t even HAVE Hamilton tickets!” I found myself yelling to my empty house. My cat Sophie looked up from her cat tower, annoyed at my sleep-disturbing volume.

Determined to prove to myself that I wasn’t just another fool, I raced to the table and grabbed my phone. I investigated all of his social media: Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. Nothing. There was no sign of a girlfriend let alone a fiancée on any of these sites.

I pulled up our texts from Thursday night. There it was, “Not going to lie, I was holding out hope that you would move to Boston and we could start dating.” Was I missing something? Did that not mean what I thought it meant?

I penned a new text, careful to not sound like the level of crazy that I felt emoting from my pores. Even in my reactive state my subconscious cared about how I looked like to this liar. I would later discuss this with my therapist.

“So you’re engaged?” I typed.
After a minute of no response, I grew more courageous.

“Well, you probably shouldn’t have been texting me telling me that you wanted to date me on Thursday if you were planning on getting engaged this weekend.”

I sat back, pleased with my texts, daring him to respond.

Within minutes of my texts Frank had blocked me from his Facebook page, a fact I found out while trying to screenshot his relationship status for my sister. Upon realizing this, part of me was offended. He was taking measures to ensure that I didn’t post anything incriminating on Facebook. “Didn’t he know me well enough to know that I wouldn’t do anything like that?” I asked myself, automatically incredulous. “Well, I guess he didn’t know me at all.”

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heartbreak, quotes, relationships

recant, v.

I want to take back at least half of the “I love you”s, because I didn’t mean them as much as the other ones. I want to take back the book of artsy photos I gave you, because you didn’t get it and said it was hipster trash. I want to take back what I said about you being an emotional zombie. I want to take back the time I called you “honey” in front of your sister and you looked like I had just shown her pictures of us having sex. I want to take back the wineglass I broke when I was mad, because it was a nice wineglass and the argument would have ended anyway. I want to take back the time we had sex in a rent-a-car, not because I feel bad about the people who got in the car after us, but because it was massively uncomfortable. I want to take back the trust I had while you were away in Austin. I want to take back the time I said you were a genius, because I was being sarcastic and I should have just said you’d hurt my feelings. I want to take back the secrets I told you so I can decide now whether to tell them to you again. I want to take back the piece of me that lies in you, to see if I truly miss it. I want to take back at least half the “I love you”s, because it feels safer that way.

― David Levithan, The Lover’s Dictionary

Recant

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heartbreak, poetry, sad

The Unbearable Weight Of Staying

i don’t know when love became elusive
what i know, is that no one i know has it
my fathers arms around my mothers neck
fruit too ripe to eat, a door half way open
when your name is a just a hand i can never hold
everything i have ever believed in, becomes magic.

i think of lovers as trees, growing to and
from one another searching for the same light,
my mothers laughter in a dark room,
a photograph greying under my touch,
this is all i know how to do, carry loss around until
i begin to resemble every bad memory,
every terrible fear,
every nightmare anyone has ever had.

i ask did you ever love me?
you say of course, of course so quickly
that you sound like someone else
i ask are you made of steel? are you made of iron?
you cry on the phone, my stomach hurts

i let you leave, i need someone who knows how to stay.

-Warsan Shire

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heartbreak, love, quotes

 

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! Thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I awoke and found the dawn was grey:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! The night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.
–Ernest Dowson

Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae

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