I still wonder what happened—what made you go silent.
How could you just stop replying to text messages, mid-conversation? But my pride won’t allow me to ask. My pride told me to write you off. To block you. You had been obtuse before, you had gone quiet. But this time, it was different.
This time was more meaningful, and I was more invested. I had started to compose the story of “us.” This time, I decided you didn’t deserve another chance.
We had been unattached lovers for a couple of years. We had an unquenchable sexual hunger for one another. As soon as you walked through the door, our intensity could set off alarms. We could not explain it, but it was an energy that took over. We desired nothing more of one another than our sporadic evenings that would sate our hunger for a while, until the next time.
You wanted to know me. You asked me so many questions, but you kept your story to yourself. You didn’t want to let me in. You seemed to “get” me. You seemed to appreciate that I was so much more than this primal, sexual being who would greet you at the door. You saw the woman who I project myself to be: childlike but successful, strong but vulnerable, independent but longing for an equal, a lover, rescuer of all animals, and the founder of a charity…
One evening, you decided to tell me your story. You feared I would be turned away—instead, your vulnerability that night drew me in. No, I dove in. Perhaps I was overwhelmed by this first glimpse through the shaded window of you. I felt like this was you “letting me in.” Why was I so honoured, as though the Queen herself had handed me her personal memoir? This was a man who clearly was not as evolved as he hoped to be, telling me his fractured backstory. So what?
Your story actually didn’t faze me. In fact, I recall thinking, “That’s it?” But it wasn’t the story; it was what I perceived as vulnerability on your part. You cried on my couch. I comforted the you who I witnessed before me.
We talked about this becoming a “thing.” We made plans for weekends and for the summer. We got excited, and we talked about future travel. You asked me what my favourite foods were, my favourite colour—it was all so pure and new. We had known each other for a few years, but we were finally getting to know each other.
We continued to “pass notes in class” for several days with giddy excitement. Then, you went quiet. I respected your silence at first but then I got concerned that something might have actually happened. After a day, I asked if you were okay. Another day passed, then you replied with, “My life is a mess, I need to sort my sh*t out.”
But you had explained that, or had you? I didn’t actually know any more. I offered to be here for you. You had been so open and willing to express, share, and be vulnerable, until now.
I let a day pass, I messaged you to ask if you would be open to a phone call, but…silence.
I left on holiday with a girlfriend to a quiet, much-needed retreat for several days. Upon my return, one week later, I decided that my compassion and patience was now teaching you that this was okay. While you deserved my compassion, I did not deserve your avoidance.
I sent a note expressing my concern for you, your emotional state, your sudden change of heart, and your cessation of communication. I reminded you that we had only a week ago established that we were going to start being each other’s human—someone to lean on, someone with whom we could share our lives. If you had changed your mind, as I could only assume had happened, it was irresponsible to do an about-face and disappear.
So, while you may not offer me closure, I can create it for myself. I created the story of “us.” The story of two people whose insatiable sexual energy percolated into the prospect of something more. The story of a man who allowed himself to become vulnerable, and I got caught up in the potentiality of it all—that is what I was attached to: the potential, the story. Not you. The “you” who I became attached to isn’t real.
“You” didn’t change; the story I told myself changed. So I can actually write the story as it actually happened.
And you are no longer in it.