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by A. 8 months ago in breakups

The timeline

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

In case you’ve forgotten, this is how it all happened.

There was that day in November. A Friday. We’d been talking for a while, and I’d finally, officially asked you for a date. We were to have coffee. 10 AM.

You started texting me at 6:30 that morning, earlier than our normal start.

Then, as I’m driving to the coffee place, you text me - tell me we should postpone. Tell me you have a meeting at noon, but we can meet for coffee after. You think you’ll be done by 1 PM, but no later than 2.

So, I go back home. Go to the grocery. Then, drive back downtown so I’m near the coffee shop around 1 PM. It’s 1:20, and I text to check-in. Nothing. Not until 1:45, when you tell me you’re “technically” done with your part of the work, but you can’t really leave.

No date.

You feel bad, you say. We haven’t met yet, and it’s your fault, you tell me. I tell you that I really like you, that I value your work, and that I know we’ll meet soon.

I go back home. You text me when you finally get back to your place, send me a sexy pic.

I smile - but also feel hurt, angry. I don’t want a picture of you, I want to be with you. I want to see you, hear your voice, share space with you.

You go out of town the next day with friends. You text me the whole time.

On Sunday, we “share” a drink - me on my deck, you on your patio. Texting pics back and forth.

Monday morning. Texting each other by 8 AM. No mention of Friday.

Tuesday. I call you. You call me back. We talk, the first time we’d heard each other’s voices.

We agree to a date. A verbal agreement. Coffee. 10:30. The next day. Wednesday.

It’s Wednesday. We text in the morning. Our date is still on. I go to the coffee shop. You tell me you’ll be a bit late. 10:45 or so.

No problem, you’re on your way.

I grab a coffee and take a seat. I see you walk in - tall, blonde, in a hurry. You’re more beautiful than I imagined, more lovely than I could see from your pictures. You hug me, I hug you. You smell incredible. You grab an iced chai latte.

We talk and talk and talk some more. We are lost in each other. You are completing my thoughts, saying what’s on my mind. You’re laughing at my jokes and stories.

Finally, you need to go home, you say. I should probably get some work done. So, after nearly two hours, we leave. You took a Lyft there, but I offer you a ride home. You accept. We talk and laugh on the way back to your apartment. The day is gray and rainy, but I am feeling bright and excited. You hug me before you get out of the car.

I drive home. Go upstairs, pour a drink. I need to calm down. I text you and tell you I’m home, tell you I had a great time, tell you I want to see you again. Because I just can’t wait. Not for you. You tell me we should get drinks Thursday night. After all, I have a meeting downtown anyway.

It’s Thursday. Another day of texting all day. A meeting. I text you after, but you say you’re feeling down. We don’t have drinks, but I do go online and order flowers to be sent to you. Then, you ask about the trip. The one I’d mentioned a while back. I buy a plane ticket for you and send you a screenshot.

I offer to come over and give you a hug, but you note that we’ve just met and you’re feeling a bit sad and maybe another time. So, we keep talking, texting, laughing. We watch TV together in our respective homes. And, we make a date for the next week. Lunch.

We spend the weekend making plans for our trip. It’s work for me, but we’ll also take in a ballet and go to eat and just enjoy the town.

We have lunch the next week. You kiss me as that date ends. I’m flying high.

We go on our trip - an entire week together. Holding, touching, kissing, making love with each other. Our connection is strong, it burns through us. We don’t sleep, we just catch fire.

We see each other over the next four weeks. And then, that night. After more than 6 hours at your house, it’s time for me to go. You hug me at my car, but don’t kiss me. I text you I’m back home, you don’t respond.

You took nine months off. I mean, we texted for about a week after that night, then you just went away. For nine months.

You came back. It’s another September and you’re in my texts again. You stay there until November, until it’s been almost exactly a year since our very first meeting. Then, you come and find me at a meeting. We talk, we laugh, you take me for drinks. We go to your apartment, but not inside. Instead, we spend hours on the roof of your building, looking at our city. You hug me like I’m the lover you’ve always wanted and finally found again.

We’re to have coffee Thursday. But, Thursday comes and you don’t respond to texts or my phone call.

The weekend, you’re back. We’re texting. It’s Monday and I invite you for drinks, but your friend is in town.

The next week, we do meet. Twice in the same week. Then, you go away again - only a week this time, and very apologetic when you come back. We’ll see each other one more time, then the holidays and time with our families.

You move in the new year. To an apartment I helped you find. You keep telling me we’ll get together, but the time is never quite right. Finally, I suggest we meet one day at my office. A new place I’m working. We’re texting on a Thursday morning, on a day we’re to meet. Texting at 7 in the morning until about 9:30. The last text I’d get from you that day was at 9:30 AM - you asked if I was still going to the office, if so, what time. I’d responded I’d be heading that way around 11.

Nothing. I call you at 11 as I’m leaving. No response. I text you when I get into town. I even drove past your house.

I wouldn’t hear from you again until Saturday.

Now, it’s March. You are really very serious about visiting me. You call me. You tell me you love me. You’ve never said this before.

After the weekend and the city shutting down because of COVID, I go into my office to get the things I’ll need to work from home. We text that morning. But, I want to see you. I’m not sure what will happen with the city shutting down, and I want to see you. I mean, I haven’t seen you since December. So, I go by your house and knock at the door and stand on your porch for a minute and then you tell me you can’t see me. I tell you I just wanted to say hi, to hug you, to see you before the world gets shut down. But, you can’t, you say.

Then, you disappear. Six weeks this time.

Now, it’s May. You invite me to your house. Drinks and tv and smoking on your deck.

You seem very available, very amorous. But, you also seem drunk and a bit high and I’m definitely drunk, too. So, I hold you and you hold me and then, I leave.

I feel sad on the way home. I feel like we won’t see each other again. But, we text off and on for a few more days. Then, in the middle of a Saturday all day texting conversation, you just leave. You don’t respond on Sunday. You don’t answer my call.

Two weeks this time. Just gone.

Then, one day when I’m in the office, you call me. We talk for hours. The next day, we talk again. The weekend, more texting and another call from you. You want to come to my office, you want to be with me.

I pick you up on a Tuesday morning in June and we go. And we spend 12 hours together and it’s magic. The next week, we’re together Monday and Tuesday.

Then, the next week, you go with me on a trip out of town. A ride in the car, a conference, time alone together.

The week after the trip, we’re together again. Then, that weekend, we’re together. I spend a night at your house.

The following week, we’re at dinner. Having drinks. And you just get up and leave. Just leave. And we don’t see each other in July. One day in August, I come by your house. But then, I have to go out of town for some family stuff.

Now, it’s September and I’m back at your house. Now, it’s late September and I’m sleeping in your bed. Now, it’s October and you’re helping me find a new place. Now, it’s November and we’re planning a trip to the beach.

Now, it’s Friday - almost exactly two years from our first date. At breakfast, you get some texts. By 7 PM that night, after we’ve been together for nearly 30 hours, you tell me that those texts were from him. That you’d planned to meet him that night. But, that you and I were having a nice time, so you cancelled.

I left.

I walked out.

I told you this was not ok.

Because, well, it’s not ok. I found out that later the next week, you did see him. Now, I haven’t seen you in months. You keep texting me. Asking me about my life, my dates, my world. But, that world is closed to you now.

That’s how it happened.



A. writes creative nonfiction and fiction across a range of genres.

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