“What just happened?”, was all I could ask myself as I stood on a crowded 42nd street with tourists passing me by on New Years Day. “I could swear I was just on a date which seemed to be going well and then…. what just happened?” I stood motionless for about twenty minutes replaying the day over in my head. Had I done something wrong? Had I said something offensive? Had I grown hooves or horns over the last several hours and not known it?
It was about that time I was snapped out of my initial shock by a text from a friend of mine asking me how the date was going. I’d been talking about this guy to my friends for a while. We had met years earlier and always had a steamy texting relationship which never manifested in us being physically together due to one reason or another (in hindsight a clear sign, but sometimes I’m an idiot apparently). But, like Elizabeth Warren, ‘nevertheless. he persisted’ to contact me and we would even talk on the phone. Although I have pictures on my phone of almost every inch of his body, our conversations weren’t singularly sexual. In fact, it seemed that there was a genuine connection between us which is what led to our New Year’s Day date.
The date had started well. In fact, the conversation was going so well that we lost track of time and were almost late to the movie we had planned to see. After a quick walk to the AMC on 42nd Street we made it in perfect time (a moment of serendipity, it seemed).
As the credits rolled we stood up to go while he was checking his phone when (the not so best actor on a date award goes to…) he informed me that he received a work email which had to be dealt with… on a Sunday night… which also happened to be New Year’s Day. “What?”, I thought to myself. “This can’t be real. He’s making an OUT for himself- OH MY GOD, he’s trying to escape a date with… me.” The inward spiral of shame, confusion, and self loathing was going full tornado as we exited the theater, all the while him saying that he would like to raincheck a drink for later in the week, which only confused me further. “What are these signals?”, I thought. We finally reached the sidewalk after what seemed a five year trip down the escalators. There was an awkward hug and goodbye and that was that.
After consulting my friend via text, there on the sidewalk, I texted my date, asking him to be straightforward. I wanted to know, either way, what had happened and explained that there were no hard feelings. He swore it wasn’t an “out” and apologized for giving me that impression. He explained that he had a very nice time and thought that I was “wonderful”.
“Huh, it must have all been in my head”, I thought, “Why am I such an idiot sometimes?”.
I texted him the next night, on Jan. 2nd 2017.
I haven’t heard from him since.
This isn’t the first time I’ve been ghosted and this experience feels more and more common amongst my friends. Last week I cleaned my social media and phonebook of ghosts, there were more than I care to admit. It feels better having them out of my media, but it’s hard not to wonder: “What just happened?”
by Kern McFadden