Hey Yalan. I'm sorry that I didn't meet with you on Sunday; I've been really busy preparing for a conference. I know you don't like unreliability, and I'm sorry that I'm always so unreliable. I think, perhaps, we should leave it as I don't think I'm going to change this sort of behaviour. I'm in a strange, transitional state at the moment and it's unfair to involve you in this. I'm really sorry. You are great, of course, but I don't think this will work. I'm sure you are feeling the same and I'm sorry not to have been in touch sooner. With best wishes, and apologies, Gareth x
I'd just got back from tennis. I was feeling rather hungry and I'd made up my mind to cook even though it was already 8.20pm (I don't like to eat after 8; I am convinced that it would make me fat). The second I read that message - I read it immediately when I saw from my locked screen that he'd sent something more than one line - I lost my appetite.
So all I had for 'dinner', post-tennis, were two bananas.
After a few minutes, and on impulse, I replied, 'Can we meet for a few minutes?'
He said, 'I can't. I'm sorry.'
I called Barry, spent some time at his crying. Then I came back. Spent more time crying. In the midst of my emotional state, I texted, 'Why did you even bother?'
'I like you a lot,' he said. 'But it won't work. I'm sorry.'
Is it just me, or was he beginning to sound a bit like a broken record with those incessant apologies?
Still in my emotional state, I responded, 'How can you say those two things in the same breath? Have you tried to make it work? If not, then you can't say that you like me very much. You just don't like me enough.'
I sent it and finally got into the shower. I cried some more. I came out, and saw that he hadn't responded.
And then...nothing. The urge to cry has gone. The anger is directed only at how he actually deemed it fit to send me that text message. Isn't it ironic? I find it staggering that he would send me that message, given how parsimonious he'd been with his text messages this whole time. Isn't it ironic? Surely the irony is not lost on him.
The ironic thing, too, was this: if I hadn't stopped myself from doing what he just did to me 24 hours ago, he would never have had the chance to send that text message. I texted him on Saturday evening asking if he was still free on Sunday. He couldn't even spare 30 seconds of his time to quickly say, 'Sorry, I am busy.' But when I sent a follow-up 23 hours later ('So I guess the answer is a no then?') he replied within seconds: 'Yes. I'm sorry. I've been busy.'
He was wrong to apologise for not seeing me on Sunday. I am not that unreasonable, and neither am I stupid; I figured he'd flake after he told me that he was writing a paper for a conference. That he apologised for that shows that he hadn't got a clue, had he? He should have apologised for leaving me hanging about Sunday. That was what brought about the urge to say, 'It literally takes 30 seconds to say that.' And more: 'This really isn't working. I think you just don't like me enough. I'm done with this. It was nice knowing you.'
But I resisted the urge for three reasons. First, I knew that he was busy with the conference, and so I didn't want to burden him with something so negative; but I guess the joke is on me for a) actually sparing a thought as to how the text message would affect him; and b) believing that he'd even give a shit. Second, I have a principled stance against ending things with someone over a text message; it is not only cowardly, but disrespectful, as if the other person isn't worth the time to meet and properly explain things, for closure's sake. Finally, a part of me - a fucking stupid part of me - wondered if it really was the end of the road; if things could change if I talked to him.
Hope springs eternal in our bumbling efforts at finding love. Such misplaced optimism. So mistaken, so irrational, blind to the facts. Our yearning for love leaves untouched, uncorrupted, some space in a heart otherwise deadened by the relentless blows of failed relationships. Hope springs eternal, then, and we women - is it just us women? - carry it like a torch with which we stumble around the dimly lit interiority of the labyrinth designed and built, especially for us, by the man who possesses a piece of our heart. How many times of tripping and falling would it take for us - me - to realise that a man who would keep me in this labyrinth does not deserve this piece of my heart? that, indeed, the only acceptable way out is to torch it, let it go up in smokes, along with the naive hope that this man likes you enough to change?
Then again, I didn't want to change him - unless wanting to change him entails wanting him to respond to a message that clearly needed an answer, such as 'are we meeting tomorrow', but changing this deplorable habit of not answering a message like that would be beneficial to him anyway, so I was never going to compromise on that (any longer). But after I got to know him a bit, I'd come to expect that he'd not keep 50% of our dates. It was likely to grate (again) after a while, but I'd assumed the risk voluntarily and so I had no right to complain. So that wasn't the issue. And so he simply didn't get it.
Above all else, that message - who is this person? I cannot remember a time in my life when I'd been dumped by a text message; and neither can I remember ever doing it to anyone. That he didn't think it was disrespectful, or didn't think how it would affect me, or didn't give a thought as to whether I would want to talk about anything - I'd slowly come to realise that he is really selfish, but this text message truly underscores his selfishness. I don't even know who he is. Had I ever known?
I don't care anymore. Of course, I am pissed that he beat me to it; but I saw no long-term potential anyway. When I left his last Monday, the thought crossed my mind that I could see myself getting bored sooner rather than later; I needed (still need) more from a relationship than what he could offer. If I'd given less of a damn about his feelings, I would've ended this in the unceremonious way that he did on Sunday night.
So here's the short of it: fuck you, Gareth. I wouldn't even be angry if he'd afforded me the courtesy of a face-to-face conversation. For all his supposed literature-related sensitivities...I can't believe someone who claims to be sensitive can do something like this. If he genuinely doesn't think that it's disrespectful, then we really are fundamentally incompatible.
The rational part of me is glad - relieved - that this is finally over. I should have walked away after this incident. It shows either how much I liked him that I didn't, or how much of a massive idiot I was for not having enough self-respect to ditch someone who didn't even remember to cancel on me 20 minutes before we were due to meet.
Actually, this is the real short of it: fuck you, Yalan. You are a fucking idiot. Serves you right for meeting someone like that; you deserve this shitty luck for perpetually failing to learn your fucking lessons, for perpetually bending your flimsy backbone for men who are non-committal, for being a stereotypical stupid woman, the sort who falls harder as the man withdraws further. YOU ARE AN IDIOT. SUCH A COLOSSAL IDIOT.
Now that the emotional dust has cleared, I am going to send him a long message telling him how shitty it was of him to send me that message and that I totally agree with his conclusion. I don't care if he doesn't reply. I'm done caring what he does.
Related to this: I have been feeling so unattractive for the past few weeks because Gareth. I was not pretty enough, not smart enough, not interesting enough, not charming enough; surely I wasn't enough if he didn't want to see me as much as I'd wanted to see him, right?
It is really time to stop this - stop letting a man's attitude towards me dictate how I feel about myself.