Gaslight Much?

Photo by Gabriel Matula on Unsplash

I do believe there are times in our lives when the universe conspires to teach us something. Generally, we are faced with a challenge and we rise up to meet it and come away better for having experienced it. Then, of course, there’s what I just went through in the last two weeks. That could probably best be described as a whole lot of “WTF?” Let me explain:

On or around December 14, things for me could not possibly have been better. A lifelong dream had come true. After trying harder than anytime I had ever tried to do anything ever before, I got myself a book deal. I remember getting off a conference call with my agent and the publisher and thinking, “This is going to be the best Christmas ever!”

A few days later, I received a Facebook friend request from someone I had known of in my past. We were never friends, but I had seen her around. She was cute twenty-five years ago. Today, she’s nothing less than stunning. Stunning like, I’ll accept your friend request and maybe daydream a little at your photo, but that’s about all. I don’t have a contentious relationship with reality. This was not a person that I would start to make inquiries about to see if they were involved.

We began to message back and forth after I accepted her request, but from what I could glean from her page, she was very much involved with someone.

On Saturday the 22nd, , around 8 pm, we were messaging back and forth, and she managed to explain that she was freshly single and, being “hypersexual” and all, it was a difficult period for her. Even still, I did not make assumptions. Then she brought up the idea of meeting for coffee at 9 o’clock. She lived an hour away, so we planned to meet in the middle.

Okay: now I was starting to wonder if perhaps the second greatest thing of my life was beginning to unfold. It wasn’t completely outside the realm of possibility. I mean, I had just nabbed a book deal. My life was changing.

At the diner, however, she explained that we should probably not get involved romantically. I was a bit disappointed, but I agreed. We continued to message each other throughout the day and decided to go to the diner again on the day after Christmas. This time it was around the corner from me because she was in town visiting her parents.

During this meeting, she had explained that she was very relieved that she had the wherewithal to not let our first meeting “go in a romantic direction.”

“I always screw those things up,” she explained.

In the parking lot, we hugged good-bye and I could swear she said that we should get together again — she’d be in town all week.

I drove to work after wondering exactly what she meant by “not allowing it to move in a romantic direction.” It planted a seed. I believe it was designed to; however, I just let it roll around my head a little without pursuing it.

I texted her that night and asked if we’d be getting together before she went home.

“Tonight?” came the reply. “I’m leaving tomorrow morning.”

I did not ask if I heard her correctly about her being in town all week. I just thought I misunderstood and said, “No, not tonight.”

I work until midnight. It seemed a little strange to meet for coffee at that time.

The next day, she texted me and said she almost wished she had come over.

“I’m not sure if I wanted to have sex or just lay next to you…but I just wanted to be there,” she explained.

Okay, now I was completely confused. Over the moon with ecstasy and unadulterated joy — but confused, nonetheless.

We decided we’d have a date at my apartment on Saturday night, which was two days away.

On Saturday morning, as I was getting ready to pick up my kids, she sent me a text:

“I hope you don’t think less of me, but I had sex with someone last night.”

What does one say in this situation? We weren’t dating — I had no justifiable reason to be angry. I felt weird, obviously, but I couldn’t get all Stanley Kowalski on her. I had no cause, really.

So, hours later, we’re at my apartment talking. I really didn’t pick up a vibe in the two and a half hours that we spoke that it might be a good idea to push her dog off the couch and start making out with her — I’m kind of slow like that. I mean, granted, if she held my hand, touched my arm, allowed our feet to make contact — any of that would’ve probably helped move things along; but none of it was happening.

At about 1 am, she summarily announced that we could’ve had sex if I got to it a bit earlier, but now she just wanted to go to sleep. I started to kiss her, but she kept her mouth clenched shut and made it apparent that she wasn’t into it. We walked into my bedroom, she mentioned that she was leaving her jeans on and we went to sleep.

At this point, I am thoroughly confused. I texted her the next day and she didn’t text me back for hours. Then, my next text was ignored entirely.

I woke up the next morning and almost robotically walked over to my computer and unfriended her on Facebook. Then I blocked her. Then I blocked her on Instagram. Then I blocked her on my cell. If you were to ask me why I did that, I’d have no answer. I don’t think I need one.

If you walk outside your house in the morning and you smell a dead animal, you could stand there and wonder if it’s coming from under the porch or your neighbor’s yard or the woods. You could try to figure out if it’s a squirrel or a chipmunk or a deer. You could contemplate if it died violently, or of old age — or, you could just walk back in the house because it stinks.

I just walked back in the house.

Gaslight Much? was originally published in P.S. I Love You on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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