How I met him is a funny story. We had a mutual friend and he had been talking to her, asking to set us up on a date. A little bit of social media stalking had got him thinking that we could actually hit it off. I, on the other hand, was least interested. A year or so ago, I broke up with my long-term boyfriend and almost immediately found myself in a fling that lasted longer than I had expected. So, when my friend suggested that I meet him, my response was an unenthusiastic, “Ah, yes, let’s see!” and I repeated that line like a caged parrot for one whole month. We started talking to each other on social media but I was so careless with my responses it surprised me that he was still interested.
Finally one day he called me up while I was at work and said he was right outside my building and if I was free, we could go grab a cup of coffee. I was almost done with work and he was next to my office, there was no reason to say no to this guy. So, we headed to a coffee house nearby and got chatting. I won’t lie, I was smitten. He was sweet; the right amount of flirty and smart!
For me it’s always been that easy, you either like someone, or you don’t. And I liked him. We started meeting often - lunches, brunches, long car rides, phone calls, there was always so much to say to him. But do you ever get this sinking feeling that in the midst of all this good stuff, something is wrong? I did, too. But every time I felt there was something wrong, I would brush it off. And, obviously, it’s not like this man was a stranger to me. He was my friend’s colleague and they met every day. If there was someone else in his life, she would know, right?
Then, one day I stayed the night at his place and he was all happiness and sunshine. He kissed me, he held me in his arms, he made me breakfast, he woke me up with a cup of coffee and before I left, he said he had the best time ever. With a warmth in my heart I reached home and messaged him. He replied a day later. Something was different. His replies were colder and the anxiety that had been swimming around my toes, now had me engulfed in its whirlpool. I kept prodding, asking, questioning and all he said was “It’s just work!’ ‘I am out with mom!’ ‘Sorry, I was sleeping.”
We didn’t talk for a week then, by the end of which, he had posted an Instagram picture with another girl. By now, my mind was reeling in and out of a dark space.
He confessed later, that there was someone else. In fact, there had always been someone else. That’s what being the other woman feels like - when the realization that it was all lies hits you, it hits you harder than a baseball bat. You see it then, the fact that he called her when you had slept. That she was probably the first thought in his mind when he kissed you. That she knew. She knew about my existence. And she pulled him back. In all honesty, I probably never had the option of pulling him back. I was only the distraction, the experiment.
I was the side-chick in every romantic movie who gets her heart broken at the altar. And everyone is celebrating the love that came to be, but no one mourns the one that ended. Nobody talks about the number of ice-cream-in-a-bucket days it will take her to finally feel okay, to finally feel like herself again.