I’m Terrible At Replying To Texts

We met at the housewarming party, remember?

Despite it being a couple days before Thanksgiving, it was warm enough outside for a few of us to be on the porch. I walked inside to grab another beer from the fridge and you were there. You were unloading the bottles of wine from their paper bags.

I’d heard about you from our mutual friends. They told me you were charismatic and charming.

You introduced yourself first with a firm handshake and confident smile. We small-talked about both of our work as educators and you followed me outside. We didn’t make it outside, though. After a few mins of talking in the dining room we sat down at the table and stayed talking for what seemed like forever. In a good way.

Every time my bottle was empty, you got up and got me a beer or two. Maybe three.

“Thanks, bro,” I’d say.

The next morning you and a couple of our mutual friends were going for brunch and you invited me. We exchanged phone numbers that night, although I don’t remember when. You told me to text you when I got home, so I did.

We really don’t hang out in the same circles, so our mutual friends were as surprised as I was that I showed up at brunch the next day. You saved me a seat next to you even though I never replied to your message to confirm I’d be there.

I’m terrible at replying to texts.

We were the last two to leave brunch that Sunday morning. We talked for ages again. I liked talking to you.

I told my best friend about you, actually, and he got jealous. “Oh, you like talking to him more than you like talking to me?” He was joking, of course.

This was different. My bond with my friend is unique and special but this with you was different.

On Tuesday, just three days after we met, we went out for a run together. While we were talking on our jog, I brushed past a rose bush and it cut my shin. You cleaned my cut and bandaged it for me. We stopped at a beer garden for a couple beers and you paid for mine.

I went to order a burger and when I came back with it I offered you half. That’s when I learned you’re vegetarian. You reminded me of that often. We said our goodbyes with a bro hug and you texted me in the parking lot telling me to text you when I got home.

But I’m terrible at replying to texts.

A couple months went by and we’d spent a lot of time together. Often, I’d be sitting on your sofa just a few feet from you with headphones on as I worked on another paper for school. You’d be watching the news, per usual.

“What is this?” I asked myself that a lot. I’m not into men in that type of way. You’re not, either. But I felt so damn connected to you.

In January, you invited me over to watch a movie with you. I love your house. I felt so safe, secure, and protected there. I ended up falling asleep on the sofa and you did too. The next day we met some mutual friends for a hike and then some drinks, but we went in separate cars because we didn’t want them to get the wrong idea even though we didn’t even have an idea as to what this was.

We went back to your place and fell asleep on your bed this time. I wore your clothes to bed because I wasn’t planning on spending the night. It was easy. Easy for me to fall asleep around you because I trusted you. I still do. There aren’t many people I trust.

In the morning, I kept working on a paper and got frustrated because I didn’t know how to cite a specific legal document. I went out for a run, came back, and showered, and when I got back to my laptop, the source was cited. You saw my frustration and you took the time to figure it out for me. If there’s any way to win an academic over, it’s through helping them cite something in correct APA.

This was my first semester in grad school, and you know my best friend and I worked our asses off on our final presentation. We even rehearsed it in front of you the night before presenting. You texted me to let you know when we were done presenting so I could tell you how it went.

But I’m terrible at replying to texts.

One time we stayed up all night and binge watched How to Get Away with Murder. I didn’t have the heart to tell you I’d already seen those episodes, so I acted as shocked as you were when the next murderer was revealed.

I fell asleep next to you on your bed and in the morning, you woke me up and said we were going on a daytrip. We went gambling on the border. I lost $100, of course, and you won $300. Not surprised.

You probably charmed the slots. Damn your charisma.

You made me question everything.

And then the pandemic hit. We haven’t seen each other in person, but we’ve texted back and forth here and there. But you already know.

I’m terrible at replying to texts.

I once broke the San Antonio mayor’s laptop in half.

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