We met at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington, where we had both come to see the new “Culture of Beauty” special exhibition. It was random and unexpected.
“What do you think of this painting?” he said.
“Um… it’s really beautiful…” I replied, surprised.
“Hi, I’m Ryan.”
Before I knew it, we were walking idly around the galleries together, not really looking at what hung on the walls. After a while I suggested we sit outside in the courtyard, as it was a beautiful spring evening, quite rare for London. We talked for two hours, until the guards kicked us out.
“Pints?” he suggested. I’m never one to turn down an offer for pints.
What had started as a date with myself to see a special exhibition had ended with an actual, impromptu date with a charming cinematographer from Leeds. He made music, was an Apple fanboy and had some badass tattoos. What had just happened? This had to mean something.
We exchanged numerous long emails and texts daily over the course of the next few weeks. We had so much in common and many similar interests. He would come to my flat after work and we’d walk along the Thames. One night we sat under a tree while it rained and shared a bottle of prosecco. On our third (planned) date, he kissed me. And we proceeded to drunkenly make out all over town the rest of the night, two kids that couldn’t get enough of each other. People stared, but we didn’t care.
A few weeks later, we both had the day off for the Royal Wedding, so we made plans to spend the day together. I arrived at the High Street Kensington tube station at that morning, where he was waiting for me.
“My father’s holding a champagne breakfast for the wedding,” he said. “Want to come?”
“Um… okay… I’m meeting your family?”
“Just my father.”
“Oh, well, sure!”
This was soon, meeting a parent. Well, as long as there was champagne involved, how bad could it be?
It turned out to be lovely. The next day, he asked me to be his girlfriend. With a burning in my heart, I said yes. This was serious business. I knew I didn’t want to be without him, so I took the leap. I was on Cloud 9. But also silently freaking out. I hadn’t been Someone’s Girlfriend in so long. I don’t do boyfriends. Letting someone in scared the shit out of me. But it was all so serendipitous, I just couldn’t say no. It was time to grow up, I told myself. Stop holding people at arm’s length, stop the endless parade of men. Take a chance.
Every time I saw him, it was just so good. Little things like going to the movies, walking around Kensington, going on a pub crawl with his father, cooking dinner together, and spending hours in bed. He helped me move to a new flat. He’d go out in the morning to get me coffee, even though he didn’t drink it himself. I started to believe in this, that this was a good thing. And I let him in. I held hands with him on the street. And we made it Facebook official (perhaps the biggest step of all!).
We just connected on almost every level, it seemed. The only things we disagreed on were beer and modes of transportation. He drank Stella Artois and preferred the bus, and I loved Carlsberg and took the tube. So, I took the bus with him and he stocked his refrigerator with cases of Carlsberg. If those were the only things we disagreed on, well, I could live with that.
And then last week, it all came to a screeching halt. He had come to my flat on a Sunday, we cooked dinner and then went to the pub to watch the Man U vs Chelsea game. It was another idyllic evening, filled with kisses and banter. Back at home, he made me come three times. When he left, he said, “Bye dahling, I’ll call you tomorrow.”
Tomorrow never came. The next day, we exchanged exactly four text messages, instead of our usual 50. He was really busy on a project at work, he said. Ok, I get that. The next day, my texts went unanswered. So I called him that night. No answer. That’s strange, I thought. But I tried to relax, because the last thing I wanted was to be a crazy, obsessive girl who freaks out when she can’t get ahold of her boyfriend for 2 days. My worst fear is becoming That Girl.
After another day of radio silence, I called him again. And again, no answer. So I left a voicemail. I was confused and worried. I knew he wasn’t dead, since he was still active on his online profiles. Everything had been going so well, not one little argument, nothing that would have upset him.
Three days later, I looked at my Facebook profile, and my status simply read, “In A Relationship.” The person with whom I was in said relationship had vanished.
“What the fuck!” I shouted. My flatmate ran into my room, alarmed.
“Are you okay?” she asked. “No. He fucking defriended me and blocked me!” I cried.
“What the fuck?” she replied. “Just like that?”
Just like that.