I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your text message – the one where I was supposed to confirm the time and location of our date. I told you that I would, but I didn’t. It’s not that I forgot, either. I wasn’t run off my feet at work, or unable to find an appropriate moment. I spent the entire day at home, cooking and writing and thinking and polishing off an $8 bottle of red wine. I had the time.
I hate that I didn’t text you back, because I know how it feels to wait for a message that never arrives. If you’re anything like me, which I suspect you might be, you’ll probably start by concocting a long list of excuses – because, for whatever reason, you like me, and that’s what we do for people we like. We give them passes, whether or not they deserve them. They usually don’t.
Then, as the hours pass and you still haven’t heard from me, you’ll probably direct your analytical thinking inwards – asking yourself what you did to mess it up. You’ll relay the last two weeks, text-by-text, trying to piece the puzzle together. Was it that I didn’t find you physically attractive? Was it that your last message had one too many smiley faces? Was it that you were too keen – too excited?
I could tell you, in all honesty, that it wasn’t you – but you probably wouldn’t believe me. In the face of unrequited affection, it’s always our fault. I want you to know that you are physically attractive; your teeth are perfectly straight and white, you have a thick head of dark hair – the kind I wish I had – and a gorgeous, smiling set of blue eyes. You’re creative, ambitious in your goals, just the right amount of sensible off-balanced by just the right amount of wild youthfulness. I wasn’t put-off by your being keen or excited and I wasn’t put-off by that one extra (unnecessarily happy) emoji.
In fact, now that I think about it, we’d probably get along really well, you and I.
It’s funny because nothing frustrates me more than someone not responding to a text message. I find it to be the height of rudeness, a cyber-slap in the face. It’s lazy, it’s selfish, it’s insensitive; it’s someone being so completely consumed in the movements of their own existence that they’re unable to comprehend the feelings of others. I understand that this makes me a hypocrite — I hate hypocrites.
Maybe it’s a warped defense mechanism of mine, a way of protecting myself after a long string of broken promises, hurt and disappointment. Maybe it’s my way of gaining some level of control or power — things I’m so often without when it comes to relationships and dating. It could be that I like feeling unattainable, that it strokes my long-bruised ego. Whatever it is, I guess all I can say is that I’m sorry.
But even then, I’m not sure I’d mean it.