Trigger warning: Ghosting. If you’re triggered by this topic (even though this story is fiction) perhaps wait until you’re in a better headspace to read on.
Samantha called her friend Rebecca during her lunch hour on Monday. She went to a staff room to get away from her desk and absentmindedly poked at her chicken spinach salad.
“I was worried about you,” Rebecca said a little agitated. “It’s not like you to not answer or respond, Sam.”
“I had plans,” Samantha said. “I went out.”
Samantha knew Rebecca would not accept such a curt but loaded answer and waited for the inevitable barrage of questions. Part of her couldn’t wait to share her experience, but at the same time, the entire thing with Adam felt very private and intimate, and she just wasn’t ready to divulge any of it yet. Besides, who would believe her if she told them she slept with a celebrity? Would Rebecca believe her?
“What plans,” Rebecca persisted. “Did you finally cave in to Jim from accounting? He’s been pestering you to go out with him, right?”
“It wasn’t Jim,” Samantha replied. “I don’t have time to get into it now, I have a meeting in a few minutes, I’ll catch you up later, okay?”
Samantha didn’t wait for a response and hung up. Becky’s gonna kill me for that, she thought and shrugged. Oh well.
As predicted, a text popped up from Rebecca almost immediately warning her she wasn’t off the hook yet.
I’m going to find out one way or another so you may as well tell, Rebecca texted.
She added a couple of winky emojis to show Samantha she was curious but still respectful.
Rebecca was the one person who knew more about Samantha’s personal life than anyone else. Despite their close friendship, it took Samantha many years to trust her about her dissatisfaction with Tim and their marriage. She held off telling her mainly because she anticipated a lecture about how good she had it and not to throw it all away just because she wanted some excitement in life.
“Kids grow up, get their own life, your time will come,” Rebecca suggested. Her own daughter was grown and out of the house, leaving Rebecca alone with her third husband of six years. But Samantha wasn’t so sure it had anything to do with kids. It had more to do with Tim’s personality, his character. When she finally had the courage to admit to Rebecca her disillusion about her sex life, it launched them into a new level of friendship that endured the test of time. Rebecca was a free spirit and much more extroverted than Samantha was, but they balanced each other out and respected one another.
One thing about Rebecca was her intense curiosity. Samantha knew Rebecca would pester her to the point of exasperation about her weekend, but would eventually lay off and let her be. Samantha hoped the latter would happen sooner, as she really didn’t want to talk about Adam to anyone right now. Frankly, she had a hard time believing she actually experienced the whole thing, and didn’t dream up the entire weekend in her head. Especially because on Monday morning, this very morning, there was no text or call from Adam, something which hit her harder than she expected.
She picked some more at her salad, and gave up. She wasn’t hungry. She packed her lunch back into her bag, got up and made her way back to her office.
Adam said he’ll call, she told herself. He’s touring, he’s busy, he’s probably tired…
Samantha smiled at that last thought and turned into the hallway toward her office.
That’s where she bumped into Jim.
“Hi Sam,” he said. “How was your weekend?”
Jim seemed genuinely happy to see her, and she felt momentarily guilty for wanting to escape from him immediately. He was, after all, her colleague, and a friend.
Samantha wondered why people kept asking about her weekend. They knew she didn’t usually have plans and kept things low key, unless it was kid-related. But she had to say something so she told him it was nice and relaxing, which technically wasn’t a lie. Then she redirected the question back at him.
“I was going to go to a game, someone gave me some tickets, but I came down with food poisoning,” Jim told her. “Otherwise, I would have called you. It was an OHL game. You like hockey, right?”
Samantha affirmed that she did and tried to excuse herself to avoid getting roped into a date with him next weekend.
“I hope you’re feeling better now,” she said as she reached her door to her office. “I have a meeting; can we chat later?”
Jim nodded to her and she left him standing in the hallway as she escaped into her office. She felt kind of bad for just dropping him like that, but she really didn’t have the mental space to deal with him right now. She was still feeling so full from her own weekend, from Adam and their night together, she didn’t want to be distracted by another man.
She thought about Jim while logging into her system and getting her notes prepared. He was a nice guy, in a friendly sort of way. She enjoyed his company in a group setting mostly, but wasn’t attracted or interested in him. They really didn’t have much in common; Jim had never married, was approaching 60, and had no kids. He seemed stuck in life and job and Samantha knew he was probably lonely and wanted some companionship.
But not with me, she reaffirmed herself. If he wants sex, which he likely does, it’s not going to happen with me. I’m not interested.
Samantha remembered the asinine behaviour of the guys she dated in college who constantly left her hanging, and promised herself she would not treat someone the same way. She would be honest with Jim, up front. He deserved that.
I’m going to tell him next time I’m not interested in getting involved, she vowed as she connected her Skype session with her next client.
Samantha spent the rest of Monday focusing on work and chatting with her kids. When she didn’t get a text from Adam by lunchtime, she figured he’d text her later. Or maybe that evening.
But no such text came.
Nor did one arrive on Tuesday.
Samantha expected the kids as of next weekend and really wanted to hear from Adam before they arrived on Friday afternoon. But he didn’t call or text her on Wednesday either. This silence unsettled her; she really wanted to reach out to him, but in the end talked herself out of it.
If he’s not calling, there’s a reason, she thought. She promised herself right after she got divorced she will not chase men who didn’t want to be with her of their own free will.
Except, she knew very well that if he did call, she would drop everything and answer it.
“Ugh,” Samantha said out loud. “I gotta stop this.”
Samantha swore she would not follow in the footsteps of her colleagues and become needy and desperate. Their online dating adventures sounded entertaining enough to Samantha, but she knew they suffered when the men acted differently than expected. There were constant complaints about the men’s poor communication methods, their inadequate texting styles, the assumptions when periods of silence or ghosting ensued, and a slew of other challenges.
These women wanted to be desired and pursued. They also wanted to continue feeling desired and pursued long after they established themselves as a couple with whomever their flavour of the month was. Inevitably, much went wrong, and as far as Samantha could tell, it always seemed to be the men’s fault.
“He’s not mature enough,” one said.
“He’s got others lined up, I’m just a backup plan,” another one said.
“He knew I was nervous about my root canal, not even one text that he’s thinking of me the day of?” complained a third.
Samantha refused to turn into such a desperate sounding control freak. She tried to remember how Tim was with his communication style while they were married. He made some effort to be consistent, but he had similar flaws. Most men did. Men weren’t wordy or in constant need of updates or texting attention.
Samantha reflected on this as she checked her phone again. Despite her justification not to be like her friends and colleagues, she felt a curious sense of desperation cling to her spirit. This deep and irrational desire for a simple sign, like a text, a call, even a voicemail, evoked an intense emotional reaction in her mind and body. Why did she feel so restless? She and Adam barely knew each other. No promises were made upon parting, even though Adam said he would call her.
But he didn’t say when he would call, Samantha reminded herself.
It was the kiss, she concluded. That kiss led her to believe him. She craved a sign from him, any sign that he was still thinking about her.
People don’t kiss the way he did after a hookup date like that, she thought, allowing that heart-fluttering feeling to engulf her once again. It’s not over. It can’t be over…
Or is it?
Samantha was just so confused. Did she fall for Adam that quickly? Because of one night of passion?
Samantha worked hard to be independent and strong after her divorce. She certainly didn’t want to fall into that schoolgirl mentality of waiting for the boy to call while putting her own life on hold.
But her confidence remained short-lived. There was a pull emanating from her phone, which kept her distracted and distraught. Repetitive reminders that Adam was famous and presently on tour didn’t deter her from constantly daydreaming about him, which increased her longing for him even more.
Vicious circle, she thought.
The longer the week went on without a sign from Adam, the more agitated Samantha became.
His silence rattled her.
Is he ghosting me? She pondered this possibility and searched the internet for definitions and examples.
Did she feel used? Did she misread the connection she felt they both shared? Her life became a sexually infused roller coaster of emotions from all her questions without answers.
By Wednesday night, her longing for Adam was so intense, she made herself go to bed at 7 pm just so she could strip down naked and be alone in the dark. She closed her eyes and relived her weekend in consecutive order. Every last excruciatingly intense, erotic aspect of it.
Missing him like this was a gut-wrenching ordeal she wasn’t prepared for. After all, she barely knew the man. That night, she slept badly and woke up disillusioned and worn out.
On Thursday during the day, Samantha came up with numerous strategies to keep her concentration on other things besides her phone and its elusive messages from Adam. She even deleted her chat apps to prevent her from texting him first, but then quickly re-installed them since that was the primary way her kids would contact her if they needed to. In the end, she deleted Adam out of her contact list.
There has to be a way to keep me away from this stupid phone, she deliberated, glaring at the little device with contempt.
Ultimately she silenced her notifications, muted the sound, and turned the phone face down. She gave herself specific times of the day to check for messages and focused on work and other things the rest of the time.
Smartphones are such a fucking curse sometimes, she told herself when she got home on Thursday afternoon and left her phone to charge in an obscure part of the laundry room so she wouldn’t feel so lured by it.
Samantha spent a lot of time reflecting on why she was feeling so volatile and insecure. She knew the moment she accepted the concert tickets it was possible she was getting herself into a one-time situation, a special circumstance that was conceived out of that crash with Adam on the snowy sidewalk and her inevitable fall into the snowbank. The fact that Adam invited her to his hotel after his concert and slept with her later was totally unexpected but also somewhat unsurprising; she made some assumptions after he dedicated that song to her, a song filled with lyrics full of innuendo.
Anxious to get Friday over with, she went to bed early again on Thursday night, purposely leaving her phone in the laundry room. But Samantha had trouble falling and staying asleep and tossed and turned all night. At one point, she reached for her tablet and watched some soft-core porn just to feel something. She briefly contemplated getting her wand but decided she was too lazy to get up and besides, it probably wasn’t charged anyway. The porn helped bring her to climax, after which she finally fell asleep.
By Friday morning, Samantha woke up late and was beside herself with anxiety. Fearing she’d be late for her meeting, she rushed around to get to work on time. She went into the shower without checking her phone, something that never happened; she didn’t even think of the kids, knowing they would arrive later anyway. It wasn’t until she poured coffee into her travel mug when she finally took her phone off the charger and turned it on.
To be continued – Chapter 9
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