It was a Friday night and I was by myself at a bar watching a Grateful Dead tribute band. I was surrounded by wrinkles, marijuana and a joyful crowd of Baby Boomer’s reenacting their psychedelic pasts.’ Five beers deep and a young man approached my table and asked if I was alone. I sat up with a proud grin on my face and answered yes. He smiled and said, “Hi, my name’s Caleb. I’m alone too. Can I join you?”
We hit it off immediately and were inseparable from that point forward. Our month-long romance consisted of music, organic vegetables, crystal healing, laughter and a flourishing friendship with a side of sex. We considered ourselves friends with benefits, but knew our connection was much stronger than that. We promised each other we wouldn’t get serious as we each just escaped unhealthy long-term relationships. Truth is, we secretly knew we’d eventually end up together, but for some reason that felt really scary.
I was with him the night I found out one of my best friends had passed away. Caleb was there for me and he offered an abundance of support and love the entire week leading up to the funeral. When I boarded the plane, overcome with anxiety and fear, I had no idea that was the last time I’d ever hear from him again. Caleb broke up with me the day I left for the funeral by ghosting me the entire week I was away. He stopped answering my phone calls and text messages and dropped off the face of the earth as if he never existed. He intentionally abandoned me at my lowest point knowing that I was suffering the heartbreak and loss of a best friend. The mother fucker ghosted me at a funeral…how ironic.
Seven days, 10 missed calls, and 50 text messages later, Caleb resurfaced from his hideout. My plane was seconds away from taking off when I received this text: “Hey, hope you have a safe flight. Sorry for everything.”
I wrote back, “Don’t ever fucking speak to me again.”
He responded, “I’m so sorry, Melissa. I don’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to be there for you emotionally and I guess I just vanished. It was a lot for me to handle and I couldn’t do it.”
My response, “Don’t ever fucking speak to me again.”
I ran into Caleb two months later on a Friday, at the same bar, watching the same Grateful Dead Tribute band. He approached me like a scared and cowardice dog, said hello and asked how I was doing. I was coldhearted, short, and obviously annoyed he was in my presence. He made every attempt to charm me with jokes, memories and genuine interest in my life. I made every attempt to murder him with my eyes while I held back the urge to drown his face in beer.
Caleb liked me a lot, but not enough to stick around when the going got tough. He loved our effortless relationship filled with non-exclusive fun and excitement. He loved the laughter, the positivity, and the “good vibes” lifestyle we cherished together. Helping me cope through a tragedy was more than he signed up for, and I don’t blame him. Death isn’t easy, and everyone handles it differently. But to be abandoned without explanation wasn’t something I signed up for either.
I trusted and valued him. All romance aside, he could have been there for me as a friend, but he chose not to. Hurting me when I was already experiencing agonizing pain was easier than facing the emotions he wasn’t ready to face. He chose hurt over love. His healing crystals would be ashamed.