This is a continuation of the story started in Michigander in Cleveland (Part 1).
Backstory: My friend from Michigan was in Cleveland for the weekend, and I was determined to have a fun night out on the town. We had a few ideas about where to go to check out the best of the city, but after an original plan to hit up the Ohio City neighborhood fell through, we planned to restaurant hop on East 4th street.
We finished up at Lola, and wondered down to Butcher and the Brewer, which I had never been to before. The wait for a table would be over an hour, so we put down our name, and headed across the street to Greenhouse Tavern.
At Greenhouse Tavern we got lucky and was able to be seated immediately. In the front window. Looking at the door.
The Greenhouse Tavern is known for its use of all the parts of the animal. There is a pigs head available on the menu. As tempting as that sounded we were more interested in trying a couple of things and then finishing up in time for our table at Butcher and Brewer. We chose to share the fried brussels sprouts and the yuca frites. Both were amazing.
The food arrived. We were chatting about various topics, mostly boys and how ridiculous they are. As we are chatting and eating, we are people watching. It’s one of the benefits of dining in the front window after all. I see a couple walking up, and time slows down.
I saw him: Rebound. He was walking up to the door, behind a pretty brunette with long wavy hair. I stared a little too long, in shock, trying to match the visual of this person to the identity in my brain. I looked away, but it was too late. I’m sure he saw me. I’m sure he saw me duck my head and lean into my friend saying something like, “that’s HIM.” He leaned into his companion and said something as he opened the door. I’m guessing he was saying, “hey this place looks way too crowded”.
They walked down the bar to the far end of the restaurant. I avoided looking, and it was easy since I would have had to turn around in my seat to gawk. I had more pride than to do that. The Michigander tried to convince me that he wasn’t on a date.
I’ve only been dating for about 4 months. In that 4 months, he was the only “relationship” that lasted longer than, oh, 3 weeks. It ended in my eyes, kind of lame, with him being a coward. I felt like he started really intense as a relationshipy guy with the “I really like you” script and then met someone else. Which is fine, but he refused to own up to it, even when I called him out. I still don’t really understand why he couldn’t just be clear and direct and tell me he didn’t want to see me anymore. Jerk.
I totally panicked in the moment. I froze in fear. I had a rush of adrenaline. Fight or Flight: and I froze. Total deer in the headlights moment. My heart was beating so fast, and I lost my appetite. I proceeded to tell my friend a little bit more of the story with Rebound. A few minutes later, they walked out, and down the street. Rebound, clearly avoiding looking in my direction.
I waited for my body to calm down. I tried to take deep breaths, but the shock of seeing the one person in a city of millions had my mind racing.
He lives a few towns over. In an area that I happen to find myself in from time to time, since I have other friends who live over that way. I always pictured running into him while out in his area. I would have been prepared. I would have been on guard. I never once expected to run into him on a random Saturday night in downtown Cleveland. It was too much and I was having a hard time processing.
I was mad he was with a girl and I wasn’t with a guy. A guy that was cuter, and taller, and funnier. I felt like I lost – Like he had proof he moved on and I didn’t. Even though I was enjoying a fun night with the Michigander, I suddenly felt lame that I was out with a girlfriend instead of a date. Which makes no sense, logically. I wanted to be out with the Michigander more than with one of the guys I am currently seeing. I wanted a girls night to people watch, to judge the men and women, to make up stories about the people we saw out, and rehash some of our old stories.
I wish I knew what was going through his head at the time. I hope he was panicking, thinking he needed to get out of there before the girl he ignored after dating for 6 weeks said something. I’m also mad at myself for not taking charge. Knowing where they were, I could have easily excused myself, walking past them to the bathroom. It would have been easy to have a quick “oh hi!” and move on. Then, at least, there would have been an acknowledgement of my presence.
I wonder if this was the other girl he was dating at the same time as me. Even worse, is she like really his girlfriend now? Ugh. The absolute worst is when the guy lies and says “I just don’t want anything serious,” or “I’m really busy with work right now,” when they really just need to say, I’m just not that into you and I am going to go out with this other girl who is prettier, nicer, smarter, funnier, calmer, less complicated, etc.
Men: A word of advice, if you are the one doing the ghosting or breaking up then please be honest. You aren’t doing anyone any favors by trying to sugar coat it. And don’t start with the “I just didn’t want to hurt her” line, because news flash no matter what when you like a person and they aren’t feeling it, it will hurt. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Who knows, it depends on the situation. But please, don’t lie. When the truth comes out, then it will just hurt all over again. Rejection sucks.
Trying not to let the shock of seeing Rebound out ruin the night, I waited a bit for my appetite came back and kept eating. The Michigander tried to make me feel better by criticizing both Rebound and his date. – Obviously they weren’t on a date. He didn’t open the door first. That beard makes his face look fat. She wasn’t even that pretty. *Current Guy you are seeing* is way cuter. (Side Note: Thank you to the Michigander who put up with my crazy!)
We finished our small bites, and cashed out. As we were wrapping up settling the bill, I received a text that our table was ready at Butcher and the Brewer….
To be Continued….