Backstory: My friend from Michigan was in Cleveland for the weekend, and after a few exciting and eventful stops on East 4th, we were headed to our table at Butcher and the Brewer.
We walked across the street, and checked in. The hostess lead us over to a large communal type table. I was sitting across from my friend, facing the bar, in between two other groups at the table. We looked through the menus and tried to formulate a plan. We were told that most of the items on the menu were small tapas style and meant to be shared.
I looked up, noticing someone move at the bar, and that is when I saw the familiar face again. Damn! Rebound was in the same restaurant, and this time he was directly in my line of vision. I, again, panicked. I did my best to ignore him. He was busy talking to his date, and was facing her, so wouldn’t be able to see me unless he turned.
I turned my attention back to my friend, and attempted to make conversation. I was flustered and tried to will my heart to slow down. We ordered drinks, and chose to get the pretzels and crispy calamari. I finished my wine quickly, and was contemplating ordering another one, but knew better since I was driving. It was a little awkward, sitting at a communal table, with two different parties of people on either side of us, and trying to have any conversation.
I watched a noticeable woman walk in, with a teal jacket and a backpack. She walked right over to Rebound and his date, they chatted for a minute, and then all got up to leave.
He got up, started following the women out, looked over to me and made direct eye contact. Again, Rebound saw me and ignored me. Everything happened quickly, and I also said nothing. I froze. I couldn’t even mouth the word “hi”. He ghosted me via text, and then in real life.
Is it now normal to pretend people just don’t exist?
Was he even on a date? Who was the other woman? Maybe I read the situation wrong? Was he freaking out on the inside too? Was he afraid I would spill all his secrets in the two minutes it would take to say “hey! how are you? This is so and so. Nice seeing you. Take care. Bye!”? Does he know that he was shitty person to just stop communication in the first place?
When things ended I had made it clear that I’d like to see him, and he made it clear he was “busy”. He just stopped contacting me. Who knows why really, although I have several theories. I had to delete Bumble, so I wouldn’t know that he was still on there looking for not me. I had to stop analyzing the texts he sent me, so I deleted them all. I didn’t trust myself not to text while drunk, and so deleted his number. I couldn’t torture myself with his social media updates, so I unfriended him. I had to hate him for a little bit in order to move on in life. I think that is normal, but it doesn’t mean I will hate him forever. I knew going in that it wasn’t meant to be. There were plenty of red flags that I noticed and tucked away for a later time. Did he think I just stopped talking to him? Was he taking cues from my disappearing? Did he even notice that I unfriended him? Does it matter?
I see that he is on dating sites still. He wants someone capable of open and honest communication. Oh, the irony. I get mad at myself mostly, when thinking back to all the interactions. I had never dated before, and had just come out of a really unhealthy relationship, that I think there were a lot of things I didn’t do or say out of residual fear. Again and again, I just wish I knew what he was thinking when he said “Do you know what you want?” or “I really like you” or even “Did you know when we met we would end up here?” I wish I could have known the subtext, the unsaid things. I know that there was a lot he wasn’t saying.
So, what is the proper thing to do when running into an “ex”? Shouldn’t he have said something? Could we not have been friendly, mature adults? Do we now need to ignore that the other person exists indefinitely? What if we run into each other again? He doesn’t live far, it’s bound to happen again. What is the proper protocol for this situation?
If I did still have his number, I would have texted him – “nice to know we can ignore each other in person too!” More than anything, him ignoring that I even exist was hurtful.
I wish for a re-do. I hope that I run into Rebound out again. I hope that I am with someone amazing and am having so much fun I don’t even notice Rebound.
Also, Thank You to Rebound. Thank you for being my first mistake.
This blog was a crazy idea between friends, and what happened between Rebound and me made me realize that I needed to get out there in a big way and be open and willing for all new experiences. I couldn’t let my fear of failure rule. Having this platform to record the adventures for friends and strangers to read is forcing me to keep trying. There is no formal challenge, as I have seen from other bloggers, but an informal one. I seriously doubt that I will find the love of my life via online dating, but that doesn’t stop any one else.
It is because of Rebound that I now know I needed to move much slower getting emotionally close to someone. I now know I needed to be the one in control. I now know that I needed to keep options open, and date a couple of guys at the same time.
I’m totally undeterred by this process of dating. What was once really scary, is now something that is fun, and entertaining. At least there is a good story in all of it. Every opportunity is an opportunity to say yes. To be open and willing. And sometimes that invites in the bad…. But that is the only way to get to the good.
Rebound took his leave. I gathered the strength I had left from feeling utterly derailed at the time, and finished eating. Attempting to enjoy the food. I’m sure at this point Michigander was tired of hearing about Rebound. We decided that we would eat our food and then move on to another neighborhood. I did not want to chance another encounter with Rebound.
The Michigander and I moved on to the next stop. Still determined to have a good night out – And the newest goal of the night, avoid any more run-ins with Rebound.
To Be Continued….