I expected to hear from Grey Area Guy by now. I knew he was under the weather, I knew he was juggling things at home and at work. But since we’ve been back in touch this year, this has been the longest stretch of radio silence. As with the last time, I don’t think, other than the fact that I’m not hearing from him, that there’s reason to believe that there’s something wrong between us. But the way I know for sure that things are okay is our reassuring banter. And we’re not bantering.
I could reach out and check. I prefer not to, for now. I don’t want to feel like I’ve got him on a leash that I tug— especially in our current situation, he doesn’t owe me anything. My experience is that if I reach out, he’ll reach back, but for now, I’d rather he turn up because he’s ready to pick up communication. And if he’s working on what he needs to work on to be ready for something more than we have had recently, I’m for that. I can’t know, of course, but I’m basically an optimist, and that’s what I’m hoping for.
Other options that have occurred to me: He’s decided that he doesn’t want to be with me, after all, and is just too much of a chicken to tell me. He’s met someone and is just too much of a chicken to tell me. But I’ve always felt like if it was going to fail, I’d rather it fail sooner rather than later, for everyone’s sake.
But, honestly, I don’t think that’s what’s going on. We’ve been in semi-regular contact for four years, and I was actively discouraging his attention for the last two of those years, without chasing him off. My worst case scenario is that he felt smothered by my attempts to cheer him up when he got sick a couple of weeks ago. But my attempts were a couple of text messages a day, usually a mid-morning inquiry after how he was feeling and a mid-afternoon thing to make him smile— a gif or an inside joke. Compared to the hundred or so daily texts we send back and forth when things are normal, I can’t imagine that it was smothering. I think the last few weeks caught up with him. He was really worn down before last week, and last week was really hectic for him. I think he fell behind. And if he came back from his travel sick, that climb might be pretty exhausting. I think when he gets his head above water, I’ll hear from him.
Heaven knows I have plenty to do, and I’m actually doing it— that to-do list is shrinking by the second. But I do miss him. Like crazy.
The other thing I don’t love about this is that, after all this time, he’s like my imaginary friend. I guess he met some of my friends after I broke up with him the first time (we went to dinner and a movie as friends with a guy and girl I used to work with who were also platonic friends, which is why it wasn’t a double date), so there are people in my life who can verify his existence (though they’re people kind of on the fringe of my life). I have pictures of him and text messages by the thousand. But when I talk about him, I see that “this again?” look on people’s faces— that look that you get when people start talking about that thing you wish they wouldn’t bring up.
I look forward to the time when the people in my life don’t feel like they have to indulge me when I talk about someone who’s important to me. I look forward to a time when he’s in my life in the same way that they are. And I look forward even more urgently to a time when he’s in my life at all, again.