I found a journal from a few years ago. Scary! What would it contain? I found a passage that caused my mind to flood with memories. I WAS STOOD UP ONCE. It has only every happened to me once. But it was a bit of a shocker to me. I wrote a passage in my journal. I also found some paper napkins with my hand-writing all over them. I recalled that after I had been stood up I took myself to the other side of London and went to a restaurant and then after it had closed, I went to see a movie, and then I went to a 24-hour fast food restaurant nearby. I then travelled into the centre of London and as it was by then 5.30am I breakfasted on espresso and a croissant before I went back to my accommodation and checked my inbox. There was an e-mail from him. He told me how much he loved me and how much he was longing to meet me, but he needed to cancel our meeting. I sent a quick reply saying it was a shame because I had not seen his e-mail before I had left the house so I had waited for three hours at the railway station we had decided to meet at. After that I slept all of Sunday right through to Monday morning. When I checked there was still no answer from him. Anyway, if you are up to reading a weepy, here is the entry from my journal after that weekend.
(It is a bit long and I am sure I repeat myself over and over. When I have time, I think I should edit it to make it a bit easier to read. But for anyone who likes an outpouring of heart ache, here is a chance to read the raw, uncut version before I shorten it.)
I am really hoping you have not had chance to check your inbox …because I am kind of disappointed not to see a word from you. But please know….it is only because I had been looking forward to meeting you so much and I am now finding myself confused and uncertain. Simply because I have grown to love the man I have been receiving messages from daily for eight months. What happened does not seem consistent with you. Or the you I thought I knew. So, either, this past weekend was a blip…a carelessness of thought and moment of inconsiderateness or for these long months you have been trying to be something that you don’t think you can be after all.
I read my napkins from Saturday night…my oh my. I poured out all my feelings on those napkins. A man devouring a cheeseburger in McDonalds was watching me scribbling onto napkins and he asked me if I am a writer as he saw me scribbling away. I told him I am not, but I like writing letters to friends. After chatting me up he invited me to go back to his place for the kind of drink McDonalds don’t offer. Scary! I graciously declined. Those napkins…maybe you would find them interesting…maybe you won’t want to see how disappointed in you I was that night. My first thoughts were worry for your safety. Slowly my sentimentality melted and I saw the situation in the harsh light of reality. I believe you were deliberately not supplying me with a contact number to reach you and deliberately not calling or texting me to check if I had seen your message. Was it your actual intention to leave me there for so long? It made me write some stuff I regret now. Don’t worry, there is nothing too horrific. The worst point was when I wrote that I was starting to think you were a complete utter loser. None of my other words were as harsh as that. They just contained expressions of confusion and pain.
I re-read your message a couple of times just now. It kind of hurts. You sent it one hour before we were due to meet. You knew I had already left home and would not have any access to my e-mails. You knew I would have my mobile phone and I had given you my number several times to make sure nothing could go wrong. However, I respect a man who is eager to use his head not just follow his heart. I guess your message was kindly put. There are parts that are not making sense to me. You still claim you want to meet me…but after eight months we make an arrangement and a “miscommunication” occurs. If only you had made your decision, a decision I respect, before I left. I gave you opportunity earlier in the week to bail out if you wanted. I mean, I kind of would have preferred to receive it before I bought a new dress, new shoes and new jewellery and spent money on a gift for you…I wish you had cancelled before I left here with no contact number for you. But for you to send an e-mail cancelling after I had left here. I had told you that I would need you to use the mobile to contact me. I mentioned several times, I would not have any access to my e-mails. But you either chose not to tell me before I left, so I would go through all the unwelcome sensations of being stood up….and I am still wondering why,.maybe you just didn’t notice what I had said about not having access to my e-mails. Never-mind. I would love to make excuses for you.
Tell me please….your message on Saturday, when you said you wanted to cancel….was that actually saying you want to end this relationship? Could you please make that more clear if that is the case. Because that is the way it feels. But I don’t know if I am jumping to a conclusion you didn’t intend. You say you love me and want to meet me after these eight months of friendship online. Being abandoned has left me doubtful. Maybe I am still stinging from the pain and humiliation of waiting outside a railway station in the cold and the awareness you were not coming.
I am anxious. I am sure you have some feelings for me. Your words, your messages are so beautiful. But I don’t think they are entirely consistent. I can be gullible at times…but it is eating at me that you have chosen not to use the mobile phone number I gave you to contact me. You could have sent a text to make sure I had received your cancellation e-mail (which I hadn’t). Even prior to this, you don’t seem to have been keen on giving me your number. We have talked about us both feeling safe and not taking risks. But at this stage, it doesn’t make sense to me. You said you were sorry for being vague about the details planned for Saturday. I am kind of wondering if you were just playing along and had no intention of meeting me…or perhaps have been playing along for months without any serious intentions.
Maybe I am just being dim…was your decision to cancel and your message actually your way of saying you don’t want to develop this any further? Or to end this….as in “sayonara”??? Please don’t be afraid of spelling it out to me…you are always kind and polite but if you want me to sling my hook – you might have to be a bit more blunt with me. But telling me you love me and want me in your life is confusing me.
I don’t think that now. As you might imagine, since Saturday night, my feelings have been up and down like a yo-yo. I don’t think am not really bruised, just feeling as if everything is up in the air with regards to you….and I kind of would like some help from you to settle things down. Please help me to understand. I don’t know enough about you to be able to understand this. Are you nervous? Nervous of me, or nervous you might not be as confidant as you want to be?
I can’t think about making another plan to meet you. It obviously has not been wise. Now I am wondering what on earth you want for us. If you do want to end this….please tell me. I had been in love with the thought of hanging out with you, either in town or on a sofa watching a movie and sharing a take-away. Who knows what else might have developed? This penpal relationship has been wonderful…but after the weekend I am resolute, until I hear some kind of explanation from you, I need to protect my heart. My hopes have come crashing down in flames.
I do feel though, I am not willing to turn up at any other location in a beautiful dress. Maybe if we do make another plan to meet, I will put on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and we can grab a coffee somewhere.
You can decide for yourself whether our contact is worth anything at all to you.
I don’t think I am the one to be making this decision. You felt you had to cancel Saturday….so it is left to you to decide what next.
Perhaps the thought of losing the friend who has been sharing every day for eight months is frightening. There is a large possibility we might be a bit wooden and awkward with each other at first. Every man I have had a relationship with has not impressed me initially, but I grew to like and trust them more. I am not worried about the two of us needing a while to feel at ease with each other. There is going to be an odd transition between virtual and real.
I hoped I had made it clear I am not expecting an overly confidant and possibly pretentious, conceited or arrogant man. I was hoping for someone caring, kind, humble, hard-working, sensible, with a friendly sense of humour and who wants to share some time with me….I don’t think I ever asked for a smooth-talking, stylish, cool as cucumber, thick-skinned extrovert. I would be thrilled to be the friend of a man who knew I loved him for his being the salt of the earth. I am not a snob…I just value kindness, humility, modesty and sincerity.
Right now I am doubting I ever really knew you my love…I don’t know what you really want. Maybe you don’t want to think about a relationship. Maybe you just want to remain devoted to work and looking after your home and your motor and a relationship with a woman is just an extra stress you don’t need. I have tried to be myself, and to be very open with you and I have tried not to express my feelings about you until I was sure about them. But at the moment….I kind of feel as if there is nothing I can do….to make you want a real life relationship with me. Maybe you are tired of having a loyal penpal and my messages are taking up too much of your time and worry. Or perhaps you do want or do like the idea of a relationship…but it seems as if it might involve too much effort and it is a bit overwhelming.
Well….I have made a decision. I don’t want a fantasy relationship anymore. I am not willing to invest in something that is either just a bit of fun, a joke, a trivial penpalship, a virtual relationship…whatever it is. I don’t know what this is anymore. I thought we were two people who had enjoyed getting to know each other and had started to have feelings and were believing we had fallen in love. I don’t think I can do this anymore. I am very sorry. It’s not that I have anything to complain about. I just can’t build my hopes up and beat my fears down and then face disappointment without feeling something has to change now. I have lost my sense of trust and I am not sure I can be a penpal anymore. There are so many odd things that you have said that made me believe you really wanted to meet me. It seems really odd now my love. I can’t bear to look at your messages at the moment.
As for me….my feelings for you are still here, live and kicking, undeterred by the disappointment over the weekend. But if you think it wise, I am happy to throw some ice on them.
Forgive me but I still don’t know what to think and how I am supposed to be feeling. I have never had this experience before. I don’t know how long I should have waited or not waited. Was three hours too long? I exaggerate, it was only two hours and forty-five minutes really. I don’t know how long to wait to hear from you after telling you on Sunday morning what had happened. Perhaps you are dreading seeing a message from me. There may be a perfectly legitimate reason.
Actually, I have been thinking about what happened when I was at the station on Saturday evening. I had a couple of blokes hanging round the station pay me a bit of attention. Three women asked me where I bought my dress (I am not telling anyone – hee hee – I know it is gorgeous.) One tall bloke who was wearing more jewellery than Mr T said “hey gorgeous, need a lift somewhere”. I just laughed and said I was fine. I noticed a man who was talking to someone on the phone and heard him say the words “just come to the station entrance and look to the right…it is the right thing to do.” A while later I saw him with another man. For a moment I thought it might be you…I really did. I was not sure because there were so many men who seemed to fit your description pass me I was confused with who I was looking for. Anyway, this man went into a shop I can’t even remember the name of the shop, though I was stood outside for so long – maybe it was Whistles or something. Anyway, I looked at him a few times and he looked a bit nervous…but then his friend seemed to be calling to him and I thought he shouted Keith….so I figured it could not have been with you…because we have had this conversation about names already. I had already decided I was cold and I had not had anything to drink since lunch-time so I went and bought myself a cup of tea at the sandwich bar inside the station. When I returned, the two men were both gone.
In truth I am hoping this is not the end, just a little challenge that together we can work on getting over and cement what we have been building. This is not supposed to be stressing you out . If you are not enjoying this relationship any longer…we can just stop. Neither of us owe anything to each other. Neither has harmed the other. Neither has been unkind or abusive to the other. If we chose to end this before we meet…well, I have very fond and positive thoughts and feelings towards you. You have built a friendship with a woman and declared your love to a woman and then accidentally left her outside a train station on a Saturday night…right I am not mentioning it anymore. Because it’s not being stood up that I am bothered by anyway. It’s more understanding what is going to happen next.
If we dissolve this friendship…I have plenty of things I can keep myself busy with, plenty of friends who make me thrive…but I am not in search of another romance. In fact if you say you want to end this…I think I deserve to be a bit down. I deserve the chance to play sad songs and eat chocolate. I have many friends who will help me laugh about this situation and move on. Not that I want to. I don’t feel like laughing now. But I don’t know how to feel because I don’t know what is happening anymore.
Sorry lovely…I love you…but I don’t know what is happening here…and I don’t know what is happening next.
I do love you…but I am waiting to hear from you and in the meantime….
….I am going to just get on with the life I lead which you have a good idea of…work, cleaning, washing, ironing, meeting up with friends for a drink/meal (and occasional karaoke or dancing), walking, swimming, reading, shopping, my family, museums….all pretty normal stuff….it is the people in my life that make it so rich and rewarding….if you are not going to be one of those people – that’s sad. I would only wish you the very best and hope with all my heart that I have not caused you any hurt, regret, any unintentional offence you have been too polite to tell me about. I would always hope you have success in all you turned your hand to. But I would prefer, much prefer, that we met and had chance to see if our lives will over-lap and how much that will be the case.
In case you were wondering. He did e-mail me. He sent a beautiful apology. We continued our penpal friendship for a few more months. It was never quite the same. One day he just did not reply to one of my messages. I ached at the time. But I think he made the right decision. There must have been a reason that he knew but would not tell me why we would never meet. I have looked back at his hundreds of messages. Now I can see inconsistencies I never noticed before. Still, I don’t want to think or speak negatively. He brought me a lot of joy, it was nice having an exclusive penpal who shared every day with you.
But I did it once, and once is enough. I don’t want to have an internet relationship. I prefer to meet someone in real life, which is how I met my beloved Goldfinch.
In all honesty…it is something I could never put myself through again.