It was Thursday night. I had just given Alicia a hug before she got into her Uber and drove away. The bar we chose to meet at was actually only a five-minute walk from my apartment, so I figured it was a good a time as any to go for a nice evening stroll through my neighborhood and into the bar where I’m a regular. As Lindsey the bartender poured me a PBR, we talked about the date. I mentioned to her that I wished there was a way you could ask for feedback on a date in a non-weird way. She nodded in agreement, and in my half-drunk mind, I thought, “You know what? I should tweet that.”
And so I did. Frankly, the tweet didn’t do well. One retweet, one reply. I guess Thursday Night Twitter wasn’t as lit as I thought it would be. I finished up the night watching Stand By Me at the bar and heading home, only to wake up slightly hungover. Friday was normal. I had to give another two-hour presentation from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m., and I was dreading it. You know those days where you float through work day dreaming about the alcohol you’ll consume once you’re done? This was one of those days.
We decided to take a break halfway through the presentation. As the group filed out of the conference room, I pulled out my phone to see if we had made any progress on a game plan for the night. Amidst the various group texts and ESPN notifications, one stood out.
Kelly sent you a Direct Message.
My palms started sweating. I suddenly felt the color drain from my face. The feigned enthusiasm in my eyes was replaced with confusion and a general sense of “Why the fuck is my ex DMing me on Twitter?”
I opened the message to see that she was replying to my “date feedback” tweet. What she said doesn’t matter. The fact is that she doesn’t follow me on Twitter. She took the time to look through my feed and send me a direct message pointing out areas for improvement in my love life. I haven’t talked to her since December of 2015.
(Note: It’s far more likely that someone pointed it out to her and she responded but the concept still stands.)
The group was starting to come back into the room. I acted on impulse and texted her.
Friday 8:04 p.m.: Hope you’re well.
“Fuck. Oh god. Oh no. Why did I do that? I don’t actually hope she’s well. I mean, I do. But also we fought a lot for, like, two years and I kind of hope someone had more courage than I did to call her on her shit. Actually, that’s not fair. I was at fault a lot. No, you can’t think like that, Charlie. Stand your ground. You’re a strong, independent man who—okay no that doesn’t work when you’re a dude. Shit, now everyone’s staring at me. We need to get this ball rolling,” I thought to myself.
Thanks, Kelly. I couldn’t focus on the second half of my two-hour presentation — although, nobody else could, either. I don’t think the fact that it was an absolute train wreck had a huge effect on my career.
She didn’t respond to my text that night, which was probably good. I ended up getting hammered and closing down a 4 a.m. bar. When she did get back to me, it was around 8 a.m. the next day. Needless to say, I was not awake.
Saturday 8:01 a.m.: Haha I couldn’t help myself.
We talked the rest of the day. It started out with simple pleasantries.
“How’s your life been? You end up moving out of your parents’ house? Speaking of, how’s the family?”
A full-fledged conversation started to take place. The virtual conversation became so animated that a visiting friend asked who I was texting. When I told him it was Kelly, I was scolded immediately.
“Think of it this way,” he said, “what does she want?”
A valid question. It’s not that Kelly was a manipulative girlfriend. It was that we fought all the time. I was never able to decipher what she wanted me to do to fix the problem. My friend asking, “what does she want?” is a great inquiry. He knows that she basically destroyed me for the months—shit—year and a half after we broke up.
I toyed with the idea of asking Kelly her intentions until Monday night. I got wine drunk and she got tequila drunk and she wanted to call me and I didn’t say no.
Kelly and I talked for over an hour and a half. I hate using this cliché, but it was good, bad, and ugly. We experienced a kind of catharsis that didn’t make sense but was necessary. I called her on her shit. She called me on mine. We told stories. We talked about my upcoming trip to Phoenix and she mentioned that she wanted to take a trip to Chicago sometime. And then she asked if we could set everything aside and grab a pizza sometime. Not a slice, a whole pizza, like we used to. I said yes.
I still don’t know what her motives are. What’s worse is that I don’t know what mine are, either. Only time will tell. .
Image via YouTube