Sunday, November 7, 2010

In which Ted calls me eight months after ditching me

It’s a Friday in August. I come home from work, humming a John Denver song (to myself -- I don’t want to be ticketed by the hip police), looking forward to my "run" in the morning and my afternoon with Mary and her daughter and two days of sleeping late and sitting on my front porch with a good book.

My answering machine light is blinking. I listen as I put away the dishes in the drying rack. The recording is bad - cheap answering machine - and I have a hard time making out the words. It is the voice I recognize first.

It’s Ted. After nine months.

He says, “Hi, it’s Ted. This is probably unexpected for you. [You think?] It’s unexpected for me as well. Anyway, I noticed the bank putting up a ‘for sale’ sign at 123 Main Street. I know you have been looking for a house in this area. You could probably get a good deal if the bank is selling it. Hope you’re doing well.”

I press ‘play’ over and over. I can’t believe what I am hearing. What is going on? Why is he calling?

At work, I interrogate my male friends about the meaning of the call. Leigh thinks maybe it is just what it appears to be -- a call about a house.

My men friends, however, scoff. “He doesn’t care what kind of house you get or if you get a good deal,” Jerry says. “He wants to see you again.”

Don echoes the sentiment. “That’s so lame,” he says. “He wants to see you again. Tell him to go to hell.”

Lenore says to send him an email that I have already bought a house. Jerry disagrees, saying that I need to leave a phone message so Ted can hear the tone of my voice and know that I am receptive.

Three days later, I leave him a message at him. “Thanks for your call about the house, but I bought a house in May. It’s at 1644 Oak. Come by for the grand tour sometime,” I say.

Days go by and I hear nothing. Whatever, I think, to the world, but inside I am disappointed. [Despite all the evidence to his jerkiness - how pathetic is that?]

In the mean time, I run by the house he told me about. It is right across the street from his grandmother’s house, a few blocks from mine.

Six days later -- Saturday -- at 7:00 in the evening, he calls. “Sorry it took me so long to call back,” he says. “I didn’t get your message until late last night when I went by my mom and dad’s. I’ve moved into my grandmother’s house.”

Even though I know full where the house is, I play dumb. “Where is it?” I ask.

“Right across from the house I told you about,” he tells me.

My heart flutters. He wants me to buy the house by where he is living! But I am cool, calm.

We chat, although I am chatting on eggshells. I keep waiting for him to say something about how he was such an idiot and such a jerk and can I forgive him and will I give him a second chance. [Not that I should!]

But he doesn’t. We talk for two hours about random stuff. Thinking of things to talk about has never been an issue for us.

Finally, he says he has to go. “Let me give you the phone number here so you can reach me,” he offers.

I am silent for a few seconds. Finally, I say, “If you want to talk to me, you can call me.”

“I thought that’s what I just did,” he says.

“Last January, you made it pretty clear that you never wanted to speak to me again,” I say.

“I never said I didn’t want to speak to you again,” he answers.

“Whatever,” I say. “I would love to talk to you. I would love to see you. I think it would be really good for us to talk. But I am not going to call you. If you want to talk to me, you will have to call me.”

See how I finally got some sense? Will you lose more respect for me if I tell you that I was still disappointed that he didn't call again?


  1. No respect lost at all. Rejection sucks, even if you're being rejected by a jerk and even if you know he's a jerk and you're better without him. It still stings, and you are more than justified in feeling the sting.

  2. Better being rejected by a jerk than actually marrying him, having a couple of kids with him, and then finding out the truth about him...

    So did he really not call you again?

  3. Joy, I know! I wanted to be the one rejecting him!

    Ima June, he did not call me again while he was an unmarried man. But yes - I did dodge a bullet with him.