At the End of Everything #18
I stared at the message, unsure of what to reply. It sat idly on the screen, as I tried to figure out what it meant.
It has been several weeks now since I first met Jenny, and things have been going great so far. Or at least I thought it was at first. We met up for two more dinners after the hiking trip, and she even asked me to join her friends to watch a concert together next month. I should feel happy, but somehow I don’t.
While Jenny gave off the impression that she was bubbly and cheerful in real life, I cannot help but feel that it was just an outward appearance rather than what was really inside. Or perhaps it was a result of time, where the feelings have cooled after the initial phase. She seemed different now, giving the impression that she has gone cold. But no matter what the reasons, the feelings that I got from messaging with her seemed to have changed considerably. She was taking longer to reply, and her replies were shorted, more curt. Our messages have lost the magic and excitement that they once had.
Sometimes some of my messages were also left hanging, with no replies for days unless I chose to send her another message. She was rejecting me more often too, often saying no to my attempts to ask her out for dinner or outings. Busy, was often her short reply.
It all seemed to confusing at first. Why suddenly something that was so good initially became like a pathetic attempt for me to gain attention. I felt that I was the one who was putting in more effort than her. Seemed like I was the only one clapping my hands. It was unfair to me, seeing how I was wasting my time..
Lucas told me to talk to her about how I felt, instead of just assuming anything. I did, rather reluctantly. I asked Jenny if there was anything wrong with our relationship currently, and shared that I felt we did not chat as we used to. Which was how I ended up with that one liner message from her, talking about her attachment.
“What do you mean by you’re avoidantly attached?” I finally sent a reply back to her.
What came next was like a human personality lesson of sort, where she attempted to explain this ‘avoidant personality’ of hers. Humans have different attachment styles she explained, which affects how we relate to people differently. There are those who are close and intimate, and there are those who are insecure and clingy. Avoidantly attached, in this case, meant that she hated getting close to people. Cool and distant, she was the passive kind of people, that mostly kept to herself.
“My exes used to complain all the time about me not always being for them too,” she explained. It sounded that she was indirectly hinting at me, saying that if her exes were able to survive it, so should I. And it was no big deal. But it was a big deal to me. Her aloofness made me felt that I was unwanted. That I did not deserve her attention.
“What should I do?” I asked Lucas, unsure of how to respond. Or what to feel. His reply was just a simple, “Just take it as it comes. Don’t expect too much or hope for too much.” And he said that in a nonchalant attitude too. Easy for him to say, but how does one not have any form of expectation when it comes to things like this? How can one not feel disappointed when the effort you put in bears no fruit? I was beginning to doubt Lucas’s advice. Whether he knows best for me.
Still, I followed his suggestion. I took everyday as it came, trying not to pin my hopes too high up. I continued to message Jenny, though at a much slower and lesser rate. Our conversations revolved more around uninteresting topics now, like going around a circle. How was our day, what we had done and what was the latest updates. Those sort of things. We no longer talked about the world anymore, about our beliefs, thoughts, and about our future. The things that matter. It almost felt like we were talking for the sake of talking. Amidst all this, I went back to the dating website, and started chatting with new girls again.
As for the concert, I did go with her in the end, a sort of triple date that she originally suggested. Two of her friends brought their boyfriends, and I was supposed to be her date for the night. I would have been happy a few weeks ago, as this seemed as if she was seriously considering me as a boyfriend, and was not afraid to let her friends know. It was supposed to be a huge improvement compared to the hiking day, but I was far from excited.
Maybe it was because I already knew the ending to this relationship, or maybe it could be that she did not seemed excited about it too at all. But by the time I went for the concert, I no longer cared about anything.
It was a acapella concert, performed by her favorite group, the Pentatonix. They were touring Singapore at that time. She bought the tickets with her friends very early on, and she told me that her friends wanted to meet me, a guy whom she met online. I was some sort of exhibit, it seemed.
Jenny told me that she needed someone to accompany her initially, so that she would not feel awkward with her two friends. However by the time time I saw her at the MRT station and as we walked down to the concert hall lobby, a certain awkwardness has developed between us. It felt strange, the entire night. Like the Jenny that went with me to the concert was a completely different Jenny that followed me to Bukit Timah several weeks ago. With her friends she was still the same though. Bubbly, chatty and expressive. But talking to her just does not feel natural anymore.
“Hi…” I smiled and waved my hands when she introduced me to her friends. They said hi and waved their hands back at me too, before going back to their own conversation, leaving me standing uncomfortably alone. It seemed that all of them had met previously before, as they were discussing about a friend whom they have not met for a long time. I kept taking out my phone and staring at it, hoping that something interesting would pop out on my screen. Something to distract me. Perhaps a message that would give me an excuse to leave early.
That uncomfortable feeling bugged me the entire evening, and I was not able to really concentrate on the entire performance. I was in fact more concerned with what she was talking with her friends about, and making conversation with her than watching the show itself.
“OMG the show was so awesome,” she squealed when we first exited the theater. She was still her normal self alright, just that I may have read her intentions wrongly when we were both alone as compared to when we were in a group of people.
Her friends asked the both of us for supper, in which we agreed. It was no different from what happened earlier, with her talking mostly with her friends about topics that I was not familiar with. I felt oddly left out. Like a sore thumb. A part of me told me that I should make an attempt to at least join in the conversation, but I had no idea of what to say or even how to act. I just kept a straight face throughout the entire supper, smiling here and there, but I could feel my anxiety showing on my face. In the end, I gave up trying anymore, fiddling with my phone while appearing busy.
When the supper ended, I offered to walk her to the bus stop where she would take the bus home, but she insisted that it was fine for her to walk alone. She gave reasons like not wanting to trouble me and that she could take care of herself, and that I should just let her go.
“But I want to spend a little more time with you,” I finally blurted out in frustration. She was not understanding, I felt.
She shot me an annoyed look. “It’s okay, I can go myself,” she said, her voice raised. And then she stormed off without even looking back.
That was the last time I saw her, and we never contacted each other again. I did not bother about messaging her, and neither did she. Like Phoebe, the relationship died off in just a whim. No ceremony, nothing. Lucas only offered his polite condolences
P/s: Anyone still reading this?