7.20.2014

Asshole Earns His Nickname

When I left off the tale of Asshole, we were knee-deep in the L-word, only three dates in.

To put it mildly, I was scared, but moving forward with trepidation into the unknown.

We began spending a lot of time together at his place. We took the dog for a walk, ran down to the video store to rent season after season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I was a huge fan, and he had never seen it), ordered burgers and fries at the local greasy spoon, and devoured huge bags of ketchup chips and two litre bottles of Dr. Pepper. We tried new restaurants. We cooked dinner together. We shopped. I met his little sister (who apparently took an instant liking to me because I had no problem calling him a jackass in front of her.)

I invited some friends to join me at the pub where he was DJing on a Tuesday night, and after meeting him, they all gave me the thumbs up.

After only a few weeks, he presented me with a key to his apartment, and I began staying the night on a regular basis, as it was closer to my office. He had a home phone without call display, and told me not to answer it, as his ex-girlfriend was pissed about their breakup and trying to get some money out of him.

Asshole was in the midst of a hunt for a permanent, full-time job as an elementary school teacher, and I would help him look at postings, prepare for interviews and adjust his tie before he ran out the door.

Everything was going really well except for…the sex, which left a lot to be desired. Asshole had suffered from Crohn’s Disease, which resulted in surgery to have his entire lower intestine removed, and he attributed that to his major issues getting it up.

I decided it was time for him to meet one of my brothers, also known as the harshest critic. Following a TOOL concert at the Molson Amphitheatre, my brother, his girlfriend, and I made our way to a pub in my neighbourhood, and waited for Asshole to join us.

When he arrived, I discovered “Drunk Asshole”: a loud, obnoxious, arrogant dick who hijacked all conversation.

I immediately felt critical vibes coming from my brother, and I worried about them getting off on the wrong foot.

As the months passed, Asshole and I grew closer. I quit smoking. The sex improved (marginally). We marvelled at the fact that we got along so well, and never argued.  Once he found a permanent teaching position with the Toronto District School Board, we started talking about taking things to the next level: moving in together.

I was tired of the back and forth and living out of a bag, so I pored over rental listings on the internet, trying to find somewhere pet-friendly. After making appointments to see a few places, Asshole decided it was time to mention that he had accumulated some debt with the demise of his marriage, and may not do very well on a credit check. Concerned, I began asking questions, and he explained to me that a lot of the furnishings for their house had been purchased with credit cards; debt that they split upon separation. He made the decision to walk away from a good job and follow his lifelong dream—teaching. To do so, he had to take out a student loan, and had also borrowed some money from his then-girlfriend, whom he was in the process of paying back in instalments.

I wasn’t worried—everyone has debt, right? He was working to pay it off, and I figured my excellent credit would be enough to pass any landlord scrutiny.

Asshole and I looked at a handful of apartments before we found a great place just south of Yonge and Lawrence. It was a two bedroom unit in an old three-story walk-up with a lot of character, and after a discussion with the superintendent and a letter from Asshole’s current landlord to vouch for him, it was ours.

In preparation for co-habitation, we introduced Cooper to Willow, who immediately established herself as boss of the large, loveable dog.

We painted the apartment and picked up shelving and housewares from Ikea. Asshole’s mom sewed us pillows to match our new duvet. We packed up our respective apartments and booked a moving truck.

One cold evening in March a few weeks before the big move, Asshole decided to drive over to my apartment so we could take some boxes to the new place. We loaded up his little Ford Focus, hopped inside, and attempted to drive back up the steep, narrow driveway.

No dice.

The driveway was slick with ice and snow, and the wheels of his weighed-down car would just spin.

“Why don’t they put salt down?” he asked angrily.

“I don’t know. They don’t seem to have a problem with their car?”

He made attempt after attempt, but could not get up the incline. I hopped out and tried pushing. We removed a few boxes. His wheels continued to spin, and he grew red in the face and pounded the steering wheel in frustration. I smelled a burning clutch.

The people who lived above me must have heard the commotion, and came downstairs to help. He was now yelling about what terrible landlords they were, and finally I turned to him, furious, and said, “This is NOT their fault. They are lovely people. Lose the attitude. NOW.”

He continued to mutter under his breath, but with one good push from them, we were on our way.

It was a small incident, but it was the first time I witnessed his temper, and to this day, it has resonated with me as something I should have paid more attention to.

Asshole, Cooper, Willow and I enjoyed our new apartment and lived together in harmony, until one day while tidying up, I came across a stack of bills Asshole had left lying on the coffee table. I noticed a Sears bill that had been paid with…a Visa? The balances on all the bills were big. Really big. I was sure there must be some sort of mistake, and confronted him about it.

“Asshole, I have to ask…how much debt are you in?”

He looked uncomfortable and said, “I told you there was some debt left over from my marriage.” There was a distinctly defensive edge to his voice.

“I know. But you never told me how much. How bad is it?”

“Why?”

“Because we’re living together now, and it’s pretty important information, that’s why. I wasn’t snooping, but I saw some bills you left lying around. You have been paying your ex in instalments, too. Are you breaking even?”

He squirmed, and I started to realize things were so much worse than I’d even considered. “Have you been contacted by creditors?”

Silence.

Fuck.

“That’s why you didn’t want me to answer the phone at your old place…” I trailed off, talking to myself more than him. “Jesus. Okay. Asshole, this needs to be dealt with.”

“It’s fine!” he said, pissed now. “I’m working on it.”

I laughed, “Working on it? By paying off credit with credit?”

He walked away from me, angry and embarrassed. It took a few more very serious discussions and budget reviews before he would finally admit that he was in too deep, and needed help. I did some research and made him an appointment with a credit counsellor. My mother suggested I go with him, so I would know exactly what we were dealing with.

In the credit counsellor’s office, Asshole read numbers to her, and she typed them into her spreadsheet. As the total debt climbed, my stomach continued to drop. Between Sears, Visa, Bell Canada, his ex, and student loans, he owed over $50,000.

The counsellor had two options for him: bankruptcy or debt settlement, of which he chose the latter. Credit Canada would make arrangements to pay the creditors using a lump sum of money provided to them each month by Asshole. His debt was so bad, in fact, that his $19,000 student line of credit could not be included in the deal, or bankruptcy would be the only option. Debt settlement meant Asshole’s credit rating would go to R7, which is very harsh on your credit score, and the repercussions would last a minimum of five years.

She turned to me and said, “As for your joint bank account? You need to close it. NOW. If he fails to make a payment, they will come at him via any means they can, and if you share an account, that means YOU.”

I’m not sure if scarier words were ever spoken, and I remember fighting the urge to run home, pack my shit, and leave him and his giant financial mess.

Needless to say, the ride home was very quiet…but at least I finally knew the full truth.

I worked tirelessly on budgeting our lives, but he seemed to care less and less as time went on. Any surprises that came up were MY problem: tires for his car, shots for his dog, wedding gifts, etc.

Asshole’s sister, brothers and I had become good friends, but I struggled to find common ground with his pretentious parents, who were constantly putting on airs for other people. Their large house in Collingwood and all its fancy furnishings were far beyond their means, so I knew Asshole had come by his financial issues honestly.

As for my family, the relationship with my brothers and Asshole was very strained. They found him obnoxious and felt he was a burden on me, but they played nice to keep the peace…unless they were all drinking. With alcohol in the mix, egos got in the way, and none of them would back down in a disagreement.

As if things weren’t bad enough, our diet of greasy take-out, chips, and pop had caught up with me. I ran to the Gap one day at lunch to buy a new pair of dress pants for work, and to my horror, I realized that size 12 didn’t fit. I needed a 14, which meant I could shop at the plus size stores. At 175 lbs., I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I went home that day and I cried…then I resolved to clean up my diet and start exercising.

I cut back on carbohydrates, sodium and sugar. I wouldn’t eat after 7pm. I went into our bedroom in the evenings after dinner, queued up some online exercise videos, and pushed myself to get through them. I signed up for a yoga fundamentals class, and I started to run.

Slowly but surely, the pounds began to come off, but it was like swimming against the current, as Asshole refused to join me in my diet and exercise, even to a small degree. He always wanted to dine out (on me, of course) at pubs with zero healthy options, and we began to argue more and more.

A year later, in an effort to fix what was already too broken, we decided to make a change, and moved to a new apartment just a few blocks away. It was on a quiet street (just across from the best apartment in the whole world that I shared with Angie) in one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Toronto.

As a teacher, Asshole was often home as early as four in the afternoon, and I grew frustrated when I walked in the door after six to find a sink piled high with dishes, and dinner not even started.

I was constantly covering his share of the bills because he couldn’t make ends meet, yet I often came home on a Friday afternoon to find him sitting in the living room playing a brand new video game, and a 2-4 of beer in the fridge. He would stay up all hours of the night playing Call of Duty, screaming obscenities at people via his headset.

The stress of the situation wore on me, and I found yoga to be the only thing that would quiet my constantly working mind. One Saturday, I got home from class to find him in a mood, and asked him what was wrong.

“What’s wrong? You have yoga. What do I have?” he spat.

“What? Asshole, what are you talking about?” I asked, confused.

“You get to go to yoga class and have YOU time, but I get to go pick up groceries!”

“You can’t be fucking serious. It's 90 minutes a week! And you told me that you’d be happy to go get groceries while I was at yoga. You don’t get to suggest the idea and tell me it’s fine, then throw it in my face later. And you know what? I’m not your cruise director. Feel free to go find something to do WHEN you have the MONEY to do it! Although, it seems to me that video games and drinking are plenty of YOU time,” I said, storming out of the room.

We tried to fix the ever-widening cracks with movie nights and popcorn, but things were starting to snowball, and I often found myself venting to my mother on the phone behind closed doors, while he went out drinking with his teacher buddies.

Asshole was out of town on a school trip for a few days, so I was tasked with rising early and taking Cooper (always a handful) out for a quick walk. It was still dark and I could see my breath in the air as I stooped down to bag his business. That’s when Cooper saw another dog—and bolted. I fought to stay on my feet as the 115 pound dog dragged me across the grass and slammed me directly into a tree, which I clutched desperately, his leash still wrapped around my wrist. Cooper greeted the other dog excitedly, and the owners asked if I was okay. I said I was fine, and gave Cooper’s leash a firm yank, walking back towards our apartment. Safely inside the door, I started to cry. My forearms were already bruising and I was bleeding from all the cuts and scrapes.

I cleaned myself up, applied ointment and bandages, then headed off to work (late).

That night, Asshole came back from his trip and asked me what had happened to my arms. I explained, and suggested we get Cooper some training, as he was disobedient, out of control, and too large for me to handle. Asshole shrugged, unwilling to admit we needed help with the dog, and uninterested in finding the money for it.

I started to notice strange behaviour; Asshole was going out with a co-worker more and more, staying out all hours of the night, and spending funds we did not have. More than once, I walked into our office at the back of the apartment to ask him a question, and he would immediately close the browser window on the screen, whipping around in his chair and responding with an angry, “What?”

When the school year ended, Asshole lined up some handyman and painting jobs to make extra money to help pay off the line of credit. I was happy to see him taking some initiative, and he took pride in his work.

One day, he came home covered in paint spatters, and nonchalantly told me that he’d been thinking about it, and had decided to use the money he earned during the summer to buy himself a new Macintosh computer.

Like a volcano that had been bubbling under the surface for a good year, I lost my shit and absolutely exploded. I didn’t have a computer, and had been scrimping and saving every single extra penny I had for a MacBook Pro, which is a very difficult thing to do when you’re essentially supporting another person.

Slamming my hands against the dining room table in frustration, I unleashed every ounce of anger, frustration, and sadness that I had been holding inside of me for too long. He tried to fight back, but after everything I had done for him, he realized he had finally gone too far.

You can’t turn the tide, and this was the beginning of the end.

1.19.2014

Cursed

Early in November, I was in Montréal on business for two days. While doing some market research at the mall near our head office, I received a POF message from a guy I had added to my favourites list, and we began to chat.

He was my age, 5’10”, had a full head of dark hair, a beard, and was covered in tattoos. In other words: exactly my type.  He was new to the online dating world, and found it sketchy and unnatural. I called him newbie, and he called me veteran.

I discovered that he was in Ottawa for work, and when I questioned his “government” job, he told me it would be best to explain in person, and asked if I would be interested in meeting up that weekend, as we would both be back in Toronto.

Saturday morning, he texted to check if we were still on, and we made plans to meet at the Starbucks in my neighbourhood that evening.

I stood in the misty rain under my umbrella, praying for a good hair night, when I saw him crossing the road. He caught sight of me and grinned, spun around once, then enveloped me in a huge bear hug that made me laugh. I felt at ease immediately.

“I need to eat, like now,” he said.

“Oh, shit! I didn’t know you wanted food. I ate.”

“No, it’s cool. I was running late, so I didn’t have time to eat anything. Walk or drive?”

“Walk?” I replied, “There are a bunch of places to eat west of here.”

We walked and talked until we found a sketchy little pub, where we grabbed a table, and he made his way to the washroom to “take a piss”.

Upon his return, we ordered poutine and a couple of beers, and I asked him to explain his job to me. I was surprised to find out that he worked for the Canadian military, in the special forces. His job took him all over the world, kicking down doors, shooting guns, jumping from airplanes…and he had actually killed people in Afghanistan.

He looked at me, wary, and said, “Are you freaked out?”

“Not at all. I’m a realist. I don’t pretend that bad things don’t happen in the world. We need people like you who can do what you do. My brother is in the military. I get it.”

He seemed to exhale, and told me he had experienced some very terrible things…friends dying right before his very eyes. Kill or be killed situations. Pretty heavy shit. However, he explained that he was moving on in the near future. His time in the military was nearly up, and he had already lined up a job with CN Rail.

“They said I’ll have to work my way up the ranks there, but I’m excited to play with trains!” He laughed.

We talked about our passions and our hobbies.

“So, you’ve been skydiving?” he asked.

“Yep, just the once,” I replied.

“And your primary parachute had a hole in it?”

“Sure did! My instructor had to cut-away and pull the reserve,” I said, and told him the whole story, with emphatic gestures and amusing facial expressions.

“And you would go again? After THAT?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I shrugged, “Why not? I want to pull and steer the chute next time, instead of trying not to die.”

“Wow. You are fucking NUTS!” he said, and we laughed.

I realized that I liked this guy. A lot. He could be harsh and abrasive, but then again,  so could I. And contrary to nearly every other first date I’d had in my life, I had not “reset”; he was the same person I’d been texting with over the past few days, and I didn’t feel like I was starting over again with a new person.

It was Coors Light night at the pub, and these over-enthusiastic young blondes with bad extensions and tight t-shirts came over to our table and offered us each a free beer.

He smirked and declined, while I accepted. Hey, free beer, right?

I opened the can and took a swig, then wrinkled my nose in disgust. He laughed and said, “That’s exactly why I said no. Coors is shit. And shouldn’t they pick girls who are, oh I don’t know…attractive?”

I laughed and told him I’d been thinking the exact same thing.

“Yeah, but the difference is that I said it out loud. I need to get used to living in the real world again. I often say things I shouldn’t. I don’t have a filter.”

His honesty was like a breath of fresh air.

We talked about online dating, and I told him about a few of my experiences. I explained that I found most people to be playing the “trade-up game”, where they were always looking for something better. He wondered if a lot of people pretend to be someone they are not, because they are aware of the game.

Online dating is a messy, complicated, and often hurtful world, and I really liked the fact that he came with little experience.

At the end of the night, he wouldn’t allow me to pay for anything, and we made our way back to the end of my street, where he told me he’d had a really good time, and wrapped me in another giant hug.

“We’ll do this again, right?” he asked.

“I’d like that,” I told him.

“Let me know when you’re home okay,” he said, and I started to make my way up my street.

“Hey!” he yelled, and I turned around, “Don’t trade up on me!”

I laughed and yelled, “I won’t!”

Back in my apartment, I sent him a text:

Redhead: I’m home. And thank you, I had a really great time :)

G.I. Joe: Me too! We’ll do that again right?

Redhead: Definitely!

G.I. Joe: Fantastic. So I did good right?

Redhead: Haha, you did very good, newbie!

We texted back and forth over the next few days, and I came to find out he was headed to Ottawa again, and then off to Texas for work training…for a MONTH, which came as a complete surprise.

G.I. Joe: So I’m thinking, I kinda like you. I mean I don’t really know you but still.

Redhead: That’s good, because I kinda like you back.

G.I. Joe: Perfect! Now I just gotta get my ass home for good right!

Redhead: I get that you’re in a unique situation. We’ll figure it out.

G.I. Joe: Indeed we will. Thanks for being understanding and willing to stick around and figure it out. Top notch of you! I think I like you a little more now ;)

Redhead: When are you back?

G.I. Joe: At the latest dec 12 I think! Really though it’s only a month, and in the grand scheme of things that’s not so long.

G.I. Joe and I texted each other on a regular basis over the next few weeks. His “good morning pretty lady!” messages always made me smile, and I dared to have a tiny bit of hope that I had stumbled upon a decent guy. Apprehensively, I told my brothers and a handful of close friends about him, always ending with my fear of things going south. I was so scared to be excited about anyone, and I was constantly fighting my trust issues.

They all admonished me for being negative, for considering myself cursed and unlucky, and for being so convinced I would get fucked over. They told me that I would have to let my walls down eventually, because there were still good guys left in this world.

G.I. Joe: Is it crazy to say I kinda miss you even though we’ve only had one date?

Redhead: Not crazy. I feel the same way!

It’s always been hard for me to express my emotions, and I’m not the most romantic person in the world, but I felt that this guy was really worth an effort.

Redhead: You make me smile, and I’m really looking forward to seeing you again. Thought you should know that. Hope you’re having a good week! xo.

G. I. Joe: Hey there, thanks for that! Made my day!! The feeling is very mutual. I truly look forward to a progression with you as you are an amazing woman!

I hadn’t logged on to POF since we met, but I wanted to look at his profile again, so I typed in his username from outside the site. To my surprise, all his pictures were gone, his status had been changed to “not single, not looking”, and in the about me section, it said “sometimes you get lucky”.

I felt sick. I hadn’t heard from him in a few days. Had he found someone else?

Whoa. Wait.    …was it about ME?

In a panic, I called Stef, stuttering and stammering over how to tell her what I had discovered. When I finally got the words out, she asked what my gut was telling me. 

“Do you think it’s about you?”

“Yes,” I paused, scared to say the words, “I think so?”

“He’s in Texas. You’ve been talking the whole time he’s been gone. He did not meet anyone else. I’m sure everything is fine.”

“But we’ve only been on one date. Isn’t that a little…crazy?” I asked.

“Maybe it’s his idea of a grand gesture?” she said.

G.I. Joe: Hey good looking! How was your weekend?

Redhead: Hey! Good weekend. How was yours?

G.I. Joe: Same old really, working away. Finishing up and preparing to come home soon. Which is very exciting but I hear it’s really cold.

Redhead: Oh no…you have to come back to the cold and suffer like the rest of us. I feel so terrible for you.

G.I. Joe: Lol well as much as I appreciate your sarcasm, I don’t want to come back to the cold and snow. However, I DO want to come back to you. I actually ask myself if I am crazy for feeling this way after one meeting.

Redhead: To be completely honest, I haven’t bothered with POF since I met you. I’d like to see where this goes.

G. I. Joe: Well as you’re my one and only I figured I’d do the same. I logged in and took all my stuff down as I couldn’t figure out how to delete it. Definitely want to see where it goes. Since we waited so long we should make our first “real date” special. Saying that, I haven’t been on a real date in forever so I really don’t know what that even means.

Redhead: Haha, I don’t know either, but I’m sure we can come up with something :)

After what seemed like both no time at all AND forever, it was December 12, and G.I. Joe was making his way back to Canada in a military helicopter. He was texting me during fuel stops, and we talked about going skating for our first real date. I hadn’t been skating in years, so I ran out and got myself a brand new pair of figure skates from Canadian Tire.

We made plans to meet up on Sunday, but that morning it was -20 °C with the wind chill, and we decided to postpone any outdoor activities.

G.I. Joe: I can’t take this cold!

Redhead: Man up!

G.I. Joe: Haha easy for you to say miss climatized

Redhead: Truth be told, I could use a vacation somewhere warm right about now.

G.I. Joe: So let’s find something last minute and go sit on a beach for a week.

Redhead: Don’t even tempt me!

G.I. Joe: Cuba is like 600 bucks. Let’s go!!!

Redhead: I can’t miss Christmas!

G.I. Joe: Leave tomorrow or Monday! Back well in time for Christmas!

Redhead: Crunch time at work. Drowning. There’s no chance.

G.I. Joe: Excuses excuses

We decided to hang out at my place for a bit, and then go out for dinner. When he arrived, I met him in the parking lot, and gave him a giant hug.

“Hi!” I said.

“Hi!” he said back, grinning.

Inside, we sat on the couch, and my cat came to check him out. “Who is this?” he asked, an edge of disdain to his voice.

“That’s Willow.”

“Is she a good cat?”

I laughed and said, “Sometimes?”

“Does she piss outside?”

“No.”

“Then she’s not a good cat. I don’t like cats. I’m a dog guy.”

As if on cue, Willow gave G.I. Joe her seal of approval, and decided to smother him with her love. For someone who doesn’t like cats, he spent a lot of time petting her and rubbing her belly.

Again he brought up a last minute vacation, and I buried my face in my hands in frustration.

“G.I. Joe, I just CAN’T go right now. This is the worst possible time for me at work.”

“Come on. What will they do? Fire you?”

“For something like this? Yeah, maybe!”

“So, quit! You said yourself that you hate it there. Find something else when you get back!”

“I wish it were that easy. I’ve been job hunting for a couple YEARS. The market is terrible, and I’m not in a financial position to just walk away.”

“Lame,” he replied.

“Okay, let’s be serious for a minute. Our last date was more like a job interview, and right now, we’re on our first real date. Do you really think we’d be okay spending a week together so soon?” I asked.

“It’s a resort! If we hate each other, there are lots of other people there!”

I sighed, unsure of what to think about the whole idea. Fact of the matter was that I barely knew this guy, and a week is a long time to be trapped with someone I could potentially not like very much. On the other hand, I rarely did anything crazy and spontaneous in my life, and I so badly wanted to say fuck it, and just go.

After talking for a couple hours, we hopped into his car (opened the door for me—bonus points!) and drove up to Milestones for some food.

He and I flirted and joked around over dinner, and he continued to bug me about the vacation.

We talked about past relationships and what we wanted in the future. He mentioned that he wasn’t keen on the idea of marriage, and figured he would only have kids if it happened by accident.

When the bill came, he grabbed it, and I said, “Next time, dinner is on me.”

“What makes you think there’ll be a next time?” he said, and laughed when I narrowed my eyes at him.

He drove me back to my place, and came around the car to give me a big hug.

“We’ll hang out this week if I don’t go on vacation, or we’ll hang out when I get back if I do. I’ll let you know what I decide…but I’ll be honest, I’m probably going to go.”

“It’s okay, I don’t blame you. I just wish I could go!” I said, and gave him another hug.

“There’s still time to change your mind!” he said, then got in his car and drove away.

Inside my apartment, I sat down on my couch, a little confused. Why hadn’t he tried to kiss me? I felt like things had gone really well. Was he just being a real gentleman?

I thought about it, and decided to send him a text.

Redhead: Thanks for another great date! I have fun with you and I still like you after our first “real date” ;)

G.I. Joe: Indeed! Feeling is very mutual! Trip is booked!

Redhead: Good! I wasn’t sure…you’re a hard read! I’ll be honest: I’m pretty bummed that you’re leaving, and I can’t go with you.

G.I. Joe: I’m not a book :) and the choice was yours! Flight leaves at 2 tomorrow woohoo

And so, he left…and I was a mess. I couldn’t explain why, but I had a terrible feeling about the whole thing. People came to ask me how the date had gone, and I burst into tears more than once. For someone who has been accused of being unemotional and detached, I was being such a GIRL about the whole thing, and I hated it. I felt stupid, vulnerable, and irrational. My heart was so heavy, which my brain did not understand. I was angry at myself for not going to Cuba with him, even though I knew it just wasn’t possible.

I’ll be honest; it also hurt a little that he had turned around and left again, after I waited a month for him. I certainly didn’t blame him for taking a vacation when he could, as I knew his time was not his own until he was done with the military, but it still stung.

“He’ll probably meet some girl in Cuba, and I’ll never hear from him again,” I muttered at friends, and they again admonished me for being so negative and ridiculous.

I told myself repeatedly that I was being irrational, and decided that I would come back to Toronto a little early after Christmas to spend time with G.I. Joe before he had to report in Ottawa on the 6th of January.

My little brother flew in from the west coast, and we headed to London, Ontario for the holidays. We went out for sushi the day that I knew G.I Joe was coming back from Cuba, and I was on pins and needles all day. As the hours ticked by, I started to get a knot in my stomach, and finally couldn’t take it anymore.

Redhead: Not sure when you’re back, but I hope you had a good trip, and a safe flight home!

Nothing.

There had been a terrible ice storm in Toronto, and much of the city was still without power, so I took that into consideration.

Christmas day, I tried again.

Redhead: Merry Christmas! Hope you had a great day :)

Nothing.

To this day, I have not heard from him. I’m still so confused and hurt by the whole thing, and I don’t understand why someone who claimed to be honest and straightforward couldn’t just be upfront with me. If he met someone else, that’s fine, but he should have respected me enough to tell me. Disappearing acts are for cowards.

In most cases, when I see that a guy I’ve been out with is active on POF and obviously trolling for someone new, I know what the deal is. However, G.I. Joe’s profile is still empty and inactive. I have no answers, and nothing to go on.

Little brother said that some things don’t add up; people don’t just vanish, and why would the military be sending him on training missions in Texas if he was leaving in a few months? Maybe he was hiding something from me. Maybe he was hiding a lot of things from me. Maybe he was just a fucking asshole.

Truth be told, this one really hurt, and I’ve been in a pretty dark place since. It’s unfortunate that this guy had the ability to leave me feeling very shitty about myself, and wondering what I did wrong. I have a brain that never stops thinking or talking away at me, and it just keeps analyzing every aspect of this, trying to find explanation and reason. It’s been a good two years since I’ve met someone I really like, and I can’t believe the universe would really throw another Houdini at me, after the whole Lauder debacle. I feel like I can’t get excited about anyone, because it’s doomed to fail in the end.

I am cursed.