A Ghost Story
Otherwise known as “Dating in the 21st Century”
I put my phone down, shaking my head. This was at least the 4,765th time I had checked to see if there was a happy-making little red dot with a number in it on my WhatsApp. Maybe I had just missed the telltale vibration, or annoying little dinging sound? I was still hoping he had sent a message. He hadn’t. It’s been four days. I think I can safely say I’ve been “ghosted.”
The Urban Dictionary defines ghost as, “Avoiding someone until they get the picture and stop contacting you.” I got the picture with the radio silence on day two, or rather my pride and my personal rules about chasing vs. being chased got the picture after day two. But my heart, (my ego?), and the places he so sweetly touched me? They want more. They are all still waiting to “get the picture.”
It started innocently enough. A coffee date turned beer date, at a tiny hole in the wall Czechoslovakian bar, on a quiet back street in Pankow, a northern neighborhood in Berlin. Hours of drinking beer, talking, laughing, light touches, and flirting, culminating in the most romantic of kisses. He held my hand and walked me to the U-Bahn station where we stood below ground, ignoring the smells and stares of other passengers. Shoulders leaning against the wall, facing each other, holding hands, feeling the wind pushing through the tunnel, and the train flying past, as he kissed me goodbye. When it came to a stop, and I turned to rush to get on, our hands were still reaching out to continue our touch, this magical connection, an attempt to hold onto that space together. Finally, we had to be content with watching through the window, little hand waves, and secret smiles forming on our lips.
The next few days were a flurry of texts, quick connections, flirty thoughts, and anticipation.
Me; Hey sexy, hope your day is great.
Toby: Saw this great book today, the title was ‘Laughing at Life’ it made me think of you!”
Me: I can’t wait to see your smile again!
Toby: Your smile is even more beautiful!
There was no “avoiding someone…” there was leaning in and putting ourselves out there. There were huge smiles whenever my phone buzzed, short giggles escaping my lips at the charming things he said. There were selfies and heart emoji. There was a date made. A time set for the next time we would be together. I couldn’t wait.
It was ridiculous really. Here I am, a 40-something woman, acting and feeling like a 13-year-old girl with her first crush. At least I never went so far as to write my name with his last name after it. (Hmm, what IS his last name?) There weren’t any “E.L. & Toby” doodles in my sketchbook, and I most definitely hadn’t told all my girlfriends about him, yet.
Finally, the day of our next date came rolling around. I woke up to beautiful sunshine and the anticipation of continuing this enchanting little romance. I made my coffee, singing out loud, and sent him a quick text.
Me: Good morning Sunshine! Can’t wait to see you later!
Toby: See you tonight gorgeous!
This date was even more delightful. We swooned over each other while sharing a delicious plate of charcuterie and amazing smelly French cheese. We kissed publicly and often drinking a beautiful bottle of Syrah. After dinner, on the short walk back to his flat, we were distracted frequently by every random touch, stopping to kiss, pushing one or the other of us against a wall and leisurely enjoying the taste of wine lingering in each other’s mouth before continuing on again.
Once at his flat, he didn’t turn on the lights, but while I took my coat and boots off, went around the space, lighting candles and turning on soft music. I walked into his arms, put my face against his neck, and smelled his slightly sweet scent, inhaling him. He led me to the bed. The slow sensual kissing continued. We laughed and talked about everything, his work, my work, the women at his job who have crushes on him, travel, music, my philosophy of dating, what he is looking for in relationships right now, just about anything that caught our fancy. In between words there were kisses, caresses, and long comfortable silences wrapped in each other’s arms. When I finally crawled out of the love nest we had fashioned together, I rushed to catch the last tram home. The streetlights illuminated my way, as I wandered home in a fog of passionate reflections.
I opened my eyes in the morning and my thoughts immediately went to him. I stretched languidly, flexing my muscles, recalling all the ways he touched me the night before and grabbed my phone.
Me: Good morning Sunshine! What an amazing night. Can’t wait to see you again soon! KISS!
Me: Hey You! Just checking in…
“Avoiding someone until they get the picture and stop contacting you.”
Ghost. He is a ghost. He is ghosting me. He ghosted me.