Exploring the ins and outs of the online dating world

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The 27 of 2017: Part 2

The 27 of 2017: Part 2

Fast forward six months later, I finally had the courage and strength to end my relationship with Jordan. I can only thank my ability to do that on those around me. I had built the strongest supports throughout my move from one city to another that felt like a space I could fall back on at any point I felt lost. And I was right. They had become and would become my safety in a place unknown. You know who you are. Forever I am thankful that you helped me find that ability to escape a situation that was digging a dark hole of insecurities inside me. That relationship and its end is a whole other story I don't want to get into now. Maybe for another time. But let's talk about what happened the moment after it ended.

I entered December filled with a new found hope. As shattered as I felt, I could see the light shining through the bits of my heart that were surrounding me. I never really thought what I would be like after the breakup. I knew I would be upset and I imagined the stereotypical late night conversations with friends over wine and ice cream filled with tears and heartfelt words. Never did I imagine so soon that I would trust to open my heart again and let someone in but there I was, in the midst of a storm, holding the door of my heart open for a familiar face with an unfamiliar heart.

Kieran stood by my side throughout the entire cycle of Jordan and never strayed from being a close and valued friend. His unbiased and caring support reinforced the foundation of our friendship that we had built over the years. When Kieran began to open his heart up, in a way he never could before, I melted. Through the muddle of anger and pain I had been through with Jordan, his first attempt to share any sort of romantic connection was not registered by my brain; it went unrecognized. We had always been flirtatious but I never saw any real intentionality of his words until one particular moment.

Ever since Jordan and I broke up, Kieran became serious when discussing coming to visit- he was still where I had left him. I didn't really think too much of it when he first started mentioning it because I felt too drowned in grief to really see it as anything beyond a kind act. One evening, it finally became a serious discussion. Kieran said he wanted to come and was looking into flight costs and dates. I finally realized it wasn't just talk; he actually wanted to come see me. Looking back on that period of time, I remember walking down snow-filled streets with a smile tattooed on my face. Giggles and happiness seeped through me like it never did with Jordan. It's always that one particular night or moment you remember. I remember walking down the street with a friend singing and dancing to music and sharing our optimistic vision of how the future looked. That image, that feeling, that hope is forever engraved in my memories.

That evening Kieran politely said he was happy to have a couch to sleep on when he came to visit. A few messages later was when, through four words, that I knew deep down that there was something more to the unexplored bond between Kieran and I. I saw a side of him I never witnessed nor did I believe could exist; at least not for me.

“Dude, it's me. I don't care if you sleep in my bed.” I said after discussing the prospect of Kieran sleeping on the couch.

“I'm ecstatic.” Kieran replied.

“That exciting to get a bed over a couch?”

“Not just a bed.”

At that moment, it hit me. Without any words to say and heat rising to my cheeks, I couldn't think of anything else to respond with and Facebook didn't carry a proper emoji to share my reaction.

“*blushes*”

“I like this side of you.”

“Why's that?”

“Because it's something new to explore. I've never seen it.”

“I guess I've never been able to show it.”

“I can't seem to do anything but blush and smile right now.” I admitted.

“Then I need to stay up.”

“How come?”

“Because I like making you smile.”

“Kieran... god dammit Kieran.”

“Hahaha, I knew that'd get you.”

“It doesn't help that you are so intelligent, good looking, and charming.. and you have that damn grin that is so damn attractive.. but then you go and be sweet and I'm completely left defenceless.”

“It's words like that that make me want to move to live in Montreal.”

Those words stuck in my head like glue. He was making me melt and he continued to do so in every conversation; night after night.

“How late do you plan to stay up for?” Kieran asked me a few nights later.

“Probably a while haha. Why?” I responded.

“Probably going to be up for a bit to unwind. Wanted to know if I'd have company.”

“You will.”

Once Kieran made it home, he sent me a message. I laid in bed with a grin on my face, as per usual, and got ready to end my night as much as I could with him.

“How long is the flight?” Kieran asked.

“It's about an hour and a half if you don't have connections.”

“That's decent. Nothing will feel as long as a flight to British Colombia.”

“Definitely not. Montreal is so close.”

“It's weird because it doesn't feel like it.”

“It's far when I think about how empty my bed is right now and how I'm laughing out loud at videos alone.”

“I feel that. I'm just blobbing out listening to music reviews.”

“Haha I'm way too wired right now.”

“Same but why are you?”

“No clue. I guess from being productive and I thought doing a small workout before bed would help but no. And I'm just really happy.”

“If you want, I'll play you a song to put you asleep.”

“Yeah?”

“I do not know any songs but I can play a mean soft rhythm. But that's not for tonight. I haven't heard your voice in awhile.”

That phone call made everything real. Hiding behind emojis and text can change the dynamic quickly. I'm sure you have had many conversations with people online, whether it be on tinder or another dating app, that were completely different in person. I knew that Kieran and I had that connection prior but it was a re-solidification of that idea. It made everything real again. That phone call flicked that switch back on in my brain from that one evening in May. Kieran and I could be something. There was more than just something there.

He kept up this momentum like never before. Day after day he would send me things that made me smile and laugh. He gave me a new semblance of romantic hope.

“Julia, I miss you man.” Kieran messaged me yet again in the evening leading up to when he was planning on coming to visit.

“I miss you too. It has been way too long.” I responded.

“Potentially one week.”

“Ack. I can't think about it. I'll get too excited. My back is aching so I could really go for a back massage.”

“I got you next weekend. Just need to break it to the rents which is probably not a huge deal. Damn, I'm stoked.”

“If not, I think the twelfth might be cheap too! I'm super stoked either way.”

“Okay great!”

“Fuck. Stop getting me excited.”

“Lol I'm just excited I get to be excited.”

“I just want to see that grin of yours.”

“I'll be looking fly don't worry.”

“You always do. Does this mean I won't have to make dinner, drink wine, and have a kitchen dance party alone?”

“That's correct. You barely have to make dinner.”

“Dude, I'm down with that. I do love the idea of you making food, especially breakfast.”

“You'll wake up to the smell of an unreal breakfast.”

“The best fantasy.”

“One of.”

“Do tell me others.” I pried, hoping for more.

“For one, seeing you at the gate.”

“Blushes. Getting a classic Kieran hug is another on my list.”

“They are my speciality.”

“Most memorable hug and moment.”

“I can see it third person.”

“Okay I need to hear more of this list.”

“Nah man. Not now, now we ride the excitement we've just created.”

And it was another fueled and heated conversation that left much to the imagination over online text. Technology and the Internet have been key factors to keeping us close. We had been able to remain in contact almost every day. There is only so much you can convey over Facebook messages or pictures but it kept our bond strong and intact. Even with all of its upsides, unfortunately, there are too many moments where I despise the era of the Internet. Constant connection had kept so many of my relationships strong but it also was the driving force that pushed some apart. Too many messages are sent without a second thought or hesitation. We are able to share what is on our mind, with anyone, at any time, wherever we are; but never without remorse. There have been many messages that I have instantly regretting saying, not necessarily because they were bad but because they were too open. One day in early December, I received a message that morning that I would have given anything to erase from my mind.

I looked down at my phone and saw a new Snapchat from Kieran. Excitedly, I grabbed my phone and opened the app. I clicked on his message with a smile on my face which instantly disappeared once I read the text of the picture. Kieran was posed with his eyes rolling back with the words “when you only got three hours of sleep and you have a date” written across. I sat there dumbfounded and confused. Why would he send this to me? I immediately checked his story only to realize that the picture was sent directly to me on purpose. Did he intentionally want to push me away? Did he feel like we were getting too close? Did he even care? I could feel the tears building up in my eyes and I knew at that moment I had had enough.

I messaged him back with a seemingly cool “hah with who?” and Kieran immediately responded with “some girl I met downtown who asked me out for coffee”. I had hoped it would have been a joke, a cruel one but a joke nonetheless, and that he had a date with school or alcohol. I don't know. I wanted some other explanation than he was going on a date with some girl just days before he was allegedly supposed to come visit me. I didn't understand and I wasn't sure that I wanted to. All I knew is that I felt heartbroken yet again and like I became an afterthought, a second place, not enough. It was the same feeling that Jordan had spiralling through my head and I wanted nothing more than to rid it from me.

Silence remained between Kieran and I. I had not heard from him for a few days nor did I message him. It was very rarely that we went any period of time without some sort of communication and it was eating away at me that he had not said anything. Finally, I found the courage to craft a message to him. It took a few drafts that were reviewed by my friend Blair to ensure it was polite yet conveyed the right amount of disappointment, hurt, and anger; the first few drafts contained far too many curse words and anger. After careful consideration, I finally sent the message.

“I'm not even sure where to begin. You can date whoever you want, I don't care, just don't rub it in my face days before you “planned” on coming and after having moments as something more than friends. You know how hard it was to open myself up after Jordan and after being friends for so long I just don't know what you wanted to accomplish with it.. if it was to push me away then you have already accomplished it.” I sent to Kieran.

“I know, I'm sorry. I realize it was a mistake and I sent it out without thinking. Seriously, I wish I responded or said something earlier. I feel awful about it. I know it didn't feel great to see that and I immediately knew it was a mistake. It was an accident. I'm so sorry.” Kieran responded late that evening.

“Well I appreciate you saying that.” I said the next morning.

“Again, so sorry.”

“I'm not really sure what else to say.”

“Me too. I wish we could talk as if it didn't happen.”

“I wish too but it did happen, and for me, it kind of ruined everything.”

“I wish I could take it back.”

“Gotta live with the choices you make. What do you even want from me?”

“What do you mean?”

“I just don't understand what your intentions were with everything. We're friends but it wasn't just for sex. I don't know man.”

“I mean, you are one of my best friends and I know you're the one I trust most. I intended to come see you so we could just enjoy each other's company for awhile.”

“I just don't know man. I don't understand it all.”

“I shouldn't say this but I wish you came here.” I said.

“Ugh I know. It's not like everything stopped in its tracks.” Kieran responded.

I had this long, drawn out fantasy built up in my head. I filled that empty space that always seemingly looms in front of us with a happy vision of what could be. It was one that never came to be - a road untraveled. And here it put me again; with that every so present whiteness ahead. There was nothing and everything there. That possibility of a future was one I constructed so deeply into my head many years ago and was one that was taken away from me - not by some fate, some higher power, or by chance. It was taken away because of his actions. It was nothing I could control. Everyone makes choices in life. Whether they be small or vastly significant, they are all choices that impact yourself and those around you. Yet he was more concerned with the choices that benefited him. I continually became a footnote of the text but never the pressing words screaming from the page. And that wouldn't be the last time that Kieran disappointed me. I mentioned Kieran being the oh-so-important and big component of my love life - and he was and in some sense is. And when Kieran disappoints, he disappoints big.

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