Going to the Hollywood Bowl with the WRF turned out to be such a success, the next morning I invited him to join me again the following week, when I had tickets to see Michael Franti.
(I’d wanted to wait to see how it went before I invited him again, plus I was still trying to keep things casual, or at least appear to be keeping things casual, so I (a) didn’t want to seem like I was making too many plans ahead of time or (b) taking him out repeatedly.) He said yes. We also made plans – initiated by me, again – for him to come over on Sunday. It was now Thursday.
I left for work, sleep deprived but bubbling over with happiness, and the WRF made his way towards the bus and then the metro for his two-hour trip back to Lynwood.
I didn’t hear from the WRF the next day, but that followed his pattern. I didn’t hear from him Saturday either. He’d said he’d probably come over Sunday morning around 11, and when I hadn’t heard from him by 10:45, I texted him: Is everything ok and are we still on for today? Silence. So I called him. His phone rang and rang, and then I got the message saying, “The subscriber you are calling has a voicemail box that has not been set up.” (I’d told him more than once he should set up his voicemail since he was looking for a job, and how unprofessional it would look for prospective employers to call him and not be able to leave a message.)
A few minutes later he called me back, his voice low and strange sounding. I couldn’t understand everything he said, just heard “tried to kill me.” Oh my God.
“I can’t hear you,” I said. “What happened? Are you okay?”
“My father’s carne asada tried to kill me,” he said.
He was safe, and he was claiming food poisoning.
Since I hadn’t heard from him in three days, his story seemed less than credible, and I told him so.
“I can’t believe you’re doing this right now,” he said, extremely put out, as though I were constantly questioning him. Then, “I can’t do this right now. I’ll call you later when I’m feeling better.”
Wow. His self-absorption knew no bounds.
I didn’t for a moment believe he had food poisoning. He sounded like someone calling in sick to work and making his voice sound extra weak to be convincing.
He didn’t call back later.
The next morning, he texted me: Good morning. Just letting you know I’m feeling better this morning.
Wow. Did I say his self-absorption knew no bounds?
I heard nothing else from him that day, or Tuesday. The following day we were supposed to go to the Bowl. Tuesday night I went out for drinks with a new guy from Tinder, and I threw it out there that I might have an extra ticket to the Bowl the next night, trying to make a contingency plan in case the WRF flaked, as it appeared he might. My date already had plans.
Wednesday morning I woke up to this text:
I’m afraid I’m going to have to cancel our plans for the Bowl tonight. My son’s mom [wife number two] called me this morning asking if I could drive to San Diego because he really wants to see me. So I’m on my way down to San Diego and I’m going to be bringing all three of them [his daughters from wife number three] with me Thursday vs picking them up on Friday.
His seven-year-old son who lived in Minnesota, whom he only saw once a year, was in San Diego, where wife number three and the girls lived, and I knew he’d been planning to pick them all up that weekend.
Duty called, I got it. Of course his kids should come first. He’d be an asshole (or even more of one) if they didn’t. But telling me in a text, with no apology, after the food-poisoning excuse and lack of communication since? Not to mention that he said nothing about getting together after his kids went home, or that he’d make it up to me.
I didn’t respond. What was there to say? I’d already told him that if he didn’t get more reliable, I wasn’t going to keep seeing him because it stopped being fun for me.
Do men pushing 40 “get more reliable?”
This one didn’t.
I was sure I’d hear from him again. I knew I shouldn’t see him again. It would be hard to say no because of the amazing sex, but I shouldn’t give in. I deserved better. So, so much better.
I kept expecting a text from the WRF. My birthday was in less than two weeks, and I was sure I’d hear from him then, even if just to say happy birthday. Guys always used birthdays and holidays as an excuse to get in touch.
The text I expected never came.
The temptation I didn’t know if I could resist never came.
At least I never texted him, no matter how drunk I got or how angry I felt.
In the end, I’m grateful he disappeared like that, because it ripped the Band-Aid off in one fell swoop. The situation didn’t drag on and drag me down with it, like when I’d dated losers in the past.
In fact, I’d say I escaped the WRF virtually unscathed, many orgasms richer, with greater knowledge of what it feels like to be with a guy who was truly fun and spontaneous.
But I can never again be with anyone who’s only fun and spontaneous without being responsible and reliable, too.
From now on, I won’t settle for anything less than a Full-Package Man.