We matched exactly 20 days ago. I downloaded Bumble to further procrastinate during finals. Her name was "Vesper," and I immediately envisioned our love affair seven years into the future because I have a thing for unique names and also a crush on Vesper Lynd from "Casino Royale" in 2006. Also, her profile read, "What is a first date between new friends?"
I don't know, but I want in.
She asked me about my bird because my profile mentions I own a bird. (My bird is the number one question I actually get about myself. People are fascinated by people who own pet avians.)
We hit it off, as in we exchanged one paragraph a day and agreed we should meet. Except I was at a wedding the first weekend, then I went to Holland, so after that. She was also busy, working part-time and in grad school.
In Holland, I didn't think about her except for a moment in a cafe in Den Haag where I considered opening Bumble and seeing if she'd messaged, but then I decided I was on vacation, so why would I do that?
Two days after returning to America, I decided I should open the app, so I did, and she had messaged. I responded to the prompt from eight days ago and apologized for being MIA. But I didn't suggest meeting because I knew my calendar and I had not an idea when I could fit her in.
She excitedly replied to me ("Hey, stranger!") and then asked if I was by chance free that evening, we could get drinks. And yes, I wanted to, but I had a date with a friend that I had made while abroad (which shows I was willing to interact with some friends, just not others).
"What about this weekend?"
"Actually, I'm going to Arlington for my friend's birthday. But I could do next Monday or Wednesday." (But then I'm gone for five days again. Maybe I'm too busy. And if you can't date in the summer... I won't finish that thought.)
She said she'd have to see, she had midterms to study for, and I knew we had missed the plane, but I resisted. I always do this: I grow uninterested in the person I'm texting, but I drag it out because I don't like ghosting, I don't want them to think they did something because it is all me, but I make it worse in the end.
I returned to Richmond Sunday and asked if she could up the next night. She couldn't, but said Wednesday would probably work. She also said she'd hung out with her family that weekend (because I asked how her her weekend had been, because I was trying to act interested), and it hit me: I couldn't recall if her family lived in the area. Where was she from again? Did she have roommates? What was her undergrad major? All chemistry we might have had 20 days ago had left with me. Maybe it was in Holland, maybe it was in Arlington, or maybe it was recycled into the atmosphere.
I also didn't want to meet on Wednesday. I wanted to go to my outdoor yoga class and then pack for my New York City trip.
I recounted this angst to my friend at brunch (actually, I missed brunch while traveling back from Arlington, so we did breakfast for dinner), and my friend said it for me: "It's over. Give it up. The ship's sailed."
"But we had chemistry," I protested. "Twenty days ago. I wanted to meet then."
"You'll find someone else," my friend assured me, which I didn't really need assurance. They're too many people in this world, to be honest. Amsterdam was an overcrowded hot pocket of tourists. I could go back there if desperate.
"You're right," I decided. I just needed someone else to say it for me. The spark was gone. I had missed the train. But there will be other trains. And there's no reason to wait at the station once the train's left. Even if the train came back, everyone onboard is gonna hate you.
We never met. I went to yoga on Wednesday.