The Fade Out

We’ve all  been there…you’re in love, the calls are constant and hours long. You receive text messages throughout your day and find yourself thinking ‘I have to tell X about that later’. You plan dates, trips and even sometimes, a future. You finally understand what the story books/ rom-coms/ married friends tell you when they say ‘you just know’. He talks about being married, he even asks you what kind of ring you’d like. You’re kind of nervous because you haven’t been dating long, but once you meet the parents and he meets yours… well.. I guess the timeline isn’t fixed for when its right.. right?

But then suddenly he doesn’t call when he says he will. You receive a text message the next day claiming a de-juiced phone. No casual ‘how’s your day’ text messages and still no phone call. No offers to Skype.  The emails have dried up and when you call, it rings through to voice mail. After three days you’re evaluating whether you said something, whether you did something…and a week goes by. You’re thinking that it can’t be what it looks like because he was in so deep, you both were. You talked about your marriage ceremony! You even moved furniture to make room for your combined living room layout. Nooo its not the fade out. Surely.. he’s just having a ‘man cave’ moment. So you leave him be. After all, you’re cool, you’re confident and you don’t need to be breathing down his neck for reassurance.. that is, until you do. Its been 10 days and you’ve never been this long without calling, texting or Skyping since you met. The excuses are mounting up from him and it sounds, crazily, exactly like every guy who ever backed off… but it can’t be… surely not???? You still have the note he wrote to you from 3 weeks ago where he professed deep, undying love of the sort never felt before. ‘I know its you’. It was only 3 frigging weeks ago…. did he get knocked on the head?? What did I DO?

But then as it nears two weeks you can’t refute the signs any more. ‘I was out’ ‘I have flu’ ‘I missed your call’.. the lameness of the excuses is just un-ignorable. He’s doing the fade out. You didn’t do anything. He just changed his mind. Got cold feet. Whatever. He’s fading, and at this point, he’s already gone.  The only thing tethering you is the memory of all those fanciful conversations and imaginings from your three month affair. Which is just what it was -a fanciful affair. Strip away the words, the parents, the passion… and you don’t have much more than two people who barely knew each other. It doesn’t help it be less painful. For the humiliation to be less stark. For the complete shredding of your psyche to be less eviscerating. But you’ve been here before and at 40, you know this routine. Yet another layer to be added to your skin, and wisdom to be added to the pile of ‘shouldn’t have’ ‘don’t’ and ‘beware’.

The Fade Out. May it be my last.

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