“I’ll call you,” Ethan walked out the door without looking back. Lorna closed it behind him and leaned against it, smiling. He’d spent the night. Lorna floated to her bed and pressed her face against the pillows.
“Ethan,” she whispered, and the name sweetened her tongue, “Lorna and Ethan.”
They’d taken it slow, meeting almost every week for the past few months. Almost. The word nagged Lorna; it reminded her of the times they didn’t meet. He’d canceled because of work. Then she’d had plans. But all was in the past. Last night sealed the deal, and Lorna felt the petals of an exclusive and long-lasting relationship blossoming.
Ethan didn’t call the next day. Lorna dismissed it. He’d said he was swamped at work. He was often swamped at work.
Two more days of silence; Lorna wondered if he was all right. She clicked the refresh button and waited impatiently as the email loaded. Nothing new. Lorna glanced at her phone. No new text, no missed call.
“Maybe he messaged me through social media,” she mumbled and pulled up her profile.
Nothing, nada, zip.
Lorna glanced left and right and clicked on his picture.
“Just making sure he’s all right,” she said to the keyboard, whose letters C-R-E-E-P jumped out in screaming black. Ethan hadn’t updated his relationship status, and while Lorna shrugged the detail off into the universe, it circled around to the back of her mind. But he’d posted something new, a picture of himself raising a beer with a group of people. A blond woman sat next to him, almost grazing his arm with her boob as she lifted her glass. Lorna’s spine tingled as she glared at the static face. The caption read: “great time last night!”
Lorna swallowed back a sinking notion. She pushed it all the way down her throat and into the deep recess of her mind, but the thought creeped out just before she shut the big iron door that reined in such pesky feelings.
“Why didn’t he ask you to join him?” The little voice in her brain yelled through the tiny keyhole as she turned the lock.
‘Why’ slithered through, and try as she might, she couldn’t swat the puny word away.
“Because he’s considerate and respectful, and didn’t want me to think it was a booty call,” she told the dishwater and pulled the plug out.
“Because it’s too soon to meet one another’s friends,” she was firm to the TV.
“Why? Why? Why?” The more she tried to explain it, the less she could.
Lorna tossed and turned all night.
“Hello, you’ve reached Ethan’s voicemail, please leave a message.”
Maybe he was working through lunch?
“Hi, it’s Lorna, just wondering if you’d like to do something together this weekend.”
The beep that ended the call brought tears to her eyes.
The weekend came and went without Ethan. And the next week. He’d almost disappeared.
That bothersome little word had nagged her since the beginning. Almost there, almost gone.
Her computer pinged. Lorna’s heart skipped when Ethan ‘liked’ her new post about her promotion. She glanced at her phone; silent as a tomb.
“Beautiful!” He commented on the picture her friends had taken at the beach over the weekend, but the phone still didn’t ring.
Lorna cried silent tears as she reviewed her profile and wondered what was wrong with her.
Why didn’t he call? If he wasn’t interested, then why was he following her every move online? He commented on her profile, so why not in person? Why? Why? Why?
“Because he’s an idiot!” The voice boomed in her mind. The misgivings burst forth in a deluge of tears and rage, like a volcano erupting in the ocean, until red wrath and blue sorrow gave way to white, foamy determination.
“No one toys with me!” She yelled at the computer, “How dare he ghost me!”
Lorna took a deep breath and exhaled through her teeth, the whistle reminiscent of a sword coming out of its sheath. With knitted eyebrows and tense jaw, she brought her finger down like a guillotine and clicked “unfriend”.
The cool waves of clarity washed away the angry lava. Lorna laid her head back and closed her eyes, traces of dry tears on her cheeks.
Lorna’s phone rang. She took her eyes off the television. Ethan’s picture blared on the tiny screen. Call declined.