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Rejection

by on March 28, 2018

Charles didn’t understand. He had thought everything was going swimmingly.

He had been writing Stacey for four months. Their emails had ranged from political (she voted regularly, he abstained on principle) to witty (they both loved puns) to cultural (they both hated Game of Thrones).Β  They had even spoken by phone on several occasions. As Charles reckoned things, they had a decent relationship.

Then she came to town. It was a church thing; she was coming with her youth group. Saturday morning they all went out to Denny’s for breakfast. Charles tagged along.

He misread the signs. He had hoped to sit beside her, or even across from her, but somehow ( wasn’t quite sure how) he ended up two tables down. During breakfast she didn’t look at him much. Then, afterwards, she contrived to get to the cashier and pay for herself before Charles could. Still, he missed the implications. It wasn’t until they had made it outside and the rest of the group had separated, and Charles asked what she wanted to do next, that she lowered the boom.

“Look, Charles…” she said.

Charles’ stomach clenched. Now he was getting a hint.

“I like you,” she said. “A lot. We’re friends. But…I don’t see this as anything more.”

“Oh,” Charles said. “Okay.”

He hadn’t actually been planning to have the define-the-relationship talk for some time yet. He had hoped, though. “Do you think…” he ventured. “Maybe in the future?”

“No,” she said, rather decidedly. “I’m sorry. But we’re going to have to settle for bronze. Friends, I mean. Not going steady, not on-and-off again. Just friends.”

“Fine,” Charles said. “Email you later?”

“Sure,” she said.

He did try. But her reply email didn’t come until the next day. When he emailed again, she never replied. He tried once more, a month later. Nothing.

He never did quite understand why.

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13 Comments
  1. The Writer permalink

    I had to get past the whole hating GoT thing LOL Once I did, really great story. I love how you didn’t feel the need to explain why. That’s what makes this whole piece “real” because usually in life – you don’t get a why it just is what it is. It also leaves you with enough questions that if you wanted to expand on it you could. For instance, your first paragraphs illustrate how much they conversed but doesn’t really give us any info on how their relationship was offline. Did they have an offline relationship? Was it all in his head?

    • In my head, they didn’t have an offline relationship; I was envisioning this as the first time they met offline. As to whether the relationship itself was all in his head… I’ll leave that one to the philosophers. πŸ™‚

      • The Writer permalink

        Gotcha! I’m loving it because it has the Joe Goldberg feel to it only less murderous.

  2. MM Schreier permalink

    This is certainly easy to relate to – who hasn’t felt that sting?

    • Who indeed. Let’s just say I may have drawn certain incidences from real life, and leave it at that. πŸ™‚

  3. I love how relatable this was. Your hints that this might be the first time Charles’s first time dating landed squarely with “youth group.” Oh the DTRs (in college my friend and I called them RDTs: relationship defining talks). I do not miss those days.

  4. Poor Charles. You just knew this was going nowhere from your initial description.

  5. Oh poor Charles — I have been in exactly that position and it is *painful*. I like how you didn’t explain what happened or why. As an earlier commenter said, that makes it feel more real: in real life you never really know. Oh, and my group of friends always called them SORTs – State of the Relationship Talks. πŸ™‚

    • I like the acronym. πŸ™‚ I always called it a DTR myself, not that I had terribly many of those until I met my wife. C’est la vie…

      • You’re lucky, then, because it seems like that DTR/SORT worked out pretty well for you!

      • I am very blessed, to put it mildly. πŸ™‚ especially now we have a bouncing baby seven-month-old. πŸ™‚

      • Awww! A bouncy baby is an excellent excuse for not posting as much on your blog, too. Have to have those priorities! πŸ™‚

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