He was texting a girl. The whole time we were talking. He was flirting with someone else and trying to get her to come to the party. Why do I feel like I’ve just been hit by a train?
I’ve actually been pretty good the last couple of weeks. Work has been crazy, and I’ve been spending a lot of time on the site rather than in the office. Plus I’ve been hanging out with Andreas here and there. I definitely don’t feel anything more than… lustful friendship? Is that a thing? Let’s say it is. But he is fun to spend time with. So all in all, I really haven’t been thinking about Gustaf at all.
Until last week. The three of us went for a quick beer after work as the following day was a bank holiday in Sweden, and one turned into three quick beers, and then Liv went to meet some other friends and Gustaf invited me to join his friends at another bar.
Slightly drunk by then, he was being quite touchy- feeling, albeit in an affectionate, matey way, but those long looks and general sense of intimacy between us was back, and I thought “RESULT.”
So off we went to this little place in Vasastan that seemed more like an Italian restaurant from a seventies movies set in New York, and joined his buddies. I was the only girl, and I could see from the looks being exchanged when we arrived that they all thought something was going on. So far so good, I thought.
I ended up sitting next to this guy, Karl-Johan, who I recognised from loads of Gustaf’s stories, they’ve been best friends since their first day of school at seven years old. I started to introduce myself, but Karl-Johan said, “I know all about you, you’re the famous Ellie!”
Do you remember those toys from the eighties, I think they were worms for some bizarre reason, whose faces lit up when you squeezed them? That’s kind of how I felt when Karl-Johan revealed that Gustaf has been talking to his best buddy about me. Yeah, I know – tragic.
I don’t know what’s the matter with me. It’s really not like me to get hung up on a guy like this. Normally, I’m more: ”ooh he’s cool… does he think I’m cool? … Nah? … Ahh well, your loss dude!” and I carry on my merry way. I’ve been around the block enough times to know that half the time, rejection isn’t nearly as personal as it feels: plenty of times I’ve passed on a guy, not because they’re anything wrong with him, but because of what was going on with me, so I generally assume that it’s the same in reverse at least some of the time.
So if I know all that, why do I feel so wretched that Gustaf doesn’t want me? Because he doesn’t. Thats the reality of it.
After a while, Karl-Johan moved away to talk to somebody else, and Gustaf came to join me. He slung his arm around the back of my chair and toyed with the back of my ponytail and told me that all his friends thought I was amazing, and “of course they did.”
This is it, I thought, that Glow Worm creeping through me again. I all but leaned in, eyes closed, puckered up… when his phone buzzed.
Temporary moment killer. No worries, it happens. I pulled out my own phone and pointlessly scrolled through Instagram so as to look busy while he read the text. “I shouldn’t be texting her,” he sighed, leaning his head on my shoulder.
Her? An actual icy chill washed over me, the Glow worm curled up and died as I fought to keep my face and voice neutral. “Oh, uhh, yeah?” I muttered.
He rolled his eyes and sort of mock-groaned like he was in pain. Him and me both.
“Every time I’m drunk I text her, then I remember why it’s a terrible idea, but then I get drunk again.” He gestured to his phone. “I shouldn’t go, should I?”
I shook my head and just about managed to squeak, “doesn’t sound like it.”But he went.
Featured Image: Guian Bolisay/Flickr (file)
Love Refugee is YLC’s fiction serial; a romantic comedy about expat and confirmed singleton Ellie, determined to avoid commitment at any cost…