The Connoisseur, part III

Time period: June 2017

After I left C’s apartment and flew to San Francisco to try and mend things with Tech Guy, I knew very quickly on that my feelings TG had dissipated, never to return. I arrived in SF on a Friday afternoon, and things between TG and I were strained, to say the least. All the while, I was completely miserable, and couldn’t stop thinking about C.

By the next evening, I couldn’t help myself, and texted C while I was next to TG in bed. I went to sleep on tenterhooks that night, thinking what a horrible mistake I’d made. I wasn’t expecting a response, but the next morning I saw C had texted back: You’ll have to elucidate. The above text doesn’t quite agree with your departure letter.

With that began a long exchange of texts back and forth over the 10 days I was in San Francisco, that was basically a negotiation of us getting back together. All the while, I was hanging out with TG, pretending everything was fine, and I sort of felt despicable for it. The first couple of days that we started texting again, C’s tone was dubious and skeptical of my intentions.

Two days after my initial “I’d love to pick up where we left off, I made a huge mistake” text, C texted me, in response to a “I’ll see you when I get back” text from me, I really don’t know. Why should I trust anything you say anymore? And with that, began a barrage of daily texts back and forth. On Tuesday, C texted me asking if I would be prepared to meet a longer list of conditions. I said it depended on what those conditions were. C replied: Obviously nothing crazy or that would be anathema to you. I asked when he would tell me what the new conditions were, and he said, in person when I got back, but that he was still thinking.

On Wednesday, C texted me: Convince me that you’re trustworthy. I then gave him another spiel saying that I couldn’t say anything to make him trust me this time, but I assured him that I had the sincerest intentions, and that I intended to be wholeheartedly dedicated to him after the pain I’d endured during our short separation. During this time, he sent me a lot of texts stating: Sigh, in response to my texts professing my intentions to be committed to him.

On Thursday, C texted: Just come back. We’ll have a bit to talk about. He then asked when my mother was leaving, and I said she wasn’t leaving until Monday, and so I wouldn’t be able to come back to New York any earlier. Despite that, I could sense he still had some trepidation in letting me come back.

On Friday he texted me asking what was the date I packed up and left his apartment, and what he should do if I do that again. I gave an answer to the effect of ‘whatever you feel would be appropriate’, to which I received a concerned response: Wait, so you are planning on maybe doing it again?

I assured him that I wasn’t, and then he said we would have to talk about it in person. I asked if it would be Tuesday, and he replied: Maybe. I picture you grinning happily as if you’ve won. I don’t think it’ll be that easy. I replied that I didn’t think it would be that easy.

At this point, it was a Friday afternoon in San Francisco. I was at TG’s apartment, and he’d come home early from work. We had dinner plans that night, and I had been exchanging texts with C all day, even as TG came home. I was showering, when I heard TG come to the bathroom door, and say, “Hey, can I ask you something?”

This was highly unusual behaviour, even for TG, and instantly, I felt my stomach lurch. I replied, “What is it?” while trying to sound as nonchalant as possible. TG said either he would come in the shower, or that I should come out. I came out of the shower, and faced an anxious looking TG. I couldn’t look him in the eye, as he asked me, “Are you going back to –?” I replied, “No I’m not.” TG said, “Have you been in contact with him since you’ve been here?” Again, I replied no, and TG said something like, “fine”.

After that, I walked over to grab my phone, which was on top of the table, and saw a new message from C, saying: Then why leave in the first place?

I was sure that TG had read the message, hence his worried question, but since he’d accepted my lie, I thought nothing more of it. That night, we went out to dinner, and everything seemed fine, or so I thought. We came home after dinner, and everything was as normal. Then, the next morning, TG and I were having sex, when he asked, “Do you like fucking me?” Then, right after I said yes, he said, “Do you like lying to me?” while also pulling off my blindfold. It was all so dramatic.

TG looked enraged, and we stopped having sex immediately and abruptly. He said he saw the messages from C on my phone yesterday, and asked if I was going back to him. Reluctantly, I nodded yes. He became even more enraged, and asked why I even bothered coming to San Francisco, before consequently shouting at me to get out of his house. At this point, we were both still in bed naked. Exasperated by the drama, and a little bit nervous, I moved up to get out of bed, but TG pulled me back down, and said, “No, I’m talking to you. Why did you come here if you were planning to get back with him?”

I replied that initially, I hadn’t intended to get back with C, but when I got to SF, I had just been so sad that I ended up texting him. TG said that because I had done this, I hadn’t given us a real chance. We continued arguing for an hour or so while walking around the neighbourhood looking for a brunch spot, and during this time, we both figured we would break up. To add to the stress, my parents were arriving in San Francisco in an hour, and I had to go to lunch with them. In the end, we just walked around the block arguing and then came back to the apartment, and somehow ended up not breaking up, and TG saying he would still come to meet my mother the next day.

TG then put me in an Uber to my parents’ hotel, and everything was fine when I saw them, despite the tumultuous morning. During that day, C and I exchanged texts, with him saying: I didn’t want to hurt you; I could tell what might do so. That’s the cause of my “sighs”– you could’ve just asked to talk about it. He also asked me that day what it was I really wanted from him, and when I said, I could ask you the same thing, C replied: I want you to love me. How’s that for honesty? Following that, he said: Please just come back. To New York.

Following this, and over the next couple of days, his texts grew less suspicious of me, and more romantic and loving. Two days later, it was time for me to fly back to New York, and I was at the airport, waiting to board my flight with TG. C was constantly texting me that day, and asked if I wanted to come right to his apartment to nap after getting off the plane. I assented, but was highly curious about the new conditions that would be imposed on me, and asked C if he could send them to me over text. C asked me to call him, so I excused myself from TG, and went to speak to C on the phone.

What was intended to be a quick phone call ended up lasting 40 minutes. C sounded eager and enthusiastic to talk to me on the phone, despite it being late in New York. C’s new conditions were perfectly acceptable to me, just like he’d said- they included a range of things, such as, picking up things from stores for him from time to time, spending my days more productively and doing a range of things from writing, exercise, and job hunting, and something more lascivious, occasional sex in the middle of the night. And also, more intangible things, like trust.

I boarded the flight, and upon arriving back in New York, C texted me Welcome back! He asked if I was back at the apartment already, and if I had missed it. We continued to exchange texts as I was heading back to his place in an Uber. When I got there, I came in the door and saw he had left the key, on top a stack of $100 bills, and a note (written on top of a note I had left him previously) that said ‘In my thoughts always’, followed by a heart. There were also suitcases next to the door, which he’d left for me, to use to transport my belongings from my Brooklyn apartment to his place.

I was extremely pleased by the gesture, but it was romantic and sentimental, and I thought, uncharacteristic of him. I was about to take a shower, when I strolled past the cabinet in the adjoining room, and saw a bunch of folded papers on top of the cabinet. Unable to quench my curiosity, I walked over to the cabinet and inspected the pieces of paper.

It was a letter, addressed to C. Several letters in fact, spanning the length of around four to five pages. The girl, (let’s call her ‘K’) began the letter by professing her love for C, and subsequently begging (I kid you not!) him not to end the relationship with her. The letter, as continued, contained a number of other things that concerned me. The most noticeable thing about it was that, K sounded frighteningly similar to me, as the contents of the letter pointed out. In the letter, she acknowledged that she wasn’t working and had suddenly moved in with him, and had asked him several times it was okay. However, there was one key difference in our situation- she was apologizing for having a violent outburst towards him, which instigated his reason for breaking up with her. As I continued reading the letter, she said that she wasn’t upset when she told him that she loved him, and all he said was “Thank for saying that”.

However, she also revealed that she had met him on the same website I had met him on, which was a rude awakening to me, as C had previously insinuated he’d met her on Tinder. In addition to that, K said she knew he would move on quickly and “sleep with someone new within the week”. The letter was dated a couple of days before we watched Book of Mormon and slept together. I was horrified. After finishing reading the letter though, I deduced that they had broken up a few weeks prior, and that they met again in the last week of May to discuss the possibility of getting back together.

During this time, C and I were still trading texts, mostly just chatter. He asked what I was currently doing, and I replied that I just showered, and looked at something I shouldn’t have. He asked what it was, and if I had changed my mind about committing to him. I said the letter was a little concerning, but I wanted to ask him about it first. C then replied that he would answer my questions now, because he didn’t want it hanging over him all afternoon. I was lying in bed, half asleep, when I heard footsteps in the room.

I turned around, and he leaned over and kissed me, and I pulled him into bed, and ravished him. Afterward, he lay in bed, and we discussed the letter. He explained things rationally- the girl had thrown something at him during a fight, and he initiated the breakup, although she was reluctant to do so. He said he’d made his decision on the breakup in a couple of days after the fight (which took place in early May), but had given her the courtesy of thinking it over (which didn’t seem like a real courtesy to me, given he’d already made up his mind). I also pointed out the fact that he’d lied to me regarding the origin of where he’d met his last girlfriend. This was the only point at which C seemed to look uncomfortable. He said it wasn’t really a lie, since he never explicitly said that they met on Tinder, but said he didn’t remember what he’d said regarding how he met her, and thus, couldn’t be considered a lie. In regards to the “sleeping with someone new within a week”, he said the last girl had had jealous tendencies, and this was just a fear of hers, rather than the truth. After everything he’d told me regarding the letter, I decided to let it go, and he went back to work.

I spent that afternoon getting in and out of bed, and napping intermittently.

That night, I was half asleep, when I heard the front door open, and C come in. He entered the bedroom, and kissed my leg, hanging askew over the bed. He climbed into bed, in an amorous manner, and said, “I’m crazy about you. Do you know how sexy I find you?” He had had a bit to drink at a work dinner. I’d never heard him speak to me as he did that night.

I was still in a haze that night, and we had sex like crazy, then lay in bed talking afterwards. C asked me later, if I was in love with him. I replied, that I wasn’t sure yet, and C said something like, “Why did you come back here then? And why do you think I let you come back here? You won’t admit it, but you know that you are, and you know that I am.” He also asked if I wanted to come to Boston with him the following week, and I said of course. When he asked why, I said because I’d never been to Boston before. C replied, “Why can’t you say it’s because you want to spend every night with me?” In between kisses, he professed, “I really, really like you. Why didn’t you come back right away?”

Then later, we woke up in the middle of the night to fuck, and I thought I heard him say, “I love you”. I was, of course, delighted by his verbal affection towards me that night, so different to his usual brevity.

In the morning, I asked him if he remembered making such an admission to me. He looked mischievous, as he said he didn’t remember. I also told him again in the morning, that I was concerned about the contents of the letter, and C said, not in a reassuring manner, “Well you’d better be on your best behavior then.” After getting up, I was standing in the kitchen, preparing breakfast, when C and I were discussing relationships. I asked him, as a courtesy to me, if he would tell me immediately if he ever got bored with me, instead of beating around the bush and meeting other people, as he did in his last relationship. C asked, “What would you do if I did?”

“Leave,” I replied. C looked concerned, and said, “Wouldn’t you try to change?”

I can’t remember what my response was to this, but C soon said he was leaving to go to work, and then said, “See you later.” I must have looked funny as he said this, because his facial expression changed entirely, and he said, “or not”.

I kissed him goodbye when he left, and he immediately sent me the kissing face emoji as he’d left. Again, we exchanged texts throughout the day, but around 11am or 12pm, I decided this letter, and the article about his ex-girlfriend who committed suicide were just too much for me. I packed up my things and hopped in a cab back to my Brooklyn apartment. Meanwhile, C was still texting me, so I told him I was sorry, and that I left, which resulted in a text from him, saying: Sigh.

Once arriving home, I couldn’t stop going and back and forth over my decision though. I was also talking intermittently to Tech Guy that day, who was hoping for me to come back to him, and that I would leave C for good. I messaged C and talked to TG on the multiple times that day, all the while, going back on my decision to leave or stay with C about 3-4 times. It was the worst day I’d had since moving to New York, and I felt mentally ill.

In the end, I headed back to C’s in the afternoon, and dumped my things, then went to Fairway to calm my nerves and grocery shop. I began making a salad after getting back, and shortly after, C came home, looking relaxed and normal. I asked him if he wasn’t concerned at all about my constant vacillation that day, and he said something like, “You’re a woman. Women tend to change their minds a lot.”

However unconcerned he was with my vacillations that day, he showed less approval of my cooking skills. I’d made a kale, bell pepper, and tofu salad that evening, and as C ate it, he asked if I didn’t usually remove all the inside seeds from the bell pepper.

It was an uncomfortable night, and we ate dinner in near silence. C suggested that when he come home from work, I should greet him with a kiss, to make him feel more comfortable after a day of fickleness. After dinner, we began watching a movie only to both fall asleep in between.

The next day, was a regular day. I had decided to commit to C for good, and went about my usual daily activities. He’d told me in the morning, that he would be home slightly later that evening, due to a work dinner. When C came home that evening, he walked in the door, and said, “Oh, you’re here. I have to check every night, you know.”

Despite his initial joke, I thought that he was in an unusual mood, as he inspected the kitchen completely. He even looked in the dishwasher, and asked why I had used so much cutlery. That night, we were lying in bed, when C commented, out of the blue: “You did a poor job of housekeeping today.” Suddenly, his inspection of the kitchen seemed more clear to me. I paused, before replying in agitation, “I’ll do a better job next time!”

C sighed, and said, “I’m sorry. I had a long week at work. I know you’ll learn to be domesticated.” We were lying in bed as he said this, my head propped up on his chest. C continued, “Can I ask you for something?” I asked him what it was, and C replied, “I would like to do a threesome this weekend, either tomorrow, or perhaps Saturday. Do you think you can set something up?”

During the week, I had been diligently working on finding a unicorn for the both of us, but had met difficulty in receiving messages back from eligible single women. In fact, the hunt was proving more difficult than I’d previously expected. I told C this, and that it might take somewhat longer than he expected to find someone we both liked, and that it was likely improbable that I’d be able to set up a meeting with someone for a threesome by the next day, or the next two days. C replied, “Well, an initial meeting for drinks at least?” I said I’d do my very best, but went to sleep with nerves in my stomach.

The next morning, C woke me up by having sex with me before leaving for work. Shortly after that, I contacted TG, whom I’d secretly been in contact with the day prior, and planned to come back to. That day, C kept up his usual habit of texting me throughout the day. Around 3pm, he texted me asking how my class was, and I felt the utmost self loathing, as I replied to him, saying that I’d left again. C’s response was: What triggered it this time? In response, I told him that it was the same issue as previously, and that he’d spoken to me sternly the previous evening, but that I wished him every happiness. I didn’t get a response to this.

I returned home, somewhat dejectedly again, still questioning whether I’d made the right decision, and found TG sitting on my doorstep. The next day, we went upstate for the weekend, and had a terrible time together. By Sunday night, I’d made up my mind, that my life depended on getting C back.

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