Episode VI: Wasting Idle Days

Last year, I moved into my own apartment for the first time in my life. For the prior five years, I had lived with The Ex, and after our break-up I temporarily lived on my family’s couch, or in my friend Jessica’s bed. Moving into my own place was a challenge. The rent was steep, but I had hoped that the independence would make me feel strong and confident. I also thought that a long way down the road, I would have a partner to share the place with, as the space was far larger than I could occupy on my own.  

Less than a month into my stay, I had begun an “online relationship” with a man I met after we mutually followed each other’s Tumblr blogs. In hindsight, the logistics are so temperamental that I have no clue how I didn’t see it ending the way it did. Let’s do that run down, shall we? We had never met in person before we decided we were in a “relationship”, used the term “boyfriend”, and eventually, the phrase “I love you.” Is it possible to love someone you have never held, touched, or even seen in front of you? I thought so at the time. I had blind faith, and reprimanded anyone who insulted my decision.  

Derrick was a 21 year-old fresh grad from the University of Sydney, Australia. He had never been to North America, but a few weeks into our ‘relationship’, it was decided that he was going to come to Vancouver to live with me. It sounds absolutely bat shit crazy, but I honest to god thought this was completely normal at the time.  

Days, weeks, and months went by – and I have no clue how my friends dealt with my emotional rollercoaster during that time in my life. If days went by where he wouldn’t text message or email me, I would completely shut down or flare up, and my army of colleagues would incessantly reassure me, telling me “He’s coming in only four months.” Despite mini arguments, we would make it work from so far away. As ‘taboo’ as online dating was, this was pretty G rated. I liked that we hadn’t met on a ‘sleazy’ site.  

Everyone had their doubts, but he bought his ticket, and I counted down the days from March to his expected arrival date in mid-September.  

Suddenly, everything in my life was centered on Derrick and his arrival. I had my lease in the building put into both of our names. My friend whose wedding was a week after his arrival addressed my invitation to both of us. I booked a week off of work following the day he was set to arrive. All my friends, family members, co-workers, and colleagues knew about my ‘relationship.’ In situations where men would approach me for dates, I would use the “I’m taken” line with pure pride.    

Less than two weeks before he was expected to arrive, he informed me that he had slept with another guy. At this news, my heart dropped in my chest. In the eight months leading up to this, I hadn’t so much as glanced at another guy. We argued but got over it, then two days later he told me that he wasn’t going to come anymore. Things got hostile between us, and we spent an evening telling each other things we hated about each other, which just added insult to injury. He told me the following week that he was still going to come to Canada, and was going to have a great time, and live it up being a “big giant slut” (his words, not mine), just to get me “riled up.”  

Out of pure exhaustion, I decided to walk away from Derrick even on a conversational level. Had he ever bought a ticket in the first place? I have no clue. Did he end up coming to Canada? Not to my knowledge. And, back to the question: Is it possible to love someone you’ve never met? I sure don’t think so, but it’s definitely possible to have a major disdain for them.

// JJ Brewis

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