A Certain Type of Woman

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tragi-comedy of errors, bad-timing and male/female conflict in a relationship breakdown.

Submitted: July 02, 2008

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Submitted: July 02, 2008

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I met her in a caf where she was working as a waitress. I go to the cafevery Saturday for bacon and eggs and coffee, and have for years. She wasn’t a waitress by choice, being interested in finance, but did odd jobs while looking for something regular. She started working there and over time we chatted; I liked her, and she liked me. She always smiled when she saw me, was nice to me, I smiled at her, and we got on well. She seemed intelligent and charming, a bit reserved. Physically quite attractive, slim and agile. Trying to talk to her for any length of time was difficult as she was always on the go; she never stopped moving. I kept looking for an opportunity to ask her out, and one day met her in the street as she was walking home after her shift. We talked briefly about where I lived and my going to the caf and smiled and laughed. I asked her out, and we agreed to meet the next day when she finished work at 12pm.

I was later than I wanted to be, but I got there around 11.45am. I was surprised to find that she wasn’t there. I asked some of the other waitresses, who said that she left around 11am. There was no message. I didn’t know what could have happened – maybe she got cold feet, changed her mind, there was some emergency, she wasn’t feeling well, or who knows. It seemed strange to stand-up someone on a first date. Anyway, I found what happened a few days later when I saw her again. She said sorry, that she got a call from another job where she worked, and she had to go and help out. She said some Saturday should be ok, and we left it at that.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this disappearance of hers was a warning to me of things to come. I didn’t heed it though.

Unfortunately it took me some time before I thought of asking her out again. I was miffed at her for breaking our date, which was part of it, but other things got in the way. In fact, I was on (medical) drugs for a few months, and a bit spaced out a lot of the time. I should have told her what was happening or done something, but I didn’t. I didn’t care all that much, and probably looked it, although I did say “hi’ to her when I saw her. Anyway, time went by, and she waited for me to ask her out again, and smiled at me when I saw her in the caf but due to my inaction and seeming disinterest became despondent and we didn’t talk. I really regret it, because I hurt her, and didn’t notice.

Eventually I came off the drugs and took stock of things and realized that I had to tell her what happened and ask her out again. I had been going to the cafas usual but for the last couple of weeks she hadn’t been there, so I waited to see her again. Gradually as the weeks went by it dawned on me that she wasn’t working there anymore. Sometimes she worked different shifts, so I would look in at other days and times to see if she was around. We live in the same area and both use the local shopping centre, so I would find an excuse to hang around there in the hope that we might meet up. But, you have no idea how unlikely it is to just come across someone by chance, just at a certain place at a certain time.

Amazingly, though, I did see her by chance when I wasn’t actually looking. I had just been to the bank, was walking up the street, and I saw her walking into the cafa few yards ahead of me. She didn’t see me though, and I kept walking past. I heard the greetings – “Hey! How are you! Long time no see! etc.” It had been three months (she was working elsewhere during that time). Knowing she was back, I thought, “Great, I’ll catch her next week” although I wasn’t sure what kind of a reception I’d get. So I showed up and she was, how shall I say, overreacting, saying “I haven’t seen you for ages! Would like a coffee! Would you like bacon and eggs …”. Other people I knew were saying “Look who’s here! Your favorite coffee maker …”. I came in and had a coffee, hoping to say something apologetic, and I asked when she’d be working, but by then she was smiling and talking through gritted teeth. I had the coffee and left.

I tried talking to her over the coming weeks but my failing was that I was just too embarrassed to tell her what happened while standing in a noisy room full of people; I had to see her away from there. But there was always a reason why she couldn’t see me, because she was too busy, she had to work, she had friends coming, whatever. She was hurt and mad at me, I knew that. The evidence: sniffing at me and turning away when I looked at her and tried to make contact, looking at me sullenly; I go up to the counter to pay and she sticks out her hand while looking at the corner of the ceiling! This reminded me so much of a child in a huff. Then, one day her attitude changed. I saw her wearing a ring, looking quite casual and pleased with herself. The next time I tried to talk to her, I got the usual evasion and a surprise: “I’ve already got a boyfriend”, she says.

I gave up then, and more months went by, with pleasantries exchanged on both sides. I knew nothing about this boyfriend but I believe she certainly did have one, and I saw her telling everyone else about him and how much fun it was. I still hadn’t told her what happened with me, and I really did want to try and put things right. Time rolled on and things developed. One day, she came up to me at my table as I was eating, and I asked how she was. Her mouth moved but nothing came out, until she just said “Busy”, and walked away. She wasn’t mad or acting haughty, I believe she wanted to say something but couldn’t. Maybe it was about her boyfriend, because the relationship ended, as I suspected it would. I didn’t know about this for a while because no-one explicitly ever told me. I had hints though.

All the time that I knew her, people had been trying to match-make us. This stopped during the “boyfriend phase” but then it started again. I got the hint that a boyfriend was no longer in the picture, and maybe I should try again. Hints like talking about her and how lovely she was or calling her my girlfriend in semi-serious jest. I never should have listened to this, but I don’t blame them because they didn’t know what happened in the past. They may have felt a little sorry for her. Anyway I asked her again, and it was the same again – the usual reasons not to. She had a new job during the week and was studying at night. Always work, work, work, busy, busy, busy, whether somewhere else or at the caf She was a workaholic, although whether it was just the work, or the constant movement, is another matter.

Determined to tell her what actually happened to me, if nothing else, I did something that I swear I’ll never do, and wrote her a note. I don’t like notes because it’s not as personal as face-to-face, and they can be left unread. In the note I finally explained why I didn’t ask her out again after we had our missed first date. I know she read it because I asked her if it was ok, what I’d said, and she said of course. Later that day I was able to get to speak to her while she had a break. I corralled her at the table where she always sat, and where I knew I could get her attention. She said she couldn’t understand why I’d said sorry for anything. I said I was sorry that I’d hurt her, and she brushed this off with, “no, you didn’t hurt me at all”. She didn’t seem to have any awareness of, or connection to, what had happened, and said I’d done nothing wrong. This surprised me and disappointed me, because it seemed a bit dim-witted, which didn’t make sense as I knew she had intelligence. I kept up the chat and said I wanted to see her but she wasn’t that talkative. I asked for her phone number and she said I could have her work number, which I stupidly didn’t take because I didn’t really want to ring her at work. She said it didn’t matter anyway because she’d be at the cafand I’d see her there.

Things seemed to be better then and we talked like we used to, only briefly but in good-humor as I went in and out or sat at my table. The only reason for her not seeing me seemed to be a lack of time, as usual. Looking back I see this was all just pleasantries while a storm was brewing underneath, but I took it to mean maybe this match-making encouragement I’d been getting had some substance to it.

But, things went downhill. She went away for several weeks, and something had changed when she got back. I found her having her break in a seated area outside, with no-one else around, not at the usual table. As soon as she saw me the look on her face was saying she wished I hadn’t. I wasn’t looking for her, but heading home. Afterwards I wondered if she was sitting out there to avoid any little chat with me. I asked if she had any free time now, and the response was scornful. She just hadn’t been coping. I asked her if she didn’t like me anymore, my intention being to say: “that’s ok, I’ll give up, otherwise is there something we can work out”. She was getting annoyed and panicky and defensive now, the way women get when someone is bugging them whom they just wish they could get rid of. I wasn’t ready for this though, because I thought things were ok between us, at least so she could tell me if I was a nuisance. Apparently not though. The reason for her refusals, she said, was because she had been married for the last seven years, and she had a husband who she was living with. Bullshit, of course. One thing I’ve learned is that under duress she’ll say any rubbish that she thinks will be useful. And if it were true, she had cheated on her husband with the boyfriend and could do just the same with me. I told her I was surprised at this revelation and I was sure that in the past she wanted me to ask her out. She flatly denied this, saying that was never the case, and I just mistakenly thought it was.

It made me wonder why I ever bothered. Why did I? Because we liked each other in the beginning, I was guilty about my behavior towards her, there was no-one else, others thought it worth match-making us.

My first thought after that meeting was: “You’re insane”. I now realize that she is an example of a certain type of woman that I know exists, and have met in the past. I should have seen it earlier and had the wisdom to avoid her. These women are smart, charming and attractive, but emotionally immature, because they have used their gifts to get through life and avoid growing up. They remain partly little girls, and when things get serious, they don’t know how to deal with it. They can be lovely, but it’s like a child giving hugs. When the pressure is on, they become temperamental, the immaturity starts showing, the defenses go up, and the avoidance mechanisms begin. I know one of these women who is now 47 years old, and has never had a boyfriend, but still thinks she’ll get one. They are devoid of any understanding of themselves and that they are not everything already, that they failed to develop in certain ways. They think they are a bit special, and are childish “know-alls” as well, which is a big obstacle to them accepting the need to be more than they are. They are ignorant of what their emotions are, how their emotions move them, of their irrationality, rationalizations, inconsistencies and contradictions, and can never be in a close relationship because all of this would be discovered and challenged by their partner. The individual characteristic of this woman was the emphasis on movement, distraction, mindless activity. With another that I met, it was tom-boyishness. They are individuals, but still I think they have certain key traits in common.

The day she stood me up was the message I should have heeded. Since her whole life revolves around her and her work and routine and distractions, I can’t see how she could pay attention to anyone else, let alone care about them or give up any part of her life for them. Probably she’ll just keep repeating the same behaviors for the rest of her life, until, or if, she ever wakes up.


© Copyright 2017 Chauncey Gardiner. All rights reserved.

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