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Inside The Single Life:

Disappointment Deferred

Keri – “It was 9:00 at night, and I had not heard a word.  I had been waiting since 6:00 for my boyfriend to pick me up, but he hadn’t even called.  This was not the first time.  I had been dating him for over a year, and he had stood me up too often to count.  But on this night, his disregard for me suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks, because it was my birthday.

I peeked through the blinds again to see if he had pulled up outside, but the street was deserted.  I watched intently for the lights of a car to appear, and when one did, my heart would jump with anticipation and excitement until the car passed, and it wasn’t him.

He doesn’t care…he doesn’t care about you.  He doesn’t respect you.  Those words kept ringing in my head over and over again, as I began to sob loudly.

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.  My heart leaped.  It was him.  I dried my tears, assumed a mad look, and opened the door wide with my hand on my hip.  But it wasn’t him.  It was my neighbor from across the hall, and he was standing there holding an apple pie with a burning candle sitting in the middle of it.  He was grinning from ear to ear.  “Happy Belated Birthday!” he exclaimed.  “I saw your car outside, and I guessed you were home, so I wanted to drop this off to you since I missed your big day yesterday!”

I was speechless, as I reached for the pie.  I stood there wavering between disappointment and gratitude, and suddenly I began to cry uncontrollably.  There stood my neighbor, a nice guy, who I knew was interested in me, being more mindful of me than my own boyfriend, even though he had the wrong date.

I had always ignored his hints of interest because I didn’t find him attractive.  But when he pulled me into his arms in an effort to comfort me, I suddenly felt cocooned in the warmth of affection, and it felt good. When I finally stopped crying, I thanked him for the pie and moved quickly out of his grasp.  My phone began to ring, and I looked at my watch.  It was nine-thirty.  I knew it was my boyfriend calling with some excuse.  I decided to ignore the phone and invite my neighbor in to share the pie.  We ended up talking all night, with my phone ringing in the background.

When he got ready to leave, he confessed that he had known all along the exact day of my birthday and that he decided to bring the pie over after he came home from work and heard me crying.  It turned out that he had actually bought the pie for himself.  As I listened to him, the kindness in his eyes and the generosity of his act suddenly made him very appealing, and when I closed the door behind him, I was grateful for his actions.

The next day he invited me out to dinner, and I accepted. I viewed it as a possible new beginning for me since I had ended my relationship with my boyfriend that very morning.  We went out that Friday night and had a great time.  However, he never asked me out again, and though my ego was bruised a bit by his sudden lack of interest, I never approached him about it.  When I run into him, he speaks in his usual friendly manner and acts if we’ve never spent time together.  But I’ll never forget his kindness and the comfort of his gesture.

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