Today’s second post is the first of a multi-part story. Both the story and the author are called simply Anonymous, for reasons that will eventually be made clear.
“Names, dates and places in this post have been changed in order to maintain anonymity. In real life, “Emily” is a rather well-known blogger and media personality. I promised her I would never post anything about her online in a way that could be traced back to her.
I originally wrote this while waiting for the airplane from Seattle back to Austin. I had hoped that writing it out would help me calm down. It did not work. It made me sadder. I’d hoped to wring out some of the pathos, but I see now that I was only reliving it, and realizing what I was losing forever.
I have since added and amplified a few things. I originally stopped writing it after 3-4 paragraphs. After getting on the plane I suffered a low-level panic attack for the next 4 hours.
I am experiencing emotional pain like none I have ever felt before. All because of a woman I have seen just three times in person. Today is Saturday, February 21, 2009. I am in Seattle. I was due to fly back to Austin at 5 pm today. But last night I could not sleep and came to think that if I stayed in Seattle, I may not survive long enough to get home. So I showered, packed and went to the airport at 5 am, then paid $199 to change my flight from 5 pm to 6:40 am. I never spend that kind of money trivially, but today it felt like a no-brainer.
The proximate cause of all this angst is Emily. Or rather, my obsession with her. She stayed with me Wednesday night and Thursday night. During that time she made it clear we could not continue with a long distance relationship. Which I agree with. Except that I can’t stand it. Early Friday morning, after a night of great sex and affection, I realized I would probably never see her again. So I started a series of crying jags. I would go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet, then put a hand towel over my face and weep. I was powerless.
Later that morning, after Emily woke up, I told her she should probably leave immediately. At first she didn’t believe me. She talked me into going downstairs with her for breakfast. As we sat and had coffee, I occasionally choked back tears. She could see I was in pain and tried to be sympathetic, but I think she mostly just thought I was nuts. (In fact, later we joked that it turned out I was the real psycho in the relationship, not her, as my friends predicted when we met.) We went back up to the room, and I told here that she really should go. As she walked out the door I said: “I love you.” She said “Thanks.” And I lay down in the bed to try to cry away the pain.
Over the next hour I lie there and let out heaving, scream-like gasps. Eventually I fell asleep and drifted in and out of sleep for an hour or two. I woke up feeling like a dishrag, but also like the worst was over. I went to the fitness center and got on the elliptical trainer.
Then Emily called. She asked how I was doing. I told her I was fine, sort of, and she revealed that she’d spent the last few hours in the hotel lobby working on her blog. Makes perfect sense. I suffer an emotional breakdown, she writes.
But that’s not what I was thinking then. I was thinking that maybe the worst was over. I had researched flights to her hometown of Nashville and come to the conclusion that traveling to see her would be almost impossible because of the way the schedules worked. I told her this. She noted that whenever she travels to conferences she always has to book an extra night at the hotel because of screwy Nashville flight schedules.
So then what happened? I was supposed to call an old friend/investor after lunch, which I did. He was tied up in a meeting and told me he would call later. I decided to get something to eat. I didn’t really have an appetite but knew I should eat something. I grabbed a couple of magazines to keep me company, then walked around downtown. I thought I’d eat at Flying Fish, since I ate there a lot when I lived in Seattle, but it was crowded and I didn’t want to deal with people. So I walked a couple blocks to the McDonald’s. Had a Big Mac value meal. I posted this on Twitter:
“Seattle is a great food city. So why the hell am I at McDonalds?””
Tags: anonymous, research