Man gets sick at lunch, gets angry when dining companion excuses herself: 'You should have stayed to help me clean up'

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

I went back to college at the age of thirty, significantly older than many of my classmates. Due to my advanced age, social anxiety, and a lifelong lack of confidence, I had a hard time making friends.

However, I did strike up a fast friendship with a fellow student after he fell asleep on the first day of my anthropology class. Despite his loud and disruptive snoring, the professor refused to allow any of us to wake him.

Once the class was over, I gently woke my sleeping classmate and asked him if he wanted to accompany me to the cafeteria for lunch. It wasn't a meet-cute. I had zero percent romantic interest in him, and I had a boyfriend at home. It just seemed like a rare opportunity to make a new friend, and I took it.

From that day forward, we ate lunch together in the cafeteria whenever we were both on campus. It became our little ritual.

Then one day, disaster struck. After a hearty lunch of burgers, fries, and a 20-ounce bottle of Coke, my dining companion laughed too hard and something I said and regurgitated his entire lunch onto the table.

It was a mess that I won't describe further except to say I wanted no part of it.

"Well, I have to get to class," I announced as I pushed myself away from the table. "Bye now."

I walked away without a single backward glance.

The following day, I was prepared to have lunch together in the cafeteria, albeit at a different table, and pretend nothing had happened.

He had other ideas.

"About yesterday," he began. "You should have stayed to help me clean up."

"I had to get to class," I said.

"You left me all by myself," he continued. "It was a mess."

Yeah, I thought, it was your mess. What was this guy trying to say?

"You should have stayed to help me clean up," he repeated. "I can't believe you just left me here."

I didn't really know how to respond. If he had asked for an apology, I may have given him one, an insincere one. But apologizing didn't cross my mind because I didn't believe I had done anything wrong.

Did I?

Surely, he didn't really expect me to clean up his mess. Then there would have been two sick college students in the cafeteria instead of just one.

Fortunately for him, a young lady at a nearby table had spotted him in his distress, and she had assisted him. That was incredibly kind of her.

After everything was cleaned up, he asked her on a date to the mall. She accepted and then stood him up.

He never saw her on campus again. You can draw your own conclusions from that.

What would you have done when faced with a situation like that? Would you have fled the cafeteria as I did? Or would you have stayed to help clean up? Comments are welcome.

Why would you want to Buy Me a Coffee? I am a full-time writer and a full-time unpaid caregiver to my 82-year-old father, who lives with Parkinson's. Your tip or donation allows me to provide his care and comfort around the clock while working from home. Thank you.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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