Selfish woman abruptly leaves when date arrives late after learning his son is missing

Tracey Folly

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

My coworker and I had been flirting for months. It was a flirtation made more complicated by the fact that I was already dating someone, and he had a crush on another coworker. I have no idea what we thought we were doing.

When he finally asked me out to dinner, I agreed. We set up a time and a place to meet, and I was anxious as I waited for the appointed time to arrive.

As usual, I was early. I am always early. Painfully early. Arriving early to everything makes people who arrive on time seem inexcusably late.

My date was late.

As soon as our arranged time came and went, I drove away from the restaurant that was supposed to be the site of our first date. Truth be told, I was rather relieved.

Later, I learned that we had missed each other by no more than five minutes, and the only reason he was late was that his ten-year-old son was missing. Instead of getting off the school bus in front of his house, the boy had taken the bus an extra stop to his friend's house.

By the time my coworker/date panicked, ran around the neighborhood, and located his son a few houses away, he was running late.

My coworker must have been frantic, but at the moment I was being self-absorbed and selfish. I recognize that now, years later.

When he finally got to the restaurant, no one was there. Feeling frustrated and embarrassed with himself, he called me and left an apologetic voicemail explaining what had happened, but I had already gone home by then. As a result, our first date never took place.

When I heard about why he was late, my relief morphed into guilt. He had been dealing with a whole other level of stress, and all I felt was gratitude that this awkward situation had been avoided.

He asked his son to pen me a handwritten letter apologizing for making his father late for our dinner. I accepted the letter and the apology, but not another date.

Naturally, our flirtation fizzled out after that. I think we both realized that it would be wrong to pursue something any further given the circumstances.

Despite this, I continue to think fondly of my coworker. It's been a few years since that day and I still think about our conversations, the potential we had as a couple, and what could have been. I'm sure my coworker doesn't even remember me, or our brief moment together. That's okay, too.

What would you have done? 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. 100% of your tip or donation goes toward paying for my dad's groceries. Thank you.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

Massachusetts State

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