It is the deepest silence in the world: the deafening silence of the telephone that doesn’t ring. And now in this social-media-stuffed world there are so many ways for him not to contact you. The text message that doesn’t ping, the tinder message that doesn’t glow red, the Facebook message that doesn’t bulge in your box. And now the Tango message that doesn’t streak across your screen.
My only contact on Tango, pretty much, is the Iceman. No message from him since last Wednesday. He said he was going to be in Milton Keynes doing an audit of a company over the weekend. When MadFatRunner asked where he was, I said “MK”, hoping she’d think it was somewhere in a jungle with no phone signal, or even just abroad – Mombasa, Kenya say. Is Mombasa in Kenya (check).
He could send a text message, I think on Monday evening as I travel to meet Hannah in West Hampstead for dinner. She’s one of my best chums and I haven’t seen her for about a month, due to my packed dating and watching-sport-on-my-television schedule.
Ok, I send him a message, I decide. Clicking on our tango chat, my phone screen floods with orange.
“How was weekend? Hope all is going well xxx” I write. There: completely innocuous. Not stalkery at all.
I’m early at the Mexican restaurant where we’re meeting so I read my book (The Wrong Knickers, Bryony Gordon’s memoir of her wild single twenties, excellent). I have to make sure that any book I write based on this blog doesn’t overlap with her one too much. There are similarities, a lot of similarities, so I must make sure not to cover all the same ground as her.
Now I can see that the Iceman has read my message, it sends “read 7.15” under the message and has a tick too. He’s read it, but he hasn’t replied. Maybe if I write another one he’ll see I’m online and reply, I decide.
“Just waiting to meet my friend for dinner. Sitting outside” I write and press send.
“Hi darling,” Hannah says as we embrace each other. She has a Proper Job and is wearing a navy dress and a cream jacket and looks every inch the career woman.
“Wow, gorgeous dress, you look amazing,” I say.
“I love that dress,” Hannah says and suddenly I realise that I wore this dress the last time we met – red cotton jersey, covered in black and grey squiggles. I have a wardrobe full of dresses but I recycle the same three or four for the office. As I make a mental note to make more effort with varying my outfits, we move inside.
Inside the restaurant is a riot of colour – pink, turquoise, green, orange – and the walls are plastered with Frida Kahlo posters – it’s a Mexican restaurant obviously and the downstairs bar is called Frida’s.
“Stop checking your phone every minute,” Hannah says.
“Sorry. The Iceman hasn’t been in touch since last Wednesday and it’s now Monday and I sent a message, two messages, earlier this evening and…”
“Put your phone away,” Hannah says. “Now which three salsas do we want with our tortilla chips?”
“Pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa verde,” I say, switching my phone off – actually pressing the off button. Take that, Iceman.
“Look who it is outside,” Hannah whispers. There is an old schoolmate of mine who deleted me from Facebook, the evil bitch.
“She deleted me from Facebook for no reason,” I whisper back. If she looks over she’ll know that we’re talking about her.
“Weirdly I bumped into her on Oxford Street earlier,” Hannah says.
“That’s so freaky.”
Eventually Evil Bitch wanders off.
The burritos arrive. We have a lovely evening. As usual I resolve to make a bit more time for catching up with my friends.
When I wake up on Tuesday, there’s still no message from the Iceman. Maybe he’s met someone else in Milton Keynes, I think, feeling sad. The day passes. Still no message. Finally, about 9.30pm I send another one:
Me: I would like a message please. Just “hello” or something 🙂
Iceman: Hi, sorry, been super busy. How are you? Am actually working now…
Me: Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to disturb you when you’re working. Work!
Iceman: Good, and you? How was weekend?
Me: Good. Met the siblings of my kitten
*sends kitten photo. Not one including Seb, obviously*
Me: am ok anyway
Iceman: I want to see you. Soon
So that’s where things are with the Iceman. He hasn’t forgotten me, but still no date arranged…