Phone call received Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
"Hey." It's Memphis.
"Hey." I still haven't decided what to do about the Memphis situation. The couple of commenters who said to give him another shot seemed to stick with me.
"How was your day?"
I groaned, "Long. I am just now leaving the office." I switched on the windshield wipers. Everywhere else in the country gets snow. We get rain. Humbug.
"I was calling to see if you wanted to get together tonight," he offered.
"No." It came out loud and clear before I had a chance to filter it. "It's just it's been a long day and I'm pissed off from being at work so late, and I really just want to go home, relax and have some me time."
"Well that's the thing," he tried again. "I thought we could just hang out and open a bottle of wine."
"I really can't," I said again. "I have all of these knitting orders to fill before Christmas, so I really need to sit down tonight and work on them."
When my mother went through her second divorce, she found empowerment through reading the same self-help books my therapist had me read. They focused mainly on drawing boundaries and protecting yourself against abusive situations. After she read all of the same books I did, she then read every book on the subject.
"When men say no," she once told me, "It's the end of the conversation. When women say no, it's the beginning of a negotiation." For some reason, I remembered that line as I was driving home in the rain. I had said no clearly, stating that I wanted to be alone. It wasn't good enough for Memphis.
"I see," he said. "You don't have time for wine or me."
My stomach twisted. Negotiation. And now his tactic was to revert back to passive aggression. I also remembered the commenter who advised me to call him out on it.
"Um, there is nothing wrong with spending a night alone," I said slowly.
Memphis began stammering, clearly upset, "I, uh, I mean, I was just giving you a hard time."
I felt bad for making him so uncomfortable. It didn't even matter anymore that it began with him making me feel uncomfortable.
He quickly got off the phone with me. I felt like crap.