When Thanksgiving actually came around, I didn’t see or talk to Austin despite us being in the same city. I spent time with a man I was casually dating. Months passed and I distanced myself from Austin—the more time went on, I realized just how wrong he was for me, but I hadn’t had my moment of clarity just yet.
In early February, Austin told me he was coming to Baton Rouge on behalf of his job. They wanted him to represent their company at the LSU job fair. I thought it was cool that he would be in town, but a previous fight we’d had came to the surface—both times I’d been to Dallas, I paid for the flights by myself, which was fine, but I felt like he needed to visit Baton Rouge on his dime.
He said I was being petty, that he was coming in town to see me—but in reality, he was getting a free trip and he was coming in town to represent his job. Regardless, he asked if he could stay with me and I said it was okay. I was still bartending and had to work happy hour the day he flew in town. He made plans to meet me at the bar at 7p.m., and have a few drinks before I got off work.
That morning, I wasn’t excited to see Austin. I was worried I had made the wrong decision in agreeing to letting him stay at my house. I’d already slept with someone new, who I really liked, and I didn’t want to mess that up. I didn’t even know if I wanted to see Austin at all.
But I kept my word, decided to face my demons, and go to work. Before I knew it, 8 o’clock rolled around and no word from Austin. He was an hour late. I still had one more hour of work left, so I kept at it. But my mind started buzzing and before I knew it, my blood was boiling. This was a perfect example of everything our relationship had been since it’s beginning. Everything was always on Austin’s watch, no matter what. I was done. I was sick of being treated like shit, being second best to everything. I stared at the door, praying he wouldn’t arrive. When happy hour ended, I counted my drawer as fast as I could.
“On my way, don’t leave,” he texted.
Two hours late, and that’s what he had to say? I grabbed my purse, my coat, and ran to my car, hopped inside and sped home like a bat out of hell. He didn’t know where I lived, so once I pulled onto my street, I breathed a sigh of relief. I got inside my apartment, locked the doors, and sat in my bed laughing my ass off.
It was the greatest moment I’d felt in all of dating breakups. I’d finally felt the light switch. Austin called and texted me all night, to which I didn’t answer or respond. He was at the bar, with his suitcase, and nowhere to stay.
When my friends heard the story, they thought I was a little mean. But I didn’t care. Austin had treated me like shit for years and he finally got what was coming to him. With Austin, nothing I ever said resonated. So I had to show instead of tell. Keeping my mouth shut was the best thing I ever did for that relationship.
I didn’t talk to Austin for more than a year. One Sunday evening, he sent me a text message saying he wanted to talk. I was in love with someone else, doing great in my job, and had moved on. So, I agreed to talk to him.
We talked on the phone about our work and he asked me about my dating situation. I told him I was happy with someone new, and we’d been together for a year. Austin told me he just ended a six-month relationship with the woman he thought he was going to marry.
He told me this story, saying he went and dated a girl I told him to date—someone who didn’t cuss, was religious, didn’t drink, and wore clothes that covered her. They lived an hour away from each other, but spent every weekend together. Austin was ready to propose, so he took the last step—flying her to New Orleans to meet his family.
He was excited for her to see all of the things he loved about New Orleans: the food, the music, but most of all, the booze. But when the plane landed, she had other things in mind. She pulled out a list of antique stores and old plantation homes she wanted to visit. So that’s what they did. She even took Austin to get his photo taken, dressed in old clothing, her holding a parasol.
When it came time to visit Austin’s New Orleans, the French Quarter, she didn’t dance, she didn’t drink. Austin said he thought of me.
“We used to just laugh, Holly. We had fun. And she didn’t make me laugh,” he said.
Austin wanted a second chance. But I told him no, and offered him the best of luck finding someone just like me.