Lactose Intolerance


I’ve told you about some of my dates, which have caused me little heart-pain and resulted in a good story to tell at parties. But you should get prepared for this one. As I’m writing I am still living through the nightmare of Mr. Cheesy.

Let me take you back to the day before my birthday, when I went on a date with a guy who is definitely handsome (tall, dark, blue-eyed and bearded) but also not my usual type. I went to this early dinner without expectations and was swept away by the ease with which we talked to each other.

I’ll spare you the details, but let me say this date was perfection. We saw each other three more times that week. We couldn’t get enough of each other.

Christmas came and I left the country to celebrate with my family. Mr. Cheesy wrote me everyday, usually about how much he misses me and wants to be with me and how important I am to him. Mr. Cheesy wrapped his words in so much cheese, as he talked about our future together with such certainty.

It was intense, it was cheesy and most of all I gladly accepted the attention. Truth is I was excited to come back to Madrid and see where things would lead with him. Deep down I started to develop a feeling of ‘this might be it’.

On my return we spent a lot of time together, during which I fell harder and harder for Mr. Cheesy. We were glued together by the hip. Occasionally he would let his chaotic side take over, which caused a little drama, but I oversaw that tiny imperfection, knowing fair well that I’m flawed too. He made things official, I agreed. Things couldn’t have been any better until….

One dark morning (jk this is Madrid, it was sunny but I’d like to set the mood) he went cold turkey on me. His family came to visit, his aunt had cancer, his shoulder got injured, his father was in hospital, his boss got sick so he had to work extra hours. The universe was obviously punishing him and he decided to shut me out. I didn’t see him for two whole weeks, during which my thoughts drove me up the wall. What had I done to him? Why doesn’t he want to see me or talk to me, at all?

A few hurtful words were exchanged during these days and I chose to ignore my friend’s advice. Repeatedly she told me, “get rid of him! He’s not treating you right”. It was too late. I had fallen in love and wanted it to work out. I still felt that deep connection and wasn’t ready to let go just yet. Mr. Cheesy wasn’t cheesy anymore. He was distant and weird… Or had he just become lactose intolerant?

Monday came and we saw each other again after what seemed like a million years. The spark was back. I felt wholesome again and he reminded me why I stuck around. The short moment of bliss only lasted until the next day, when we made dinner plans. Conveniently he misunderstood my message, thought I wasn’t coming over, went to take-out the trash and bumped into a neighbour, who invited him to watch the soccer game next door while his phone was in his apartment, charging.

As I had not heard back from him, I assumed we were still meeting and made my way to his house. I rang the doorbell, called and texted multiple times before going back home, cold and disappointed. It was only the next morning when I got a rundown of the situation. A male friend later heard this story and immediately pronounced “he’s lying”…  was he?

“You owe me dinner tonight!”, I finally said after having calmed down the next day. I was still a little bit mad and wanted a chance to talk to him face-to-face. So, it’s Wednesday night and once again we have dinner plans. I have time, so I get ready, pick out a great outfit, do my make-up and even curl my hair. I knew he was working late, so as soon as he gave me the green-light I left my house and jumped onto the metro.

I was already in his part of town when my phone rang. “Are you hungry? I’m not. I’m not feeling well. I’m already in my tracksuit. Just want to go to bed. Only come if you want to” What does that mean?! Of course I want to! I’m 2 minutes away!

I thought the polite thing to do was to ask if I should turn around. I expected him to say no, as I was so close and looked so pretty. “Yes, that would be best” was his answer.

Fuck it. I look amazing. He should see how much effort I put into this. I stomped from the metro all the way to his house. I rang the door once… twice… a few too many times. No answer. Then I called once… twice… a few too many times. No answer. Finally one of those automated text messages you can send when ignoring a call pops up on my phone: “Can’t talk now”, and then his phone is off.

He’s not letting me up! Didn’t he just say he’s in this tracksuit, not feeling well and about to go to bed? He must be at home…

I send a couple of angry voice messages before I get back onto the metro to meet my friend over hot chocolate. Déjà Vu.

“This isn’t normal behaviour. I told you to get rid of him!” My friend is right. It’s not normal. What is he hiding? Why does he keep blowing me off like this? We brainstorm. An other girl? There was a tinder incident a couple of weeks ago and he had a rather sketchy explanation… Drug dealer? Alcoholic? Murderer? It could be anything.

“I bet his excuse will be dramatic and multifaceted”, my friend tells me. She’s curious to know what he will come up with this time. She doesn’t trust a single word that comes out of his mouth.

Now he’s online and heard my furious and emotional blabber… no response. Why does he keep disappearing into thin air? And more importantly, where does he go?

I barely slept that night. What had I missed? Where did Mr. Cheesy go all of a sudden? When together we joke, we talk, we understand each other. We are that disgustingly cute couple that everyone secretly wants to be. Yet, after we say our goodbyes things fall apart immediately. Can these two personalities really fit into that one person?

It’s noon the next day. I haven’t heard from him all morning. Suddenly I get a message from Mr. Cheesy’s phone. It’s his brother explaining that Mr. Cheesy had a car accident last night and is in the hospital. He’s fine though, he only bumped his head a bit, and is already joking around (then why isn’t HE writing me?).

I asked if I can come see him. “No” was the answer, “he is in ICU until tomorrow and only one family member is allowed to see him, which of course will be his mother”

ICU? Why is he in intensive care if he only bumped his head? I felt guilty about the messages. Then, I got a flash back. Didn’t he say he changed into his tracksuit? Wasn’t he already at home? I looked at the timing of our messages. Something’s off.

Call me crazy, but I had a bad feeling. What if his brother didn’t write that message? “He’s a psycho”, my friend’s words rang in my ears.

I immediately call the hospital where he’s supposed to be recovering. The nurse explains that there’s no patient with said name currently admitted. Gasp. Multifaceted excuse.

That night I pestered the brother on Mr. Cheesy phone so long until he gave me the room number, 110. He told me I could come visit the following day, as he would be out of ICU. Jeez, a room number…

His brother reassured me that Mr. Cheesy will give me a call later, as he’ll get his phone back soon. “From what I know you guys are really close”. That call never came.

I made my way to the hospital, shaking with confusion and worry. As I entered the building I looked for the room numbers. Wait, these numbers are in the thousands. I check the message again. It says 110 right here. I ask at reception for his room, and the nurse tells me once again that there is no patient with said name currently admitted.

My insides start burning. What is happening? I write to his phone asking for the room number, and call twice. Finally, Mr. Cheesy answers “I understand why you were mad, I’m fine. I don’t want to see you. Respect that” But I’m here now! He doesn’t care, he tells me to go away.

I came all the way to the hospital, worried sick and confused as hell. He knew I was there and refused to see me anyway. Wouldn’t you appreciate it, if someone made the effort to visit you? Unless you’re not actually in hospital I guess.

Thoughts keep circling my mind. Is he there under an other name? But how would that be possible?  Do I not know his real name? Who is he? And if he’s not there, why the elaborate lie?

All I could do was leave. I made my way to work, heartbroken. I thought back to the last time I saw him. The way he looked at me, hugged me, with what I thought was love. It now scares me that it must have all been untrue. My stomach churns at the thought of him looking me in the eye and telling me how much I mean to him.

I feel sick as I fail at trying to concentrate on anything but him. I breakout in a light sweat. Is he really hiding something dark and big from me? The sickening feeling takes up my entire body. This must be what lactose intolerance feels like.




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