A Woman Whose Hookup Never Texts Back


Photo-Illustration: Marylu Herrera

In this week’s story, a woman has mixed feelings about a man she only sees in the middle of the night: 31, single, Chicago.


10 a.m. Sunlight is streaming through my curtains but I’m going to sleep a bit more. I’m a bartender — I keep late hours and have my fun afterward.

11 a.m. Take my dog out for a walk along the lakefront. He’s a corgi and really hyper. He makes a new friend of the neighbor’s poodle as we ride down the apartment elevator together.

4 p.m. Off to work. I moved to Chicago just a year ago from Florida. I worked my way up from being a barista at a random place to a rooftop bartender at a luxury hotel. I’m getting a taste of living the high life, literally. It feels like a dream.

9 p.m. At work. Luckily, the roof has heaters, and the view is amazing — skyscrapers light up the sky; the streets below are busy with people and cars.

3 a.m. Home and ready for my own night to begin. N and I have been seeing each other for months now, always late at night. We met through a dating app. Our first date we got drinks at a bar, and I was charmed by his good looks and how easy it was to talk with him. After a couple beers, I decided it was fine if he came over. Before I knew it, I was on my knees sucking him off. Then I had the best sex of my life: He was dominant, attentive, and amazing at going down on me. Afterward, he just left. No strings attached.

4 a.m. At N’s place — he keeps a sack of sex toys under his bed. Before him, my sex was very vanilla. It was nice, but N’s chokers, chains, plugs, and vibrators are opening a whole new world for me.

4:30 a.m. N takes a gag from the sack and fastens it around my mouth. The round, red ball muffles my moans as he thrusts in and out of me from behind. We change positions so that he can be on top of me. Afterward, he leaves a trail of kisses down my right calf. It’s sweet and I start to long for something more emotionally intimate with him.

5 a.m. I lie awake, listening to the sound of N’s breathing. He’s fast asleep. I look at his face — it’s so handsome and peaceful. I get into a more comfortable position, and he pulls me closer to him. I drift off to sleep …


9 a.m. Wake up and sneak out back to my place.

10 a.m. It’s my birthday! I’m not very excited, mostly because I’m turning 31 this year. I loved being 30 and it may have actually been the best year of my life — I moved to a big city, met so many new people, including N. Still, I wake up feeling a little scared. Despite all of these accomplishments, I don’t feel like I have it all together.

10:15 a.m. Slightly depressed that I didn’t plan anything for my birthday.

12 p.m. A few birthday wishes trickle in. I wonder if N will remember. We’d definitely talked about it. Or maybe he didn’t forget and just doesn’t want to wish me a happy birthday? I’m probably overthinking things and he’ll wish me later …

3:50 p.m. I run into my co-worker L in the hallway outside the bar. He wishes me a happy birthday. I’m happy he remembered.

11 p.m. One of the servers, G, suggests we grab a drink after work. I tell her yes, because it’s my birthday, after all. “It’s your birthday?” she squeals. “We have to do something!”

1:16 a.m. Drinking with G. Macallan on the rocks. A couple of tequila shots. I’m tipsy!

2 a.m. I get home and I text N to see if he’s awake and wants to meet up.

2:30 a.m. No reply. Time for bed. I hate birthdays.


9 a.m. I wake up, still no message from N. He rarely texts me. He also works in the service industry, as a server, and often works late. When I do hear from him, it’s usually in the middle of the night, after he’s already had a few drinks after work. I used to try to text him during the day, but he was usually unresponsive. It discouraged me from wanting to text him outside of arranging to meet for sex, so I stopped.

11:15 a.m. Still feeling sad about my birthday. Next year, I’ll do something special for myself to make up for it.

5 p.m. I honestly can’t believe N forgot my birthday.  For his birthday, a few weeks ago, I made sure to text him “Happy Birthday!” first thing in the morning. Then I put on a lacy, black bodysuit under my dress when I showed up to his apartment in the evening. I even bought him a customized whiskey glass from Etsy.

7 p.m. At work, again.

11:30 p.m. I get a drink with another work friend who knows it’s my birthday week. It’s short and sweet.


9:50 a.m. I wake up, hoping that I got a text from N while I was asleep. I check my phone, but there’s nothing.

10:14 a.m. A ding! I rush to my cell phone, but it’s just my dad. He’s painting the living room and sends me a selfie holding the paint roller. “Cool,” I write back.

1 p.m. It’s my day off today so I spend time catching up on podcasts while riding the bus to do a few errands.

2 p.m. Walk the dog. Still nothing from N.

4 p.m. Try to work on writing some stories and poetry but I’m distracted and after a while I give it up.

2 a.m. Finally a text from N! He asks if I would like to come over. I say yes, and start to get ready.

3 a.m. At his house. I don’t mention the birthday thing. I’m just happy to be with him. We don’t have sex tonight, just cuddle — he holds me tight as we lie in bed, and I wrap my arms around his torso. We fall fast asleep.


2 p.m. We’re just waking up. It’s time for us to go about our days. We start getting dressed and I ask him, casually, if he’s seeing anyone else. We’re not exclusive, but I feel like I have the right to ask.

N avoids eye contact with me and scrolls on his phone. “I’m not,” he says, “I don’t have time to see anyone else.”

3 p.m. Headed back home — as I lean in to kiss him good-bye, he mentions that we should spend a day together, instead of just late-night hookups. It catches me off guard, but I smile and say we should hang out next week.

6 p.m. I feel elated all day with thoughts of N. I go to work and ride the bus there, listening to music that enhances my mood.

7 p.m. Work is slow today; I make drinks, chat with customers, and enjoy the view.

1 a.m. I’m still feeling good when I go to sleep.


9 a.m. Roll out of bed to walk the dog.

9:45 a.m. I love my dog, but I get so frustrated with him because he just sits down and refuses to budge when I try to take him home.

12:07 p.m. I finally manage to drag/carry him home. I make myself a quick lunch with what I have in the fridge before getting ready for work.

1:00 p.m. At my shift. It’s quiet again, so I spend time cutting up some limes.

5:30 p.m. My colleague L comes up from the bar downstairs to visit us on the rooftop. He looks very dapper in his white shirt and black slacks. I tell him so.

11:55 p.m. Back home. I’m sitting on the couch with my dog and scrolling Instagram when I click into N’s Story. It’s a photo of a plate of home-cooked food. “Thanks!” is written across the photo, and tagged is someone’s Instagram handle.

I click on the handle. It’s some girl. I go into detective mode, snooping her Instagram. She looks a bit similar to me — short hair, tattoos. She even has a corgi, just like me.

11:59 p.m. Try to go to bed and not think about this development. I resolve to check N’s Story tomorrow to see if there are any more references to this other woman.

1:45 a.m. Can’t sleep. Thinking about whether N has been lying to me about seeing other people.


8 a.m. Wake up with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and my chest hurts.

10:30 a.m. I text N and ask how he’s doing.

2:33 p.m. He texts back, saying he’s good. I write: “Can you just straight up tell me if you’re seeing someone else? I really don’t want to be made out to be a fool.” He responds: “I just recently started seeing someone else. I don’t want to stand in the way of anything you want in this world.”

I’m not even sure what that means. I reply: “I’m not going to put my energy into this anymore. I hope she treats you well, N.”

3:30 p.m. At work. Lock myself in the bathroom to cry a little. Why am I crying over someone that was never even mine? I know we weren’t in love, but I felt peaceful when I slept in his arms. I miss him.

4:15 p.m. At work, trying to keep myself together and focus. It’s really hard. My mind is on N.

11:45 p.m. Back home. Toss my keys on the table, take off my coat, and throw it on the chair in my living room. I sit on my couch and stare at the wall.

12 a.m. I receive a text from N. “I need my cock sucked bad.” I’m disgusted, initially, but I’m also satisfied that he misses my touch. For some reason, I tell him we can arrange to meet up.

1:30 a.m I get into bed. N has not responded. Maybe his text to me was just a mistake and he felt ashamed. I know I do.

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