Chapter 13: The Runaway

After joining Hinge as part of my Post-Cheater Rehabilitation Program, I actually had a good amount of luck with matching with some quality guys that led to at least semi-decent dates. That’s where I’d met Roy, and PJ, and then, I met Elijah.

Elijah was a teacher who had moved to Boston from Orlando, so we immediately struck up a conversation about our lives in Orlando and what we’d done there, where we’d gone to hang out (besides Disney), who we knew, and all that fun stuff. It was nice to meet someone who knew a lot of the events and places I talked about, plus he was nice, funny, and smart. We hit it off right away. 

One of the places we talked about having been to in Orlando was an arcade bar called Player 1. It’s so fun – it has drinks, vintage video games, some modern games, too, and they host trivia nights on select evenings. Both of us had been there a few times, and Elijah told me that there’s a similar place in Cambridge called A4CADE (pronounced like “arcade”), which is connected to a grilled cheese restaurant (yum), so we made plans to meet there that weekend. 

We met up, got some drinks (of course mine was named after Princess Peach), and began playing. We had so much fun! We took turns buying buckets of tokens, which was fair because he bought my drink, and overall, we just had a great time. I beat him at Guitar Hero, I think, pretty much the only game I know I can win at, and I made him laugh at how much I jumped playing a zombie shooting game. We really clicked, so it just felt comfortable to hang out with him. We had a lot in common and were both very competitive, so I enjoyed the date a lot. 

I feel like this is where I need to mention something slightly off topic but still ties into how hilarious my dating life is. There was another guy I’d matched with on Hinge and had been talking to, but hadn’t been able to make concrete plans with yet, who texted me a few days later asking me if I’d been at A4CADE that night and when I said yes, he said he’d seen me there. So I had to tell a white lie and tell him I’d been hanging out with a friend from Orlando (which was kind of true) and didn’t even notice him, and was sorry. We still never met after that. 

After leaving there, we decided to walk down to another bar to talk someplace it was a bit quieter. We ended up at a place a couple of blocks away, where we had another drink and talked more about our lives, personalities, all the fun stuff you talk about on first dates. I actually really liked him. I decided to head home, so he told me to go ahead and grab an Uber while he settled the tab.

FYI, Skee-Ball is my FAVORITE arcade game.
Photo by Element5 Digital on

I had the best driver ever that night. I don’t remember his name, but he was hilarious. He turned out to be a huge astrology guy – so much so that he’d created an app called Signz that he told me to download – and knew all about astrology. He guessed all three of my signs correctly (Sagitarrius, Cancer, Libra) and told me that all the Sagittarius girls he had dated were crazy but the most fun. That’s accurate. Actually, first he thought I was a Cancer and I was quite upset at that so I corrected him, and that’s when he realized my Rising sign must be Cancer, which it is. I was telling him about The Cancer, and then told him that I was leaving a date and he asked if I knew Elijah’s sign. I did, he was a Taurus. 

He said that was NOT okay. Sagittarius and Taurus did not get along, he said, and we would not work out. He was giving me all sorts of dating advice, and left me with the advice that I should not continue dating this guy because long-term, we would not be compatible. Saying that I need to be with another fire sign, preferably an Aries, and telling me all about why I needed to avoid dating any other element. But, I really liked Elijah. 

Through work at Encore, I was going to get to have dinner at one of their fine dining restaurants, Sinatra’s, for free the next week, and I could bring a guest. So, I invited Elijah to join me for dinner. I thought it would be fun to get all dressed up, have a delicious free meal, and show him around the resort. 

Then came the Stanley Cup Finals. My friend from work, Celia, is very into hockey, so she got me to come out with her to watch the games every night which was fun because it was a great way for us to get to know each other, too. On the night of one of the games, I was at a bar/restaurant not too far from my place with Celia and one of her friends visiting from out of town, having a great time, and I was texting with Elijah. It turned out that he was at a bar with some friends not too far away so he asked if I wanted to meet up, and I agreed. I guess my tipsy texts were coming off quite flirtier than I intended, because he basically invited himself over to my apartment. I didn’t really think much of it, though, so I had one more drink with Celia and then left to meet him in my lobby. 

We met up, and I took him upstairs. At this point, I was a bit drunk and all I really wanted was to make some frozen hash browns from Trader Joe’s. He said hash browns sounded delicious, so I thought, great, we’ll eat some hash browns and that’s it. But he did not just want hash browns. 

As we were talking in my kitchen, waiting for the oven to preheat, he kissed me. It was at that moment that reason took over my brain and body and realized what he thought was going to happen up there, and while I may have been okay with that earlier in the night, at that point, I knew I was too drunk to know for sure that that was what I wanted, so I asked him to stop and slow down. He went to sit on my couch as I texted Celia, saying, “ABORT” and asking if she was still around because I needed an escape. She didn’t respond. I was on my own. 

After I put the hash browns in, I went and sat on the couch with him, where he was sitting on his phone. When I sat down, he asked me why I’d let him come over if nothing was going to happen. First of all, I hadn’t actually said nothing was going to happen, I’d just asked him to slow down. But I didn’t want to argue. So, I told him that earlier in the night, I might have been okay with something happening, but that the last drink I’d had hit me harder than I thought it would. I explained that I’d realized I was too drunk to fully consent and that I liked him so I didn’t want to wake up wishing it hadn’t happened, or wishing it had happened differently, or regretting something about him or it, and that I thought he should appreciate me not wanting to put him in the position of a girl feeling like she’d been taken advantage of or like she couldn’t fully enjoy it because of her state. After I finished my little spiel, he looked me dead in the eyes, told me that his Uber was there, got up, and walked out, slamming my door. 

I was pretty floored, but then I realized that’s pretty typical Orlando guy behavior, and exactly why I gave up finding something serious when I lived there pretty quickly. I texted him, “If me being too responsible to know that I’m not comfortable with putting out while drunk is a deal breaker, don’t worry about the dinner and don’t text me again.” He simply replied with a thumbs-up emoji. And you know what I did with that? I ate my hash browns, and went to bed.