I don't know who wrote it, but she saved my life that night.
There, in that stall, I was out of my friends' sight, so they couldn't stop me or judge.
I pulled out my phone and drafted up a message.
Before I hit send, I looked up from where I sat (the toilet), and noticed the writing on the stall door.
It read, "Don't text him."
If you need to hide the fact you're texting someone from your friends, you probably shouldn't be texting him.
This was certainly true for me on this particular night.
A few drinks into my weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to text "the bartender."
I had just landed a summer gig at a restaurant, and before I finished training, I was f*cking one of the bartenders.
We spent many a night-into-day together, getting to know each other's bodies and backgrounds.
I was smitten with him.
I was sure he was going to be the next love of my life because I'm a total cornball at my core.
There was a week or so early into the courtship where he didn't have a phone.
He left it at a bar, and was in no rush to get a replacement.
He enjoyed the freedom.
I found this admirable at the time, but now I know that if somebody goes over a week without replacing his phone, he's probably an assh*le nobody cares to contact directly.
Early one morning during this phone-less week, I woke up to the sound of something tapping my window.
I checked the time; it was 4 am.
I peered out my window and saw his stupid shape.
He was throwing acorns at my window.
I buzzed him up, and greeted him with a nice and naive, "What are you doing here?"
He insisted he felt compelled to come over right then, and tell me he wasn't just f*cking around with me.
"I give a sh*t," he proclaimed.
I loved this.
It was all very "Say Anything..." and a great transition from the "u up?" text.
He and I kept our relationship hush-hush from our coworkers.
The sneakiness was fun, until one day, it wasn't.
After my shift one fateful night, another waitress and I decided to grab drinks nearby.
Before we could even decide on a spot, I blurted out "I have some gossip!"
"Oh, me too!" she replied.
Then she said exactly what I was going to say.
"I'm seeing Jake*, the bartender."
It was amazing how much information I was able to convey to her with just a look.
It was a bad plot line from a teen drama come to life.
I wanted to hurt her and hug her at the same time. I hated her, but we related.
I should've walked right back into work, ordered a drink from "the bartender," and then thrown it in his face.
Instead, the remainder of the night consisted of the other waitress and I trying to get our facts straight.
I had a long phone call to my best friend, and many strangers saw me cry.
The whole situation left me confused and bruised.
A few days after "the reveal," some close friends invited me out to shake me out of my gloom. With each new round of drinks, the itch to text him grew stronger.
Why is that?
Why do we insist on reaching out to people who shouldn't be existing characters in our lives anymore?
With social media and text messaging, relationships linger and people who should, in a sense, be "killed off" from your everyday are not.
When a relationship dies, it's as if a character on "Game of Thrones" has died.
"Is it really dead between us? Let me just text him real quick, just to see if he'll respond."
I'm here to say, don't text him (or her).
When I was discussing this situation with my friend's mother, a woman in her early 50s, I said, "That must have been great not to have cell phones when you were dating in your 20s. I feel like I carry every assh*le I've ever met with me in my purse. I find myself always checking to see if any of them have texted me."
"Oh, it used to be much worse," she claimed. "We used to stay home and wait by the phone."
That resonated with me.
I felt like I had been out with my friends, but I was mentally at home, waiting by the phone.
Many times "Let's have a girl's night!" is a way of saying, "Please keep me company until he texts me back."
Put your phone away. Turn it off. Leave it at home.
Whatever you do, don't text him.
* Names have been changed for privacy purposes.