After he returned to headquarters the calls began. Julie rang him up a couple times a week—just to talk. The conversations were desultory—long pauses and awkward changes in subject. She complained she was tired of living alone; she wanted a man in her life. She’d had plenty of boyfriends but something always went awry. Some men told her she was needy, but mostly they said nothing. Instead, they’d stop calling or fail to return her calls, see her less often, and eventually drift out of her life. When she could pin them down—noting they hadn’t spoken to her for awhile—they’d justify their behavior by saying something like “I didn’t think our relationship was going anywhere.”
She asked Ray what men meant by that. He told her it probably depended on the man—and maybe the woman—in question. That upset her although he hadn’t intended to hurt her feelings. Julie left the company abruptly and Ray stopped hearing from her. He was sorry he’d never apologized for offending her, but he was relieved she’d exited his life.