It just appears.
Similar to ghosting: it's not about whether they are harbouring the thought of cutting all contact with you; it's when they actually do it, and you won't see it coming. It just happens.
Sometimes, you won't even know you've been ghosted until a few days or weeks later.
It dawns on you slowly. He's busy, she's out with friends. The message has been read, but there's not reply yet. You wait. A day later, no news. You've grown so used to talking to someone on a daily, and even hourly, basis that you're not used to falling back to an afternoon of phone silence.
Another day goes by. Maybe they're out of town, or they lost their phones. Should you text to see if it goes through? Or does that make you look obsessed?
Yet another day. You find the best way to phrase a short sentence just to check on them. Nothing too clingy, of course. The most casual ways of saying 'hi, are you still there?' are usually wordless. You send a link, a funny photo, or just an emoji.
Message sent. Message read. No reply. Your confirmation.
We now have a fancy way of describing this phenomenon: ghosting. While many think it's new, it probably has been happening even before Marie Antoinette's time. It's inevitable. Communication indicates a willingness to stay in touch, to be close to one another. The absence of it implies 'I don't want to be with you anymore'.
There must have been at least a million of unreturned letters through the ages, thousands of unreturned phone calls, trillions of unreplied texts. We feel cheated and abandoned. We feel like they at least owe us an explanation, a statement that clearly states the truth that we might not actually want to know:
"I'm not interested in continuing this relationship anymore."
Be it a Tinder match or an actual relationship, they say this is the most irresponsible way to end things. But what makes us think that we're entitled to this explanation, especially when we're actually not even... anything?
By the very fact that we're humans, with feelings? Those who ghosted us perhaps too have the right to not say what they don't want to say. Or in a more apt way, not say anything because they have nothing to say. Perhaps it's the best way to end things, because it's the cruellest way to end things.
So perhaps we should expect to be ghosted, as pessimistic and insulting as it sounds. In a world where everything has an end, some form of buffer should be installed to help us bounce back up. It seems that we'll be forever bound to the arrival of the postman and our phones, waiting for something that might one day stop.