Friday, October 06, 2017

Writober 10.6.17: Love, period.

“SO LONG, AIM. FOR YEARS, FOR MILLIONS, YOU WERE THE INTERNET”

That’s Wired’s headline about the imminent demise of AIM. I still remember fondly AIM’s ability to search its database of users by age, location, gender, interests, etc.

I’ve always had trouble sleeping and there was a time when I used to scroll through numerous west coast AIM profiles looking for people to chat with in the late hours of the night.

“Which do you like better,” I asked one evening, “ICQ or AIM?” That geeky question started a relationship that would go on to last eight years, cause an epic heartbreak, and have such an impact on my life that even a decade later I still occasionally experience soft, surprising aftershocks.

But that day I was just killing time before heading off to one of my evening classes. We joked about nonsense, talked about roller coasters (I have no idea why) and after I told him I was auditioning him for a potential “pen pal” he asked how he was doing. “Good so far but we’ll see what your application looks like.” When he humored the silliness I knew I’d found a good one.

Catching the time I told him I needed to go. “Thank you for chatting with me!” I typed and signed off.

A long while later, after he’d become my best friend and something more that I was afraid to name, during our first visit, he told me the thank you made him want to keep chatting with me.

“Really?” I asked. “Why?”

“Nobody is that polite online and I liked the exclamation point.”

I laughed. Manners and punctuation. The key to all great love affairs. Or at least, memorable connections.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Writober 10.11.17: Small Comforts

Maybe if he’d shouted the words at her she could have brushed them off, blamed it on stress or the low level anger that he always felt after his team lost at a home game.

But he said them so matter of factly, like a stranger telling you the time or commenting about the heavy rains.

“You really,” he said, looking past her shoulder, “are an uncaring bitch.”

She looked behind her to make sure there wasn’t someone standing there. And then she sighed. “I’m really not,” she replied. “I just don’t care about you anymore.”

“Why?”

Maybe she should have ignored the question like she had at least a dozen times before but it was time. Pretending wasn’t even worth the effort anymore. For a while she thought that maybe if she cloaked herself in an air of happiness that somehow it would seep through her pores. Instead she went to bed feeling slightly nauseated and awoke hoping he’d be gone.

She still loved him and that was saddest of all. She just couldn’t be the carrier of his dreams anymore.

“Well?”

“There isn’t a point to a list, is there?” she asked as she leaned forward and grazed his cheek with her chapped lips. “I lied. I care about you. Just not in the way you need and I’m tired. I’m going to bed. Tomorrow I’ll pack. Or you’ll pack. I don’t know.”

He stared after her for a while and then he turned the volume back up on the TV. “so that’s it,” he thought. It had actually lasted longer that he’d figured. A small comfort but he was in the mood to be comforted by even that.

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