I can’t listen to 505 by The Neighbourhood because of her.
I haven’t written anything here in an extremely long time, but now I have something to share. I think about my Writing class. We had a discussion about online relationships. The consensus was that they weren’t genuine. People said that real life interactions add the element of body language and presence, and that physical intimacy is essential to growing and maintaining any sort of relationship. Unanimously my classmates decided that people can’t connect just by communicating over an online medium, that you need physical contact to truly have a relationship with someone.
I call bullshit.
We don’t use the word love. I met this girl on Twitter. If my memory serves me right she followed me first and told me that she liked my writing. I thought she was just being nice and said “Thank you :)” A few days go on and I interact with some of her tweets, commenting on some things, and she would comment on mine, innocent things. One day she said “I need to marry a writer, so they can write about me,” something to that effect. I replied and said I’m a writer to which she replied “would you write poetry about me?” And me being honest I said “Poetry isn’t my forte but I’ll write whenever something reminds me of you.” And then she said we should get married in our 30s.
She messaged me, and after that we never stopped messaging each other. We’d talk about anything and everything. We’d narrate our lives, we’d say what we are thinking, we’d explore ideas, all over twitter messenger. She gave me her number and we started texting, only stopping when sleep was necessary. She gave me her Snapchat and I told her she was beautiful everyday. We’d write paragraphs about our feelings for each other after about two weeks of texting. Blocks of texts rife with errors, but raw, almost childlike basal emotion saturated our screens every morning and we, at least I, meant all of it.
Her name became embedded in my head like a diamond pressed into clay. It was like an angel’s sigh. The breath of a cherub. I was disgustingly infatuated. But she lived over one thousand miles away.
We were actually nervous to talk to each other on the phone for the first time. It was so innocent, so quiveringly pure. We talked, she said I sounded like a baby, I said I liked her voice. I wasn’t high pitched nor was it deep. It didn’t hurt my ears and I easily accepted her words; her words of adoration and comfort. That first day we didn’t talk much. We talked about her imminent trip to Morocco, how we think of each other and about the mystery of ice cream trucks. We fell asleep on the phone with each other. And in the morning we beamed about it.
But we couldn’t say we loved each other. How could you love someone you’ve never touched or seen in three dimensions? Could you love somebody’s attention, their mind and only those two things? We fell asleep with each other on the phone everyday, and when we weren’t on the phone there wouldn’t be a thirty minute gap between texts. I don’t see actual couples treat each other with such passion as we did. We were the best not-couple.
We started Facetiming every night. By that time we had gotten into the habit of watching shows together. One,Two,Three and we would press play on The Office or some movie we chose to watch for the day. The video component took this to another level of course. We’d take turns staring at each other, acting like we were focused on whatever we were watching. We’d call each-other cute often. I loved her laugh. She’d giggle at The Office and on other shows and react with a funny comment to hear her laugh, and to see her fat cheeks bunch up in a smile. She’d pose for me sometimes, wearing something seductive just to make me excited. This is sounding like a love letter but,
We didn’t have much disagreements. Looking back now I can admit that a lot of the first ones were my fault, me being annoyed at little things she did all of the sudden and taking longer to respond to her messages, or responding very dismissively because I was annoyed. The first time I implied I was annoyed with her she cried. The second time she cried again. And then I never told her again when I was annoyed. She is sensitive but I was willing to compromise that most of the time.
Until about a few weeks ago I implied that she was naive. She’s a senior in High School I should mention, of age of course. I should also mention that she was diagnosed with depression. It’s somewhat beside the point because she didn’t get it just when things started to get bad. Before I implied she was naive, she stopped being affectionate to me all of the sudden. She stopped telling me she missed me and that she liked me. I felt like something was wrong and grew frustrated. What did I do? Did she not like me anymore? Does she not care about my feelings? I tried to be affectionate but without reciprocation and with the lingering negative thoughts I stopped gradually. This made her very sad and she told me that she didn’t feel like being affectionate because she was depressed. That whole ordeal might have swayed her trust away from me.
The naive thing is a little hard to explain but she was apprehensive about the future, about college. She said she just wanted to step on the campus and know it was for her. She said she wanted to be happy. Me in my pessimistic mind told her that she’s looking for happiness and love too hard and that she gets her ideas of happiness from TV shows. There’s a lot more context. Subjectively, I didn’t think what I was saying was harsh. I just said that she should wait for happiness, that she was young. But for some reason it hit her very hard and our communication dwindled at an unexpected rate.
I don’t know if she likes me. I’ve asked with no straightforward answer. She texts me every 6 hours or so; oddball things like how hot it is or how high she is. Two months before she’d never allow 10 minutes to pass without telling me she liked me or interacting with me in some way.
Now I wonder, if online relationships are so artificial, why does the pain of a lost connection feel so real?