We met on a subsection of a website devoted to a cartoon show that lasted only a single season. I’m not sure what I can say about that fact besides that I have no regrets for how fiercely I defended my position that Grandpa Rick ruined the show. For one thing, after he was introduced, all of the humor revolved around what an awful person he was, and the delicate and hilarious character balance was completely overpowered by his sheer evilness. For another, if I hadn’t, she wouldn’t have messaged me.
That was the start. We talked about Grandpa Rick, and her inexplicable (to my mind) like for him. Then we talked about the show in general, then other shows we watched, and then we moved the conversation to Whatsapp, and before I knew it it was midnight. My room was dark, my neck ached from bending over my phone, and I had work at 5 am. I told her I had to go to bed, and she told me she had to eat lunch.
I agonized over when to text her again. I bit the bullet and texted her again after I got off work, but I had no response. It took me a bit to realize that she was probably in a different time zone, but that didn’t help that much, because that just made me feel like an idiot. I texted her, “Hey, what’s up?”, which meant that the first thing she would see when she woke up was some guy asking her, “What’s up?”
I didn’t get an answer until 11 pm. Don’t worry, I didn’t actually memorize that, I had to look that up on my phone. Anyways, she answered that she was at work, and so I asked her what she did, and she told me she helped out with research at her local university. I asked her what sort of research, and she told me sociology, specifically homeless women. I didn’t really know what to say after that, so I just said, “Cool,” and then I thought I sounded sarcastic, so I added a smiley face.
I guess she felt awkward too, though, because she asked me where I was from, and I said Boston. I asked back, and she said Mumbai. “India?” I asked, and she said yes. I’ll spare you the rest, because it was about as awkward as it sounds. Suffice to say that it’s a miracle I made it through that second conversation, but I did, and she did, but it didn’t take quite so long for me to go to bed.
She initiated the third conversation, and it was about a videogame, I think. I’m going off of memory now, because there’s a lot of texts to go through, and they don’t help that much. Basically, we’d text when I was awake, and she was awake. The texts piled up, one after the other, mostly about TV, videogames, and any other pop culture we looked at. American pop culture, I should probably specify. I wasn’t watching any Bollywood movies, although she wasn’t, either.
Somehow things progressed to talking over the phone, and talking over Skype. She was surprisingly pretty. I had prepared myself for her to be a monster, some ogre with three eyes and a horn, but she was, honest to God, way prettier than any girl who’s ever been interested in me. Even more amazing, she didn’t immediately turn off the screen when she saw me. We talked, and then we kept talking, and a couple hours flew by.
She became a part of my life. When I woke up, I’d reach for my phone, and see if she had sent me a funny picture. When I’d go to bed, I’d tell her, just so she could tell me goodnight. We tried to talk over the phone or something every 2 weeks. Along with our pop culture obsessions, I heard about her life, her family, her job. She told me about her plans to go back to school. I told her about my brother, and my taking care of him. Of course I bitched about my job, too, but I tried to keep it to a minimum.
Day in, text. Day out, text. Weekend, phone call. See each other’s faces every once in a while. Plan to watch TV shows, movies. Argue about the TV shows, movies. Thousands of miles away, we were part of each other’s lives. Or at least, she was a part of mine.
The texts stopped coming so fast, eventually. I’d see that she saw them, but she wouldn’t respond for a couple hours. She’d send me one, I’d respond immediately, and then she’d wait. I thought about waiting, too, but I couldn’t bear not to talk to her that long. All I could do was try to send her funny pictures, jokes, or questions. Anything that would make her want to text me back. But she didn’t.
And the phone calls were shorter. Before they were hours. Then they dropped to one hour, then 30 minutes, then 20 minutes. Then she told me she wouldn’t be able to talk on the phone for a bit. Then she told me she couldn’t Skype, either. Then an entire day went by without her texting me. Then two days.
There were never any explanations. I never got a word about something I had done wrong, or something I said. I looked back through my texts, and I couldn’t find anything. It was all great until it wasn’t. I tried to remember if I had said anything, or not said something. It was like I had missed a cue, like when you’re in a play as a kid and you flub a line. The whole play stops, and the audience is looking at you, and you don’t know why.
It bothered me so much, more than I ever thought it could. I wasn’t eating right, I wasn’t sleeping right. Every time I heard my phone make a sound, my heart jumped. I’d pick it up, only to find it was a friend, or worse, an app asking me to claim my pig. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I was dreaming about her every night, and I would reread every short, seldom text she sent me over and over again.
So I snooped. I downloaded her profile pic from Whatsapp, searched for it on Google, and immediately came up with a Facebook profile. It was her pic, her first name, and a completely different last name. Can you see where this is going? Yup. I clicked on it and she was married. Guess when she got married? If your guess is right around when she stopped texting me so much, then you get a no-prize.
I saw this and it was done. I was done. I texted her: “I know”, blocked her, and cried. That was a couple hours ago. Now I’m sitting here at the bar, and I’m a couple beers in. Come join me if you want, there’s room next to me for another.