This is stupid.
Why did I let Charles do this to me? He had used my email to setup an online dating account one night, filled in all the info about me unaltered by lies and humor, and by using my computer for this entire plot threw in a collection of images of me, a couple decent, and some that haunted me with bad memories and often just the image of the event and my scared face made me take shelter in solitude on a weekend night. But the truth is, once Charles had made the account, I never once physically tried to stop him, I just moaned on and on, like a little boy having to do the dishes before watching cartoons. And as I examined the big stupid smile on Charles' face, I noticed a glimmer of hope in those pearly whites, I was in his hands, nestled by his awkward grace, and he was lifting me up to reach for the first branches of the tree of life. The bastard was dead serious, and I didn't realize at the time but he hadn't laughed the entire time. He told me he had "friends" who used it and just like in the dumb commercials they found someone won-der-ful. I didn't know at the time but Charles used the dating service himself to find his current fling, and if he told me at that moment I wouldn't have believed him, Charles never had a hard time with women, and in fact he was in-general, a lucky bastard.
A few days after setting up the account, each day I contemplated both the cancellation of the damn thing, but also of the female possibilities, I had to emit, I was kinda of excited about what awaited me, who awaited me, and what can turn out from all of this. At the time, I had no hope but this micro-strand of thread that connected me to the vast sea of e-romance, and its volume and mass beyond the physical realm of the previous reality to dating.
I was still recovering from a bad breakup, with Charles knowing each and every heartbreaking detail, made him intervene in my love life, and of course I was stubborn, half-sober, and smoking for the first time in my life. Truth be told, that online account was the only thing I had, and so when the first email came in it created an overwhelming glow to everything I looked and stared at. Without a name, without a face, I knew she was the one.
Her name was Linda, and it was the most wonderful name I had heard.
The way service was setup I was able to be contacted, and my profile able to be seen, but my interaction with those who wish to speak to me, who giving me a minute of their day, and who might even admire me from a far, were restricted due to my free account, and so my curiosity to Linda's appearance ran wild into the library of females of my life, and Linda's reflection had become "The Best Of"; featuring Julie's nose that would tweak up ever-so when she took a strong breath in; Hannah's eyes that appeared to float like islands of paradise in a sea of milk; Charlotte's little hands which resembled a widow's own mournful as narrow; and Carrie's body small and skinny that fit perfectly within mine from hugs to snugs to midnight tugs. Linda, to whom I have built you up to crystal castles and divine love, I hold you as a baby to birth love in my heart again.
With each of Linda's words, careful in how much she said, I could read a loss of hope in her words and how she was searching for love with everything she had by the way she placed commas and ended her sentences. It was the language of the hopeless, and while reading the rest of Linda's words, I was holding her hand, telling her she wasn't alone, over and over. I reached the end of the message, and sat there at the edge of my seat, saying holy, holy, holy, and in the glimmer of my computer screen I saw what resembled a smile.
Immediately I responded in a flux of passion, matched with impulse, and after two minutes I finished my love manifesto. Sent was pressed, and I navigated back to my sent folder and reread my email to Linda. I first saw all of my spelling errors, writing look instead of like, and was afraid of miscommunication. These first words were all she had to truly get a sense of me, not the person frozen in Charles' selection of images of me, but me speaking with my own voice, it all my horrible grammar and pronunciation. And once I finished reading, I sat back in my office chair, and looked through my window to the city below and wondered if one of those lights was Linda's. And maybe she was there at her computer, smiling and reading my words on that glowing screen.
In the next couple of days we would exchange a few more emails until we agreed to a Saturday evening, dinner at John's, and from there we'd decide the itinerary for the rest of the night. I might have set myself up for trouble, knowing if the evening ends after John's there goes this one. Another one bites the dust.
Eventually, after three days of waiting, it was Friday evening, and I had finished my work out, and was now just sitting on the edge of my bed, thinking of a million ways tomorrow can turn out. I formed dialogues with Linda in my head, and I was charming, witty, and full of humor. I practiced the sequence of our first conversation, and it was going well, I think I hit all the right cues, and she was flirting with me. I turned off the light with the slap of my hands, and pulled the covers over my sore body. I don't know how long I stared at my ceiling, lit by the city that burns outside of my window. I admired the red light of my fire alarm, thinking it was a warm little star, keeping me safe. I kept dreaming of her, moving around until I lost all my pillows, and I remember feeling really uncomfortable, but I was too tired to get out of bed. It wasn't until I got up to take a piss; I looked in the mirror and noticed I looked weird, as if I was looking into a distorted mirror. Who was this looking right back at me, is this how I look to others? I drank some water from the tap, and jumped in bed with the salvaged pillows in my arm, and waited until sleep came back to me.
The next day Charles and I had met up for lunch, and he apologized for stepping into my life the other night. I realized he didn't know I had used the dating service, and so I brush off my lie with a no-biggy, every-thing's-cool. He took the bait, and we just talked about work, and prospective traveling plans. He then asked if I had deleted the account he made, and I said ages ago. I didn't want to talk about it, and he sensed the troubled waters ahead so he diverted to the problems he's having at home with Sheryl. I didn't care, and I was no longer in the same room as him anymore as I stared out to the street, seeing strangers pass by and those women that catch the eye for the moment as they walk in a slow motion just before they disappear from view. I smiled and said I had to go. I threw some money down without looking at my hands, Charles asked me to sit down, and by the time he finished those last words I was gone.
I started to walk, and then I picked up into a run. I ran faster and faster, feeling the liberating wind run its fingers through my hair and the sound of it breezing by my ears. The sun hit my face, and my feet felt bare, grabbing the concrete, and scratching the callus flesh away. Only a few more hours I repeated to myself. Only a few more hours.
The sweat ran down my face, and my hair was greasy. I jumped in the shower, talking to myself as if Linda was on the other side of the conversation. I looked down at my hairy legs and watched the small rivers of water run from my head to my toes. I realized how desperate I was, how much I have built her up without even knowing her, or seeing her for that matter. I created the universe of us in days and the city streets with our names, mark by mark, we ruled it all. Everything had been destroyed and remade to fit our plans together. I knew she was lonely, it was in her tone, written before me, with each fragmented sentence, each question asked, she wanted more and more and as I continued the one-way dialogue with her in my head, she spoke softly, interested in everything I had to say, and I asked her how she was going to rule the world, and she replied, by conquering you first.
By the time I realized I had to get ready, I was falling apart. I was impatient, I couldn't last long, and my stomach turned like Moby Dick's sea of rage. Closing my eyes, I could only imagine the fineness of her body, the lovely oddity of her face, unique and endangered, wild and moist with freshness. I wondered if she was thinking the same about me, I looked down at my getup arranged on the floor as if the person who last wore them had vanished into a parallel universe. I wanted to be there right now myself, all this waiting, all these images of who she might be overwhelmed me, flooded my every thought, and I worried my voice and my thoughts would not synchronize when it came down to saying those first few words, Hi, hello, howdy, how are you, nice to finally meet you, you are lovely.
I haven't met you, but your effect is already profound. I am pushed to the ground; speechless, breathless, hopelessly, trembling, taken in, nurtured and tortured, simultaneously; destroyed and recreated, flying and falling, jumping and tripping, soaring high above, in windless skies, carelessly, breaking apart, and landing into your hands. Waiting, waiting for you, does this destroy us both, to fail with you, to drop out with you, oh Linda, you have no idea, and yet you know me more than anyone, and we haven't even met yet.