callistahogan: (Default)
I see you everyday.
I guess we walk the same way
to wherever we're going.

Hi, I'm new.

The black words blared up at me from the computer screen, not yet the iconic light green I would come to associate powerfully with the kind, intelligent Australian. I bit my lip, fingers hovering over my father's keyboard, wondering if I should respond. It was a tradition with this specific chatroom to greet everyone with a warm, cheery “Ni” and our names, but my hands were frozen, resting lightly on the keys.

I let out a gentle sigh, watching as the conversation advanced. Introductions were made, and the new guy seemed to take all the insanity in stride. Soon enough, everyone was finished introducing themselves. But I remained in the background, an uncomfortable twisting in my gut. However illogical it felt, I couldn't introduce myself to the new person.

So I minimized the page. I opened up a word document, turned on my music, and got lost in my writing—but the twisted feeling in the pit of my stomach did not disperse.

A moment had arrived.
It was just the right time for conversation.
And he asked me:
What do you do?
What is your name?
Where are you from?

Tell me about yourself.

I supposed it was just the right time for us to have our first conversation. It was a week later, or I thought it was a week later. It could have been more time than that; the moments blurred together in my mind, obscuring the purpose of our first conversation. It might've been because I was bored. It might've been because he wanted to talk to me. It might've been the fact that I needed to talk to him.

In our first conversation, I had a classic case of self-doubt. How old are you? he asked. And where are you from? What do you like to do?

My answers were all typed out. The cursor blinked at the end of the sentence. Minutes ticked by, and then: Backspace.

My fingers at the keys again:

18. Maine. I like to write and read and hang out in the chatroom.

Two truths out of three—not bad.

That conversation, full of half-truths and carefully concealed statements (I wasn't stupid; I knew I shouldn't reveal everything to a near-total stranger), kicked off a series of events that would stretch all the way up to the present day.

No way of knowing,
I can't explain it.
But I'm not complaining.
If I'm happy or sad
If only we had
Just a minute longer than this.

My heart thudded its rhythm in my chest as he entered the chatroom. A smile stretched across my face as he struck up a conversation with a cheerful Hey! I had been waiting for him to come on all day, the minutes ticking by as it grew ever closer to 4 o'clock. He appeared between 4 and 5, and we talked for hours on end, about anything and everything under the sun.

It was during one of those moments that I realized one simple fact, the simple fact that had been in the back of my brain for ages, but only came to the surface at that precise moment.

I loved him.

I was in love for the first time in my life, and it was powerful and all-consuming and seemingly unconditional. It made my heart flutter inside my chest. It made my fingers still on the keys, a smile spreading across my face as I saw him arrive day after day. His every word, his every conversation—he was perfect. Utterly perfect, with his kind words and his generosity and his willingness to consort with me, of all people, a shy little girl who didn't even know what it was like to be kissed in real life.

It was just my luck that he had a girlfriend. And every moment had a time limit, because we couldn't meet in real life, not unless I booked a thousand dollar flight to Australia.

And I was so frustrated,
in fact, devastated.
I feel happy but sad.
If only we had
just a minute longer than this.

Months passed, our relationship growing and my feelings blossoming and growing stronger than I had ever imagined. It was in my heart, it was in my mind, it swirled out of my fingers and onto the page. Pages after pages filled with the words I couldn't tell him. I could say I love you, and it meant something different to him than it did to me.

When I said I love you, he read I care about you so much. And to me, I love you was really I'm in love with you.

One day, I found myself speaking to him, and he told me that he was leaving. He was going away for a time—I'm worthless, no one cares, he said.

I do.

Why? he asked.

Because I'm in love with you.

I typed the words and pressed send.
.
I wonder.
I wonder what you think about.
Do you think about me?

Fumbling my way through my first real relationship was not as easy as I had envisioned. I had envisioned my first relationship gentle and loving, with a perfect first kiss, and not as a transcontinental relationship only borne out through emails and online messages. I didn't imagine my first kiss coming about through typing “/me kisses” into an IRC chatroom.

But we loved each other.

It didn't matter if people didn't believe me. It still doesn't matter now, if people don't believe me. We were in love, and every moment was a treasure. Yet—

It was not perfect.

There were fights—huge fights about religion and sex, evangelism and Discordianism—and there were many backspaced statements.

Tell me what you're thinking, he urged.

I can't. I'm sorry; I'm just closed off. I can't help it.

He sighed and typed. All right. Maybe tomorrow.

I could tell you,
if only we had
just a minute longer
.

We didn't have a minute longer. Through all our dreams—four years. That's all we have to get through. Four years, and we can get married—and our hopes and our fears and our conversations and our kisses and our love, it wasn't enough. You know the term “irreconcilable differences”?

It turns out a Discordian and a Christian don't mix, especially when the Christian was a young evangelist like me. Not to mention, our conversations often dissolved into fights, about him thinking I was pushing my faith on him and me insisting that no, I wasn't, I was just trying to explain to him what I believed. We didn't communicate; we couldn't communicate. Our differences spanned across too far a divide.

That wasn't even taking into account my hesitance. I couldn't tell him what I was feeling, because I worried constantly: What if he was judging me? What if things won't be the same if I tell him what I'm thinking?

We couldn't talk to each other. We tried, but the words never came out right. They were strained and tumbled together and wouldn't quite articulate themselves the way they should.

Our breakup was years ago now.
Maybe I'm a dreamer,
but I just believe
and I know what I see.
Forever wishing,
there would be another day.

I don't want to lose him.

I never did, but for a while, we lost touch. I moved on, dating other people, Satanists and jerks and douches who broke up with girls over the answering machine, and he dated as well. Yet I wondered. Did he think of me? Did he care?

After my heart healed (it's still not entirely healed; there's still the childish ache in my heart for my first love), we started talking again.

And there were the same issues.

I didn't talk as much as I could. He tried, nice and calm and patient, to talk to me, but I froze. Nostalgia burned up inside me. I remembered every moment, the kisses and the love and the long conversations, and it hurt to remember. I tried to talk to him, when I missed him so much it hurt, but then, our conversations fizzled out and we failed to communicate once again.

I talked to him today to ask his permission to write about our relationship. He agreed, and I said I wanted to talk to him again. It's true; I want to build a friendship with him again. I want to be there at his wedding, because I want to see him happy (God knows he deserves it). But I just want to be able to talk to him again, about everything under the sun.

As Delta Goodrem so aptly puts it in her song: Oh, if only we had, I don't care happy or sad—just a minute longer than this.

--

This has been my entry for week 15 of [livejournal.com profile] therealljidol. Thank you for reading! There is no intersection this time around, so our votes are separated. It's just me and my own writing on the line now. The song featured in this piece is "Longer" by Delta Goodrem. If you liked this entry, please consider voting for me? Thanks again!

Date: 2010-02-21 03:20 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] drjeff.livejournal.com
This made me ache. I know just the feelings you describe.

I continue to think that you're a 50-year-old in disguise. :)

I really loved this a lot.

Date: 2010-02-22 02:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
Well, I guess I'm 15 going on 50. :P

Thank you so much! It was hard reliving the relationship, but I'm glad it's out there finally.

Date: 2010-02-21 03:55 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] stormkitty.livejournal.com
What a very touching and heartbreaking and sweet entry. You've captured that feeling of first love so perfectly. :)

Date: 2010-02-22 02:49 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
:) Thanks so much!

Date: 2010-02-21 04:23 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] hightekvagabond.livejournal.com
There are lines that mark generational gaps in this culture, one of them is online relationships. It is something that my mother will never understand, she will never get how real it can be, but it's just as real as it has been to the men and women of old war struck countries who write to each other.

I get where you are at with this, I really do, but, I still gotta say:

Discordia > Christianity

*winks*

Date: 2010-02-22 02:52 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
I know. I could never tell my family about this relationship because, although my immediate family uses technology a fair bit, they'd freak out if they found out about this specific part of my life. It's just nice to be able to tell it to someone, and know that people don't just immediately write it off. It's nice to know people understand what it's like. :)

And LOL. Discordianism is certainly more... colorful than Christianity is, that's for sure!

Date: 2010-02-21 08:59 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] oneonthefence.livejournal.com
Very heartbreaking and lovely, as your writing tends to be. Well done.

Date: 2010-02-22 02:53 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2010-02-21 11:41 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] lawchicky.livejournal.com
This was heartbreaking and reminded me of my own online long distance relationships. I hope you can build a friendship with your ex so that you get a real life happy ending.

Date: 2010-02-22 02:54 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
Well, I'm not sure I'd want a happy ending, considering my entry last week! :P But I definitely want there to be some happiness there, even though building a relationship with my ex DEFINITELY won't be easy.

Thank you for the compliments!

Date: 2010-02-22 02:56 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] pixie117.livejournal.com
Very touching entry. I really like the way you wrote this.

Date: 2010-02-22 03:03 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
Thanks! It's a bit of a departure from my normal style, so I'm glad it was enjoyable. :)

Date: 2010-02-22 03:45 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] intyalle.livejournal.com
Since I know the person in question very well myself, I must admit to mixed feelings about this entry myself.

I do sympathise, I suppose. But I've also heard the other side of the story. It's a measure of how badly you *aren't* spoken of, I guess you could say, in that I wouldn't want to attack you if you got anywhere near him again, but at the same time I would be wary.

I don't think I can go as far as to say I'd like to see you at the wedding, but if it's okay with him I won't object after reading this.

Heh, even worse than just online relationships... online weddings :P I am definitely very much a geek.

Date: 2010-02-22 03:52 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
I made mistakes. Huge ones. I'm not saying I didn't. I didn't treat him the way I should near the end, and there's nothing I can say to make you forgive me. I can just say I'm sorry. And that I regret it. I came to false conclusions and did bad things and I'm sorry for those. It could be considered a blessing that I was even allowed to speak to him again after what I did, and I'm grateful for that second chance.

Date: 2010-02-22 03:48 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] risingtofall.livejournal.com
This entry twisted my gut with all these familiar feelings. I've been confused though with the real lj idol lately as I can't tell who is writing fiction and who is writing about themselves and real experiences. Is this real?

Date: 2010-02-22 04:30 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] callistahogan.livejournal.com
Yes, completely real. I did omit certain details, but the basic relationship is exactly as portrayed here.

Date: 2010-02-23 04:09 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] poppetawoppet.livejournal.com
this just about broke my heart.


Date: 2010-02-23 09:19 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] comedychick.livejournal.com
Ahh, Internet romances. I've had a few people in my life that excited me like that whenever I saw them online or got a message from them. It still happens on occasion. :)

Date: 2010-02-23 06:13 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] beautyofgrey.livejournal.com
I love the pacing of this. Usually lyrical breaks tend to distract me, but here it adds to the sadness and mood of heartbreak.

Well done. <3

Date: 2010-02-23 09:33 pm (UTC)From: [personal profile] shadowwolf13
shadowwolf13: (Default)
This is very touching and I'm sure it was hard for you to write. I really hope you two can find that space where you can be friends.

Date: 2010-02-25 01:01 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] onda-bianca.livejournal.com
Wow. What a wonderfully told story. Online relationship or not, I can relate to it so well. So...real.

You, I believe, are the dark horse of this competition.

Date: 2010-02-25 03:24 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] cacophonesque.livejournal.com
You know, it really is amazing how we can come to love someone through their words and thoughts without ever sitting in their physical presence.

You've got a lovely way with language and reflection, and it reminds me of myself half a lifetime ago. I like that feeling of a voice calling out across the screen to connect me to forgotten feelings.

Date: 2010-02-25 04:08 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] kutiechick.livejournal.com
This was fantastic. You really captured the feelings and the essence of first love - the nervousness, the wonder, and the heartbreak. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2010-02-25 06:41 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] malruniel11.livejournal.com
I know those feelings and the ache of that sort of relationship all too well. Just a moment longer would be enough... just a moment.

Date: 2010-02-26 02:36 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] imafarmgirl.livejournal.com
Great entry, very sad. You can feel the sadness and longing.

Date: 2010-02-26 05:06 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] zia-narratora.livejournal.com
I think in some ways, relationships online can be much more intense because all the little imperfections of day to day life are stripped away, leaving you only with the best and the worst of another person.

I had a similar relationship to this when I was younger-- but older than you are now-- but it was a friendship, not a romance. Still, it was one of the most intense relationships I ever had, in the way you describe, of just waiting, heart-fluttering, for that person to come online.

Date: 2010-02-26 09:02 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] mstrobel.livejournal.com
Beautifully written! That really tugged at my heart as well. And was in some ways so familiar.

Date: 2010-02-26 06:32 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] plastrickland23.livejournal.com
Long distance relationships are so hard...not impossible, but so often very limited.
Great job here. I like how you styled the narrative with the glimpses of private thought. P.

Date: 2010-02-27 03:13 am (UTC)From: [identity profile] baxaphobia.livejournal.com
You can't possibly be as young as you say. This was heartbreaking. Someone as young as you shouldn't have such sadness.

Date: 2010-02-27 04:19 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] java-fiend.livejournal.com
It really is unbelievable to me that you're so young... you express yourself in ways many people twice or three times your age can. Beautiful and poignant piece... I think you really capture feelings most of us have been through at one time or another. This really resonates with me. Nicely done.

Date: 2010-02-27 04:24 pm (UTC)From: [identity profile] kittenboo.livejournal.com
so heartfelt, i can feel the emotion in your words!

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