Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Tale of the Green Dot

Five days after you learned my name, a notification arrives. "He has added you as friend."

And almost immediately after your face pops up in my screen, with a "hey."

Five days. "Hey."

Shakespeare, you are not.

I rolled my eyes, typed my own innocuous reply. "Hi." Smiley face.

And thus starts, a story we are all familiar with.

The "hey" became the precursor for  your unsolicited observations delivered into my inbox.

Hey. I had the best dinner in this breakfast place.
Hey. Traffic is crappy this morning, as usual.
Hey. This movie's the best I've seen this year.
Hey. I hate raw carrots.

I've always replied sparingly. I've given myself a budget of words: reply only to every other messages. Ignore as much as I can. Take my time answering, to make it appear as if I have better things to do with my time.

I've made up a game for two of us, and the rules were there to protect my heart.

Because I can see where this is going, and to tell you the truth:

It was scary.

But you seem to be playing a different game. Your messages arrived at odd intervals throughout the day, as if the floor you're walking on is filled with landmines of my name.

How appealing it was to think, that even the littlest thing reminds you of me.

Like a moth to a fire, I inched closer and closer, discarding my walls, discarding my rules.

Like a bird to breadcrumbs, I followed your sentences with question, followed up on your banal declarations. I asked why you hate carrots. I asked what do you do when the traffic's horrible and there's nothing else to do but curse.

I asked what are your dreams now?

And hey became sentences became paragraphs, the banter stretching on late into the night. Soon the conversations were peppered with cat pictures and funny stickers. Soon there were opening greetings (good morning! stickers) and closings messages that were more like ellipses rather than periods, sweet dreams in exchange for your good night, "you too" in response to my "sweet dreams", a snoozing character in response to your "you too", a picture of a peacefully sleeping baby in response to the sticker and so on and so forth until sleep claims one of us and the last person awake sends the final retort for the night. For weeks I've slept with my phone clutched in my fingers, waking up to a good morning sticker from you, because you always woke up first.

It was  addicting, crafting narratives for you.

And then (oh you know where this is going...)

The paragraphs became uneven. On my side it was still flowing as usual. But on your side, the barrage of sentences were shortening into words as if throttled. The words were disappearing, four letter words crumbling into a curt single letter. K.The stickers that were once just salt and pepper to the feast of exchanged ideas have taken center stage. It was like being fed fast food fare after a long period of nourishing diet.  There was no warning. There were no explanations. I was left fumbling after the rope that you've used to wrap me around your little finger have suddenly gotten slack.

I tried to go back to my rules (remember? reply as sparingly as you can. stick to your budget of words) , tried to pull back in the hopes that rope will become taut and tug at you, capturing your attention once more. I watched the green dot beside your name more religiously than I care to admit. I throttled my own paragraphs, afraid that my stories had suffocated you.

But the harder I tried, the better I was at trying to appear casual, no matter how well-timed my messages were, it was all for naught. Even the 'ks' disappeared after some time.

I counted the days that stretched silently between us. The green dot was just that, a dot, but it held so much sway on me.
I counted thirty days until I could not take it anymore, and rules be damned, my trembling fingers typed three letters into the message box.


But you know how this ends.

It ended

with the four of most deflating letters to be ever grouped together



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