The page prompts me for my e-mail address and password. My fingers dive head first onto the keys. I don’t even need to look at what I’m doing anymore. Don’t even need to think. I do this too much.
Before I can register that I have actually given the friendly, blue heading my password I am greeted by people I hardly know. Each with a sentence I’m supposed to care about or pictures I’m supposed to look at. Sometimes I do, but not tonight.
Tonight, I move my cursor up into the search bar. I stop this time. Do I really want to do this to myself? Again? But my pause only lasts for about a second, if that. This is more than a habit now. It’s an obsession.
Now my keystrokes are deliberate. A-s-h-l-e-y. Your name fills up the emaciated search engine. It belongs there.
I almost bite back a smile when your picture pops up, then I remember you can’t see me and let the smile free. You don’t know I’m looking at you right now. That’s a blessing really, I look a mess. It’s nearly three in the morning. I couldn’t sleep again…
But you look beautiful, you always do. You’ve changed your profile picture again. You’re no longer frozen mid leap with (who I can only assume is) your best friend. Now you’re smiling back at me. The kind of smile is only made when posing vainly at the camera on your laptop. But I don’t mind. If anyone deserves to be vain, it’s you. And I know that you aren’t. Not really. You’re only doing this to show off your new haircut. It’s much shorter now. Darker, choppy, edgy, artsy. My friends would call it a hipster cut. It suits you.
I click on your picture and am transported as close to you as I can ever hope to be. At least for right now, maybe something with change. Maybe. There, on the lifeless LCD screen of my laptop is everything I could ever possibly want to know about you. Pictures of you at parties and in your new dorm. Posts from your friends telling you how much they miss you (I know how they feel). Nothing I should find interesting. But then, you know that I don’t always do what I should do. And this, to me, is as interesting as any novel. Especially tonight. You’ve written a note.
Eagerly (too eagerly) I click the link. Black and white words display your thoughts clearly for the whole world to see. I drink in every precious answer. Secretly I look for any reference to me, any mention of my name, any comment that I can vaguely interpret to be directed towards me. There aren’t any. There never are.
I scan the page again, willing the letters to change into my name. Maybe I missed a question the first time I read it. Maybe I read something wrong. I didn’t.
Sighing, I press the back button. Nothing has changed. Not in five minutes. You’re not online to change anything (I shouldn’t know that).
No matter, there are other things I can do. Guiltily I type another address into the bar. I do not hesitate to press enter this time. If I press it quickly I won’t have time to register how creepy I’m being.
The heading of your blog glares at me from the harsh colors on my screen.
“You’re back again?” it spits at me.
I choose not to answer. Instead I look to see if you have been on lately. Nothing. No new entries. No changes to your “about me”. No comments. In fact, I’m pretty sure you don’t use this blog anymore. But I always check, I have to. Just in case you’ve written something. Just in case you’ve come back.
I type in another address. And another. It’s a dance. Type, enter, scroll, click. Type, enter, scroll, click. Over and over. Livejournal, youtube, fanfiction, deviantart. It’s amazing how easy it is for me to find these things. You want me to find these things. Maybe. Probably not.
But that isn’t what I tell myself. I tell myself that there’s a way for us to salvage our relationship, that there’s a way we can be close again. Just like we used to, before the fighting and the cheating and the nights spent alone.
I look at your face, no, I mean your picture, and I smile to myself. I’m just being silly. I should really stop this. I don’t know you anymore. I don’t speak to you. I don’t see you. This is a delusion of mine, something that isn’t real.
I turn off the computer and find my way back to my bed. This will be the last time, it will. I close my eyes to ward off the periodic pulses of light from my laptop. Sleep finally kisses my forehead, and as I drift away I swear I hear you whisper in the darkness.
“I hope you visit me tomorrow.”