Night. Sleepless night. A slight chill in the air, but I rested my hands under my laptop. The battery was a little fire to warm my fingers on. Seven tabs open on the top of my screen. I flicked from one to another, skimming. Without my beautiful boy there would be little sleep. His breath on my back is like chloroform, the lack of him is like drinking coffee before sleep time. When I heard the little popping sound of a message coming through I was jittery. Loneliness as a stimulant. High as a kite.
Hello? Do you remember me?
I glanced at the little pop out box that had suddenly appeared at the bottom of my facebook page. Your name. A name I remember vaguely, that friend of a friend who I met once at a chance writer's festival dinner.
I didn't know there was a chat function in facebook.
Ah. Well there is.
The little popping sound it makes is disconcerting.
Would you like me to stop talking to you?
No, actually, I am very happy to talk to you. I am having trouble sleeping.
I chatted to you for an hour. We talked about writers and books and art. You seemed to know a lot about things I was interested in. I was intrigued. I tried to remember your face and had a vague impression of someone rather short and perhaps a little brash. I couldn't picture you exactly. I sat up in bed, began to enjoy your witty banter. When the battery was low I moved to the loungeroom where I could plug in. I was so far away from sleep by then. When you said you should go to bed I felt vaguely disappointed.
This was how it began. Suddenly and unexpectedly. How very modern, I thought. Someone I know from the Internet more than real life because I didn't really remember taking much notice of you at that dinner if truth be known. I was distracted by my unusual accommodation and by the presence of a writer with a book I had read and quite enjoyed.
The next night, unsettled in my lonely bed I looked out for you, switching between Internet pornography and facebook where I would be able to see if you had come on line. The disappointment of your absence. I chatted with someone else briefly and without the same kind of excited analysis of art and life. I found that I missed you. That I was looking forward to another conversation. Strange that I hooked into this thing with you so quickly. I went over our conversation of the night before and your voice in my head sounded like my voice. Already, right up front, you felt like family to me.