Madness creeps to explore new possibilities. How many men can a woman have in a day? I was curious. It was discovering a feeling I had not the luxury in life. I was in a barred, cemented walls that was almost like a tomb. A core in a crust. So I plunged my fears and swam across depths of time and space. First time.
I would taste the pleasure of emotions in words. It was a trance. A temporary exit to the power-playing people around me in the real-now. I began to find the answers to my complicated ideas, deconstructing and reconstructing every word; trying to separate water and oil. I would like to think, there is a knife on my neck and every wrong move I make would slit a cut on my throbbing throat like killing a helpless chicken.
Maybe, I can become what I dream now. In this development of technology, words and letters are like people talking to me face to face.
“Hello and heller!”
Everyone greeted everyone hello. Well, not hell and below, I suppose. It was a greeting of cheers like “Aloha” in Hawaiian and “Ciao” in Italian. I thought all eyes were on me. Searching me head to foot, undressing me, my heart and my soul. But I was armed and shielded. I was wearing a complete battle gear. I floated with the cursor throbbing systolic and diastolic. The keypads wrote the murmurs in the blue sea of fiber optic cables, wires, and wireless connections of the internet.
“How is everyone?
“I want to join in.”
“Nice and happy to be here!”
“Where are you from?”
I could not pretend. I got recharged by the electronic vibrations, pulling my fingers. My emotions were letting go. I needed someone to talk to - like a friend. Maybe another thrill seeker in a machine, or an android at my bidding. On and off with my PC, I was giggling – to this my net baptism. It seemed like exploring a part of the earth where a star would burst and become another planet.
Well, this is technology.
“What is asl?” My ignorance let me ask.
“Age, sex, location.”
“Okay.” I got so excited because these were the things I didn’t know.
“Asian, female, between 35-45 years old.”
I went private. At first, I was scared about these private domains. I was foreign to this idea of being too personal, and afraid of some people who were lewd. But I needed these experiences that could break the walls surrounding my routine and sad life. “ The Edge of Things” by Edith Tiempo, pushed me to “that brink or threshold, none other may enter.” And that “leap of faith,” which Kierkegaard calls, let me jump into the abyss or beyond the abyss.
My fight, mhwhahahahah… I’ll do it in cyberspace – I have to make out of something, or else I’ll just be keeping everything and I would die, too. I had to free these golden butterflies inside my stomach and shreds of heaven-threads in my veins if for moments of releasing my act of faith.
I met Eazymaan, Medicate, Caterpillar, Virgo Woman, Pilot, and Wild Fire while I hid on the pseudo Moon and Stars. I thought I had the whole world right before my eyes. Tasks were done at the same time as I searched for the books of Exupery, the Essays of Montaigne and the Reflection of Solitude by Thoreau. I was in the chatroom, inside my room with only the beating PC.
For hours, unrelenting thoughts fell on the monitor, every letter captured the moment of truth and illusions. I found rooms full of people from different places and different time zones and different clothing. I met them as ants would kiss each other and stop and go. And then I’ve learned tags on this new dimension of Science. A new dictionary on the internet.
“LOL.” LOL means laugh out loud. You say that when someone goes funny.
“BRB” means: Be right back.
“Mwah” means a big kiss. Chatmates offer and receive a bunch of flowers as token of
appreciation, a cup of steaming coffee from Starbucks, munch chocolates – Hersheys, Kisses, and Snickers, or Life Savers candy. Yummy! Pick your choice. It was a room full of everything. Illusions over life. This became not a portion of my reality, but my reality. It was fun.
Deprived of power and feeling destitute that time, I explored possibilities. The big difference was taking Jose Rizal’s “Touch me not.”
I got close connections with some chatmates all over the globe. Some names I couldn’t remember though…BUT there were two of them who became my best of friends. Here I found out that people in the chatrooms were not bad, not bums, not stupid. They were ordinary and loveable people just like you and me. I would like to think a few were machines, or maybe models to promote a product. They could even be members of a cult. I don’t know. But above all, proper rules were observed in the room. We called it “netiquette,” which means internet etiquette.
My first private chat was full of oohs and aahs. I was curious how the conversation would go. My chatmate being a gentleman taught me how to be technologically literate and updated. Adriano, I could recall his name. I couldn’t believe he was a sexy star in Italy. I tried chatting with him and when he asked me about my vital statistics, I boasted a perfect measurement of “36-24-36.” He went gaga over me, while I described the features of a beauty titlist, the softness of Venus de Milo, and the charm of Monalisa. I seduced him to beg for my virginal words, until he told me he was aching. The dialogues were spiels in a movie spinning to manifest desires. Adriano thanked me and I laughed out all my stored energy that almost drove me mad.
And you know what? He owned a villa and a number of cars that bestirred my financial desires. How I wished I could reveal my true identity, but because it was in Italy, and Rome is in Italy, the home base of the Pope – I had second thoughts… The act was disgraceful for a respected woman. Besides, I did not have that Aphrodite figure, I was more huggable like Winnie the Pooh bear than a sexually titillating bold star. We were two different worlds.
Good bye Adriano.
I continued searching for unlimited territories. I tried saying hi to all, baring sweet words. The thin line between words and emotions almost cracked like abyss. A word especially written would crush a heart and rip a soul if not thought of carefully. Yet positive words encouraged dreams, strengthened confidence, and saved lives.
Switching from one site to another searched me the stories told long ago. It reminded me the fairy tales, the narrations, and the poems, that gave hope. The stories chanted me to fairy land. The journals of Virginia Woolf, the Diary of Anne Frank, and the letters of the Philippines’ Bienvenido Santos took my breath away. And because I was Filipino, I also found Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo plus the recommended and popular articles that inspired ambitions and made heroes, and Saints. Of course, I never forgot chapters on the Book of Wisdom, the Koran, and the Holy Bible written through the ages – those that until now introduce the words of the prophets, the words of Yaweh, the words of Allah, the words of Jesus Christ.
Cyberspace gulped me. Here’s the evidence of the evolution of language, communication, and words. From the writings of the Nambikwara, the scribbles in the caves to the cultured populace, for ordinary people and literary gods – words are life.
Each passing day the computer was my pal. In the computer were my friends now, and unlike my first time – I realized these people were people who could be trusted – better than those next to me, better than those next to my house. Some of them better than families. Well done! I had my men and the rendezvous I wanted. It taught me that life could be meaningful and exciting as the night closes and the day begins.
The internet thrilled arid fields of my activities . I didn’t know why. My friends laughed at me because I was really growing mad while I tell them stories about chatting. “Find a boyfriend? Why not? I could do that, I told a friend.” And so did I. I chose names from different sites and tried to match; flaming, crossing out, comparing names I felt were charming. I thought their names suggested something, I thought it meant something. Until, I clicked my mouse to an American chatmate, and got agitated when he shouted at me. “Whore!” I knew he shouted. The texts were in BOLD letters.
My blood rose to my head, “ Be careful of what you say!” I could not fight him to the hilt because I was new in the game. He kicked me out of his domain, and I didn’t expect he’d do that. I tried to get even with this rude character.
I shouted back at him…”You are ugly!” “Ugly!” “Ugly!” The colors of his letters changed in rage. He was so angry. And shouted again “Get out of my private!”
I was shocked, his words got into my nerves. I thought he was in front of me, and he made me feel nervous. I could slap his cheeks. I thought I’d shut down. But no ---
Instead, I chose another name, “Marksman.” I clicked on Marksman. Because I thought he could shoot him. I ran to him.
Marksman was Jake. Jake was an Indian. He was a Muslim. He lived in Kuwait.
“What’s the matter?” I told Jake, the American kicked me out of his domain because he shouted impolite words at me. He told me to relax, and so I calmed down. It was kind of getting instructed. The chatroom was in a commotion. Then Jake popped up to me in his kind words, “ It’s over. Don’t be furious sweety. Take a deep breath.” Jake saved me from the rude limping white mouse who was hiding in a black cloak.
Marksman and I had become the best of friends. We exchanged ideas and he gave me good literature. His words were profound, you know Indians are identified with the wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi and Teresa of Calcutta. I learned a lot from his one liners and tried to memorize his evoking thoughts. He told me that I would succeed. This gave me confidence. And from here I knew that there were good people around. It’s not because of ones race, or belief, or sex, or religion, or status in life, or even education, that people become friends but people become friends because they respect each other.
Jake was so amiable. He called me Florentine which means a beautiful flower. Jake was proud to tell me that he had lots of women on the net but he had only one wife. He observed Ramadan and other Muslim holidays.
Yakub was the Muslim name of Jake. I told Yakub “We’d watch the stars together.”
After Yakub, I found another bestfriend. His name was Norman. He was based in the United Kingdom. He lived in a house on top of a hill at Yorkshire. I could imagine his house like a castle. What’s fantastic to me was because the movie “Dracula” was shot on that place. And so I was sort of intrigued about this new friend Norman. “In Yorkshire, at night, the fog was a shade of purple,” Norman told me.
Norman was a paramedic. “My job required most of my time and what’s sad is because people only recognize us during emergencies.” Though he told me, that was okay because it’s a way serving people. He was devoted his work so much and told me stories about his job, his schedules, his promotion, his new car, his favorite things. Then he laughed out loud, typing the keys, “LOL.”
Norman was real romantic. He was the sweetest person, ever in this planet telling me about my possibilities and that I was the most beautiful girl in this world. He said he would move the world if I were ill, and would be devastated if I leave him. I fell in love with him on the net, and revealed my wounded soul. Here, I’ve realized that love is faceless (anonymous). Serving the other as in reciprocal love. No one using the other. It is reflective of the Divine (Carol Wotyla). Days and nights had passed, and I did not miss a day writing him. Sometimes we’d chat, sometimes we’d just leave IM’s (instant messages). I thought he was right in front of me. He was the husband I never had and he called me a wife. I promised him a lot of things. I even swore to him and had the guts of a divorce in my marriage after 3 years and I would fly and live with him in UK. We’ve known each other for more than a year and at the close of each day we’d say good night.
One time we had a fight because I crossed some limitations asking him to come and get me. He let me recognize I was too dependent on him and that we were just living our lives in fiction. That struck my head and split my skull.
The plight made me see that I lived quite a miserable state. It opened my eyes to examine my life. I wanted to deny the facts, but it was evident that my spouse had another family. My miserable marriage would in some time, freeze me alone. Fairy tales can’t come true. And cyberspace is abstract and intangible. Should I want to fulfill something – I have to accept my spouse doesn’t love me anymore. The root of this madness is the marriage problem, not the internet gigs, not my Englishman chatmate. And so for three nights and three days, my tears wouldn’t dry living my fiction.
I acted the protagonist who could not decide how to end the fate given her by the creator of the story. Day by day I constantly went online and was surprised on the fifth day checking my inbox: “I’ve got mail!” Norman was too good to start again our unfinished love story. He said I’m sorry and cheered me up. This time he tried to weave a better story for me. I thought we were Romeo and Juliet.
I felt so loved without exerting much effort, just typing on the keyboard: words, living words. I had that intense and affectionate feeling of being the only woman in Norman’s life, a woman who satisfied a lover, a woman with great power over a man to let her bleed and bloom. Norman made me a woman who exulted her man as the toughest among all men to conquer love at the apex of eternity.
He wrote me a letter:
“I could never chain you to my heart.
That would mean that you would forever be a prisoner of my love.
I want willingly to give your life to me.
Your embrace is my wish.
Your touch is my dream.
Your love my salvation.”
I was mesmerized! He held all my senses, he embedded my heart in his and his in mine. For me, this prose was the best poem of my life.
At 12 o’clock midnight, Philippine time, we would get online for five to ten minutes then he would go. We would communicate about us, about work, and some ideas – a lot more. It was worthwhile as I’ve learned a pattern of how an Englishman speaks, his culture, and how he treats a woman, just by the email exchanges. Norman was kind and unselfish of his time chatting to me, as if I was getting a tutorial online for free. And more than that, he made me feel like a dainty wine glass carved with diamonds. He told me he would kiss me anywhere, and would be so proud to have me in his arms, “And if just holding each other’s hand would still be special,” to make me happy.
I kept a journal of our love stories immersing in my dream fiction. From sunrise to sunset my thoughts would not free me, had I not written something and bled for words for Norman. Here – I regained the dignity I’ve lost. 1440 minutes a day, Norman became my real husband. I forgot my problems. I forgot my husband, his devilish mistress.
Norman’s love conquered space and time. His mwahs taught me about a kiss that breaks the glass of age into pieces. Our hearts became one and had thought if we could make love together. It was impossible! Although at times, I felt my ears red and my body weaker every time he teased me he wished for a release. He told me we could have sons and daughters, and if none, he would still love me. “As long as you are with me.” He promised “We would live in the shelter of our love and we would make love while the sun slides down slowly. Then we would sleep together while the stars watch over us and wake again to make love with the rising sun.” Norman was my dream.
Everyday I felt so excited and so beautiful. I was not the dumped wife. I was then the wife of an Englishman. Mrs. Peri.
For a year again we chatted and lived our perfect love story. Him - my husband, and me - his wife. There was that enchanting feeling of being loved and cared for. And though the oceans parting us from different lands, I could never betray him. “Take care of my heart.” He always reminded me. “My love is for you alone.”
How would one contend with this madness? Of living in books? Of living in fairy tales? Of living a life on the net, without seeing, without knowing, and without real touching. Soulmates should I say, or could he be a creature like me? Dying for words? I knew how to differentiate fiction from nonfiction, but now I’m forgetting the rules. Am I getting crazy?
One day my spouse came home at dawn, and noticed me getting online those sleepy hours. He didn’t care. Neither did I. He often mocked, “Stop imagining things!” He exclaimed that I was a deranged writer who could never be satisfied with reality. I was imperfect and I was almost like a chip in the computer programmed for stories. I couldn’t have flesh, I couldn’t have urges, I couldn’t smack, I couldn’t satisfy. I’m only good at words, and that is all. His friends teased I was not a woman, embarrassed by the thought of accused frigidity, maybe.
While time passed by, my situation became more transparent to Norman. I asked him if we could really be together should I get an annulment. He confused me with a vague answer, “ I could not break your marriage vow, it is sacred.”
What? I turned pale and unbelieving. He was playing up…
He swooned me, got into my soul, melted my heart – let me believe our love was real now he’s telling me he couldn’t break my marriage vow? He couldn’t fight for me.
His arrogance showed like his well-chiseled pointed nose, “Don’t you know I was just making you feel good? How could you think I would marry you for real? I thought it was clear we were just making up fiction?”
I wanted to kill myself at his insensitivity. How belittling his strong words went through at me, then leaving me with a blank space. That time, I hoped I would never wake up. My marriage was a failure. And now my love affair is a fake. Love dries up on me. My lovers come and go leaving unexplained memories, drowning me in tears of remembering dreams that would never come true - so my flashes of reverie.
Norman swore to me “I adore you.” He was at my disposal.
“I am yours and you are mine. I think of you and yearn for your touch every waking moment. My heart is yours till the sun fades from the sky for the very last time...”
I lament this lying poetry. He lied to me like Genaro. I am one stupid woman.
For several days I was out of touch. I felt I was one of the most repressed persons on earth where I could not email and chat. I forgot my other friends and denied my global community on the World Wide Web (www).
Still, some friends emailed me but I didn’t email back. “Whats up? Why aren’t you getting online now? Keep in touch and take good care of yourself.”
Yes, my friends cared for me a bit, too. But I wouldn’t tell them anymore. I couldn’t figure out the limits from hereon. I felt so broken for weeks, couldn’t escape what I’ve been through. It would be funny and unreasonable for people to know that a deadly computer virus hit me, maybe a damaging Trojan lurking in my soul, crashing my humanity, feasting on my breath.
“Heaven please give me dignity!”
For months I never emailed. I swore I wouldn’t go back to my inbox, never ever. A guy tricked me again! I curse Adam. How I thirst for the male blood and urging to burn his flesh. But then, the internet isn’t human. They’re just wires. I should never be affected. I should understand…
As I am locked in an inadequate marriage, the romance of my life is only an untouchable fulfilling shadow of an earth of technology under the sky.
If for times I had happiness with this creeping madness, then I would sign in. Chat again. Maybe science would extend Norman, once my haven and a dummy, zoom another Norman in tiles and icons, chips and softwares, around space and time. And sometime, online - we would find each other; or, I would find another him among millions chatting, an offspring perhaps, for the rest of my life.
Note: The names and identities of persons here are not true. This is a fiction story.
copyright rose flores - martinez 2009