Online relationships are so common these day. Here’s a piece I wrote to show how complicated connecting online can be sometimes!
“Meet me tomorrow?”
Leanne had to read this line twice before she comprehended what he had typed. She had been chatting with Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up for two weeks now, but was surprised that he wanted to meet face to face. She had felt an instant connection with him. Their conversation was crazy, fun and harmless. Just what she needed to get her mind off Felix and the state of their marriage.
“How did it all go so wrong with our marriage? Leanne wondered.
Life had been going well even if they lived in a small apartment in a not-so-great neighbourhood. They both worked hard. Evenings were spent cooking together, catching some television and just talking. They had hoped to build up their savings in a few years to buy a larger apartment to accommodate that big family they had always planned. Somehow, their savings could never keep pace with the rising prices of property. This was the one thing that got them down.
“Are you still there?” Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up typed.
“Yes.” Leanne typed back hesitantly. “I’m thinking.”
“I’m not pushing you. There’s no hurry. But I would really like to meet you, Ms-Glass-Half-Empty.” he said, adding a smiley at the end of the sentence. “I can never understand your nickname,” he continued. “You seem so positive. Isn’t it funny that my nickname is just the opposite of yours? I will never give up!”
Leanne’s thoughts went back to her marriage. The problems started four months ago, when Felix started working long hours. Instead of the usual 6 pm, he had started coming home at 11 pm. Even later, some nights. He hardly ever answered his mobile phone after 6 pm. When he did, he was always in a hurry and she could hear a lot of voices in the background. This seemed strange especially since her calls to his office went to the switchboard and all she got was a recorded voice, saying they were closed for the day. When she questioned Felix about the background noise, he told her that he and a few colleagues had gone to catch a bite just when she called. It all started to seem terribly fishy to Leanne.
These days, Felix always came back too tired to talk. After a couple of weeks of waiting up for him, Leanne decided not to bother and now went to bed before he got home. He let himself in and she didn’t bother to keep track of what time he got home. She had also stopped cooking and started to order in – pizza, Chinese or Indian. Some nights she went to sleep on an empty stomach. These bad eating habits were causing her to put on weight.
Felix got up later and later each morning and was consequently in a rush. No time for breakfast together too. No time to talk. No time for each other.
Resentment started to build up and Leanne felt their marriage steadily going down the tube. To his credit, for the first two months, Felix had tried to make it up to her on the weekends. Then, inexplicably he started to work on the weekends. When she questioned him, he said, “Think about how all these extra hours will convert into savings, sweetheart. We’ll get our house sooner now.” Leanne wasn’t impressed. “Damn the house,” she said angrily. Felix just smiled nonchalantly.
Two months ago, during some downtime at work, Leanne signed on to Friendship.com. This was the site where she had first met Felix. It was not a dating site, but when they connected here, their friendship soon turned to love. Leanne decided to use her old nickname, Ms-Glass-Half-Empty. Strangely, back then, Felix had the nickname Mr-Glass-Half-Full. Their meeting seemed destined to be. Until recently, whenever she grumbled about something he teasingly called her Ms-Glass-Half-Empty. When she signed back on the site, she meant to just browse. However, soon she found herself getting into chats with a couple of women and then she connected with Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up. He was friendly, funny and married! “But what does that matter,” thought Leanne, “we’re just friends connecting online.”
Now, he wanted to meet and so did she. She was lonely and longed for good company and light-hearted banter. “The kind of stuff Felix and I enjoyed until he spoiled it all.” Leanne thought.
“Okay. Let’s meet” she typed. “But where and when?”
“Tomorrow evening at 6 pm? At that new cafe, Coffee & More?” Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up responded immediately.
“I’ve never been there,” she said. “I heard that it’s good. It opened about six months ago, didn’t it?” Leanne asked.
“About four months now,’ he responded.
“How will I know you?” she asked.
“I’m the evening manager of the cafe,” he typed. “You can’t miss me! But just in case, I’ll wear a red rose in my buttonhole!”
“See you at 6 tomorrow evening,” she replied.
Leanne thought it kind of strange that he wanted to meet her at his workplace. “That’s his problem,” she thought.”For one thing it will be a safe place to meet!”
The next day, Mr-I-Won’t-Give-Up was not online and Leanne wondered whether to keep her date or not. “It’s not a date,” she told herself. “We’re both married. Just friends….”
Always punctual, Leanne walked into Coffee & More at 6 pm. There he was sitting at a table grinning at her. Suddenly, Leanne felt giddy, as he got up and walked towards her. Gently he led her to the table. “I said I will never give up, didn’t I, Ms-Glass-Half-Empty?” said Felix.