By Chaitali Sinha
I have this online friend of mine. I know him very well.
We started our first conversation on farting and puking - and our mutual appreciation of both important mechanisms, on January 27, 2007. Looking back over our eloquent talks, "LOL, :P, :D, hahahaha" were our favorite fillers. We eagerly shared all our Youtube links, and my knowledge of music quickly grew to include Porcupine Tree and the Fray. We learnt to have pillow fights with "-smacks-" and "-throws-" and I quickly realized India is considered a poor country, really.
He was from the UK, you see. So one day, we would be discussing the finer points of Rene Descartes' while on most days, I would suggest different hair color experimentation. He would explain to me, it was okay to drink at 16, and shake his head in wonder when I explained our oft-odd rituals.
He wanted to be a writer, eventually. We used to discuss, disseminate and analyze each other's works.
X : "No waii!"
Our conversations were enlightening, in the least. One would think, if you talk to the same person for two years or more, you would know him, right? Right?
I don't know. Salinger, Jane Eyre mention superficiality in eras not replete with iPods, Macs or the Internet. ( God, how did they survive...? )
Well, he was nice enough. He made me laugh at times. I got into the habit of saying, "lol" aloud. I guess, in most ways, even honest. He shared details with me, most of his real friends or boyfriends did not know.
I'm assuming he noticed that it would be hard for me to travel 10,000 miles or more, knock on his door and let slip his little secrets.
I would giggle and say, "Ooh, did you know he was the one who spilt the wine on your white bear rug, Claire?"
I would term it "inter-ficiality." No, that doesn't make any sense. "Anony-ficiality"? Closer.
Our bond didn't develop due to mutual interests in Linkin Park, Descartes or snot alone - but the fact that I was too far away to shake and rattle his life, the stable rhythms of his time with my new-found knowledge.
He could even imagine stuff and tell me. I didn't need evidence to believe he went to meet Chester Bennington last night, but hey, it could be true. Hey, he could dream.
He died a week ago.
His mom got his Messenger acct. from the whole "next of kin" thing. I'm not sure how that works. Anyway, she came online, and she gave me the biggest shock of my life.
He didn't have any goddamn red hair.
He was my online friend. I didn't know him at all.