Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I closed the top of the laptop and rubbed my eyes.  Rays of sunlight were peeking through the crease in the heavy fabric drapes that covered the windows.  I could hear the sound of water as it cascaded through the pipes on the walls from the room upstairs as some unknown face was taking a shower.  The faintly familiar sounds of a TV in the next room invaded my thoughts.  A glance at the night stand and my heart skipped a beat.  6:47.  Could it be right?  I reached over and picked up the watch that my wife had bought for me earlier that summer on a weekend get away to Spokane.  A gift to congratulate me for my new job.  The big hand moving toward the number ten.  Where had the time gone?

I got up off the bed, my back sore from the awkward position that I’d spent the night in.  Looking at the bed, the pillows propped against the headboard so I could see the screen on the computer as my fingers had danced on the keyboard for…how long had it been?  Eight hours? Nine?  Ten?  I rolled my neck to break down the kinks as I slowly walked to the bathroom.  The razor scratched across the day’s growth as I went through the morning ritual.  The blade gliding across skin, carried by a hand moving only by memory.  Eyes looking in the mirror, but not seeing.  A mind remembering, not the contours of my face but of three hours that had passed by far too quickly.

Awkward introductions.

yea, i live in ga…it kinda sucks here
I’ve never been to the Southeast.  I think it would be cool to live there.
lol?  What does that mean?
ur kiddin, rite?  laugh out loud  it means ur funny
Oh, ok.  I’m sorry.  This is just all new to me. You’re the first person I’ve ever chatted with.
its kewl  so where u from
I live inwhat do I tell him? Where I really live…or can I?  The words hanging on my screen.  Seattle, in Washington State.  A small lie.  I do live in Washington State.
kewl…with that space needle, rite?
Yeah, I’ve been up in it a few times.  You can see forever.
damm id probly puke  I don’t like hights
I’m kind of afraid of heights, too.  It’s true, but it’s not something that I’ve ever admitted before.  It was so easy to tell this boy that I’d never met…actually didn’t even know existed an hour ago.
yea when I was little my older asshole brother dared me clim up on the roof of the house with him an when I was up there he grabbed my arm and pretended to push me off but held me.  i thought i was gonna die its like i coudnt even breath for a few minutes  i h8d him for at least a week  lol
Dude, you’re kidding?  Dude?  Did I actually just call him that? That’s terrible.  He could have accidently let go.  Did you scream or cry or anything?
lol yea  i thought  was gonna pee my pants tbh
Lol.  Yeah, I bet.  I probably would have too?   Tbh?  My mind scrambled.  What could it mean?  I hated feeling ignorant…of not understanding what he was saying. 
yea dude?
I feel kind of stupid for asking, but what does tbh mean?
rofl  ur kiddin rite?
I could feel my face flush, the heat from the blood rushing to the skin.  I’d felt that same heat many times before.  The embarrassment of feeling stupid or different.  A part of me…a huge part of me wanted to slam the laptop closed and throw it across the room.  But there was something in the way the words hung on the screen.  Maybe because I couldn’t hear them…I couldn’t hear an intonation, the heat receded.
I’m sorry, John.  I’m not kidding.  I’ve never seen “tbh” before, or “rofl” either. 
its kewl rofl means roll on the floor laughing.  its like its super funny
OK, that makes sense.
tbh means to be honest
Thanks.  Looks like I’ve got a lot to learn.
lol, but its kewl.  Ill teach u J
hey dude, i gtg  its almost 10 here
lol got to go do u have email so we can chat some more
He wants my e-mail address.  He wants to talk to me again.  I couldn’t give him my AOL e-mail address.  I quickly opened a new webpage and went to Yahoo.  I filled in the text boxes, making up the person as I went.  Name: Josh Tyler  Date of Birth:  March 6, 1985.  I created a password and I had an account.
Yeah, do you have one?
We exchanged e-mails and suddenly his name disappeared from the chat room.  I was alone.  A sadness washed over me.  I felt alone. 

I reached out and turned off the water.  The spray from the shower subsided…water dripping off my hand as I reached for the towel, my mind still thinking about the night in the chat room with John.  Three letters rolling over and over.  “tbh”.   What had I done?

1 comment:

Deb Shucka said...

So glad to find another story here this morning. In many ways, these pieces are even more compelling than your prison stories. Showing how a person can go from "normal" to where you ended up is chilling in so many ways. I know many if not most men will see themselves in your words. Keep writing dearest brother. I'm so proud of you, both as a healed human and as a writer. I love you.