When AOL was all the rage, and pretty much the only way to connect with people online, I joined the Community.
I visited chat rooms. I even talked to a few people. I visited private chats and realized why they wanted private chats and left the room.
My daughter and I surfed the web and laughed at a lot at what we saw and at most of what people had to say or show. It was like a side show without going to the circus.
I did make some friends that will last my lifetime, and I would often get an IM as I was learning my way around the computer.
My favorite person just happened to be a minister and he would often prank me by using another name. We had a good time. (I even got to meet his family once so no one can think it was anything other than friendship.) He often said he kept me going up and I kept him firmly planted on the ground.
One day I got an IM. We chatted back and forth for about ten minutes. He was telling me about a problem he was having with his son and I was listening.
We discussed my daughter and he asked about my new apartment.
When it came time for him to go to work, he signed off with a ‘rose’ he had created with keyboard symbols and a TTFN.
“Wait.” I typed quickly. “You aren’t who I thought you are.”
“Come on, Kathy. I really need to go to work.”
“But I’m not Kathy. I’m Sherry.”
He must have looked a little closer at the names that were popping up. “I guess I made a mistake. I’m sorry.”
“Me too.” And I was. “But it was nice chatting with you.”
Two days later, I had just got home from work and turned on my computer. The familiar, ‘you got mail’ sign came up. I opened it up and there was a strange person I didn’t know. I read the header line. ‘It’s me. The mistake.”
I laughed and read the e-mail.
I finally had the opportunity to meet this man who had become a big part of my life. We had laughed at the same things. We shared the death of one of his favorite people. I shared his grief over his father. I shared his deepest thoughts over why he couldn’t find a woman. He shared his wanting to ‘f–k up my ex’ over what he done to me. He asked me out a couple of times.
I kept telling him. “Honey, you ain’t ready for me yet.”
I was at a conference and happened to look at the area code on the phone. It was the same area code of his number. I opened my phone and called him. I told him where I was and asked if he knew the place. He said he did. And forty five minutes later, my friend was there.
Imagine my surprise when a man with hair down to his waist, black leather jacket, biker boots, a fumanchu, (Did I spell that right?) and back side hugging jeans, got out of the car. I almost ran. I had never seen a picture of him or him of me.
I swallowed hard and walked over to him, with my hand extended. “John?”
About that time two heads peeked out of the car. A beautiful little girl of about 5 and a little boy I knew to be 7. I realized that he couldn’t be as tough as he looked if he brought his children with him.
The four of his sat at that little restaurant for the next two hours. When his daughter began to yawn he put his hand over mine and leaned toward me. “I’ve had such a great time.”
I smiled. “Me too.”
“I’d really like to see you again, but without the kids.”
John kissed me before he left. “I think you are stunning. All I can say about who you are and what you are is WOW.” He whispered in my ear.
His daughter looked around him and said, “My daddy kisses all his girlfriends like that.”
We lived 150 miles apart yet for the next five weeks one of us made the trip. We talked every day on the phone, which wasn’t anything new, and I realized how much this man had come to mean to me over those two years of friendship.
Six weeks from the day we saw each other for the first time, we moved in together. I transferred my work to his area.
It has now been over twenty years since I first met him. We’ve co-joined two families and if asked we tell them we have 8 children, 12 grandchildren and 1 soon to be great grand child. He no longer kisses other girlfriends, only me.
What started out as a mistaken identity, turned out to be a moment of clarity for me.
I realized I may not need this man and I could live without him, but I did fall in love and like and I want to share the rest of my life with him.
In case you’re wondering. The day we got married, he cut his hair and shaved the whiskers. He decided it was time to grow up and be respectable. I laughed. I loved him for who he was; not what he looked like.
But I have to admit, he still looks pretty good when he’s walking away, and I never could resist a muscular back and shoulders or a tight butt.
Drool all you want. He’s mine.