As long as her fingers were steady she could pass her life through the eye of a needle without touching the edges. Her life, if it could be called a life, had grown thin with time. Fear had whittled her down to almost nothing. She was ravenous.
She sat in front of her computer unfocused, semi-transparent, soggy with tears. She dug her fingers into the keyboard, each keystroke emitting a satisfying click. Her black words ate away at the white page bit by painstaking bit. She never wrote more than a few lines before compulsively proofreading and she never finished what she wrote. Her ideas grew fat and then just when she found herself unable to move or breathe they burst out of her liquid-heavy and quasi-digested.
Sometimes when she wrote she forgot the smallness of her life. The phone beside her chirruped. She started, favoring the photograph in front of her with a grin that fell somewhere between sheepish and wry. She expected to see the name of her friend and if not her friend then some random, unasked for notification. What she actually saw was beyond comprehension. She recognized the name at once. He had never messaged her from his private account. She was blocked from his private account. Her heart squeezed forcing all that glorious human warmth into her face. Her heart beat made it impossible to think or hear. Her hands shook. She waited. One breath. Two breaths. “Please don’t be mistaken. Please don’t let me fuck up and delete it.”
Three breaths. She clicked the message. It was just one sentence long. “I can’t stop thinking about you.” Had he sent it to her by mistake? No, there were too many obstacles for that to be the case. The message was for her.
A dozen possible responses flapped impotently through her mind. She might never have another chance to tell him how she felt. She might send him reeling backwards if she told him even a fraction of what she felt.
“I’ve been thinking about you too.” She looked at her words and cringed. The letters were too sharp, too cold to convey her feelings.
“I am glad to hear it…” His thought hung suspended between them punctuated with a mischievous wink. She felt, had always felt, that he knew much more than he let on. In their previous conversation he’d dropped a few subtle hints. Hints that she had requested of him in their telepathic conversations. She hadn’t known then how to acknowledge his hints without exposing herself. Her feelings were disproportionate, too large to contain within herself. Everytime her fingers hit the keys she risked a confession. How could she tell a man that she had never met that he was not a stranger, that theirs was a once-in-lifetime connection?
He continued. She erased her inept, partially constructed response.
“Did you get the package?” He asked. Once many months ago he had sent her a package, a sweater. She had ordered it from his online store but he knew that already. She had sent him a picture of the item in some bizarre, misguided attempt at generating a personal connection.
“What package?” She hadn’t placed an order with him since. Had there been some clerical error? Had he sent something else to her? Was he returning the gift she had sent him?
“I sent you a gift for your birthday.”
She had never told him her birthday, at least, never out loud. Information like that could be obtained pretty easily with a Google search but what cause had he to look it up? What else did he know about her? Did he know about their secret relationship? The telepathic conversations? The dreams? The psychic encounters? Her frequent masturbation sessions?
“Really?” She asked stupidly.
“Really, really.” He answered with a smiley face. ‘I know everything.’ The voice inside her head was not her own. It was his voice, at least, it was the voice she associated with him. A gorgeous, disembodied voice that existed only within her mind.
“Everything?!” She had not meant to type it. Her words looked loud. Could he hear them? Her fingers had a terrible habit of conveying whatever popped into her mind. She had stories filled with partial grocery lists and stray thoughts. She had stories instead of memories. She ate stories everyday with her breakfast. She dreamed the most glorious stories into being every night. She was a story made human. She could make, be, do, have anything so long as she typed.
“Everything.” He repeated. She stared for a long time at the cracked screen. Everything was incomprehensible. Everything was like the night sky or the open ocean, vast beyond comprehension. He didn’t understand the breadth and gravity of his confession. She had a version of him that she kept all to herself. He was her best friend. Her lover. Her everything. Everything implied participation, conscious awareness, reciprocity.
“Have you ever dreamt about me?” She asked tentatively. She was filled edge to edge with echoes. Her skin was alive with sinister vibrato, with a pulse so deep and fast that it threatened to shake her apart.
“As much as you dream about me.” He answered. His words read shy and unguarded. He’d admitted telepathically to being shy the first time they had talked. Shyness had kept him from saying too much. Shyness too had been the reason for her cryptic awkwardness but shyness was not really a quality she attributed to him. ‘Say something.’ She heard his voice in her head again.
“Then you know?” She sent the words to him. The question mark bobbing before him like a loaded hook. Would he bite? ‘What we are.’ She said to herself, to him too if he was scanning her thoughts.
“I know what we are, what you are to me. I know so you don’t have to hold back anymore. Just talk to me like you always do. Like you mean it.”