“Maybelle54” awoke a little past her usual time of rising. Surprisingly, she was a little lighter in spirit than she would have imagined? Maybe it had something to do with that snowy dream where some guy was driving her to the mall down wide snow filled suburban thoroughfares under a brilliantly blue late morning sky. She couldn’t remember just who he was but she knew that she had felt safe and well cared for by him. The wide tableau bedroom window revealed the fact of snowy bluster as she arose from the bed. “How curious?”, she thought that the weather this morning should almost match that of her dream? She felt lazy in an unaccustomed kind of way that she had not felt for some time? Was it her emotional endorphins kicking in after a particularly sleepless last night? She looked over into her daughter Betty’s room all perfect in the light of morning glow. The sun and sky outside must be exceptionally clear outside as she passed by on her way to the kitchen to rustle up come some life out of the coffee pot. Life wasn’t really that bad even if you were alone she thought as she basked in the latent feeling of the dream. As long as there was someone out there that still wanted to talk to her. Someone who thought she was still worth something and not a toss off to the rocking chair. She heard a chime from the other room abruptly break the blissful atmosphere. “God I hate that damn jarring sound!”, she grimaced. Another email or whatever. She’d have to remember to learn from Doris, her other daughter who was the computer genius how to change that the next time she called. She had been so upset last night, she must have forgotten to turn the dam thing off. “Damn thing?”, she heard herself say. The computer wasn’t the problem. It was she who was the real problem getting roped into wasting time on that damn online dating site. She had avoided spending a dime up to now by not buying in to the ‘Advanced’ features of “Body Type” and “Attractiveness”. How could they tell that anyhow? If someone was going to try to fool you then they would just put up a phony ‘Photoshopped’ picture. How could anyone get through the lies online anyhow? She continued to wonder aloud why she seemed to be getting hooked as if somehow she was holding a mock trial of her foolish emotions? But deep down it was obvious to all the sides of her nature that the real reason was the exercise of scanning through the photos and reading their stories gave her a comfort that she wasn’t the only one who was alone and hoping for more. Seeing the same old faces and the incremental changes that some of them made to their little section of the site was almost like belonging to a special set of those who, however incompatible, were still like her intimately connected in a very special intimate and unique way. There was nothing to be ashamed of in expressing your hopes and desires to them, The ones that reappeared again and again. They were more likely to understand as they were most certainly going through the same fears but forging ahead none the less. Perhaps the majority of them weren’t what you called winners but at least they were still trying!
“JimmyJet53” was in his pickup truck going to the mall again. He knew that he had gotten most of what he needed the other day but there was always something else that he could find on the shelves. He also knew that he needed to go back there for his own sense of curiosity and pride. Pride, because he wasn’t going to let some woman scare him away from places that he had every right to be in. And curiosity because, well, he wanted to see her close up, if indeed, she would be there at all to confront. He was going there on a hunch alone. Not from any real knowing or hint from the Internet that had provided him with special knowledge but simply to vindicate some small part of this own existence. He found himself surprisingly edgy at several intersections when other ‘slow poke’ drivers interfered with his travel with cell phones obviously pressed hard upon their ears. “God I hate people like that!”, he spit out aloud as he pressed the gas pedal even harder expertly swerving around them just ahead of oncoming traffic who had to back down. He turned into the parking lot of the mall a little slower than usual realizing that he had to slow down a bit as the other driver’s irritating him weren’t worth the speeding ticket. He parked the car a little further down from the supermarket’s main entrance than he wold have liked. Trudging up the aisle of diagonal cars he scanned meticulously back and forth as casually as he could without feeling too possessed. “This was nuts!”, a little voice told himself but another little devil, on the shoulder opposite just turned the other way towards an imaginary store shelf way in the back. The store aisles were fairly crowded and he had to push his mostly empty cart around defensively as other more committed shoppers coming from the opposite directions played ‘chicken’. It was irritating and the threat of the mild outburst of a frown on his face prevented him from doing more than just heaving over to let the more impatient pass. He strained his eyes further down towards the registers on one side of the store and then back the other way at the aisles’ end to the meat counter. There was no sign of her and he felt vindicated in some small internal way that he was safely anonymous within his own neighborhood again. But a flash of a face down the service counter dispelled that emotion just as quickly. He couldn’t be sure but another full transit of the store’s fourteen aisles turned up nothing His sense of inner tension had returned. Finding himself by the door and realizing that it was bordering upon ridiculous to keep cruising a third time, he left the partially filled basket by the door and walked out. As he stormed down the aisles nearly reaching his car he looked over to the next aisles and saw her loading groceries into the gate of a SUV. Just as he was going to make an abrupt halt he realized that it was not her but someone that merely shared a feature or two. He felt angry with himself for having even come out here in the first place and trudged back to his own car started it up and slowly backed out of the spot traveling bact to his own home.
The message came through on the computer at about eleven twenty five when she was just cleaning up the breakfast dishes. The tag line announced, “JimmyJet53″ has sent you a message!” “JimmyJet53″”JimmyJet53″”?”, she pondered. “Was that the guy that?”, as she played a little game of faulty memory with herself. She had to go through the pretense of an act to show herself that she was in control. And that she wasn’t so ‘fall to pieces’ happy that someone had responded to her message that she would be putty to any suggestion on his part. She turned the computer back on and after the usual ritual of log-in and password and switching over to the ‘classic’ version of the site went to ‘Messages’ to see what he had wrote. She steadied herself a bit as she put on her ‘reasonable and proper’ game face before letting her eyes descent to the result of the last button push. “Hey! Sorry I missed you the other day!” “My name is Jim” “I just got back from out of town and saw your message.” “Curious if I’ve seen you around some place before?” “From what I see in your profile, we live nearby each other?” She sat there for a while sifting through the lines in the usual way that an expert CIA operative might trying to decipher any off-putting hidden innuendos so as to make sure that she could take whatever this guy had to say seriously. “At least he gave me a first name right up front!”, she thought aloud. “Seen me around some place?”, she read aloud. “God dammit you know you have!”, her demeanor descending into a tiny fit. “What a pretender this guy is and he has the nerve to play games to boot!” it really set her off to think that this guy thought she was so stupid! If he had just said it straight out that he HAD seen her, she might have some respect for him? “Live near by?!” she chewed. “I couldn’t live far enough away!”