Miss Pinks and I became inseparable very quickly. We both always had our phones with us, and through Texts, Facebook, Twitter, Ping! and Whatsapp, we were in near constant communication.
Our guards were down. Why put up a guard against someone that’s just words on a screen? We talked. We were open about everything. At any moment I could have told you where she was and what she was doing, and she could have told you about me. Later that summer when work had me working in a communications blackout for 12 hours at a stretch, I snuck my phone in. There was no way I was going to be out of touch.
We grew to understand each other. There was a wavelength that we operated on that meant I felt my own thoughts and feelings were being reflected back at me.
Yet still neither of us put up a guard.
One night, at around one in the morning as she was heading home in a taxi after her birthday celebrations she texted as she had all evening. As the journey drew to a close, I said “Goodnight my delightful Miss Pinks.” and she answered “You make me feel delightful.”
Quite without warning, my heart took flight. I had no idea I had developed feelings for this stranger. Certainly not that would cause such a ‘flip’. I’m not sure whether I was more thrilled that she’d said something I could interpret as her liking me, or surprised at the realisation that I desperately wanted her to like me. But there was no doubt after that night our relationship changed. No longer was Miss Pinks a nobody on the screen.
Her boyfriend of 7 years, Mr Dry and my wife of twice that, had no reason to be suspicious. Miss Pinks and I were both heavy open users of our phones. Adding texts to each other wasn’t a noticeable increase.
She and I never did the dance that you do when you first meet someone. We didn’t talk around the idea of becoming more than friends, we didn’t ask all the personal history questions you would in a bar. We already knew we were more than friends, and the history wasn’t a factor. Only our present situations.
We did a dance, though, but we did it together. The ‘Shall we meet’ dance.
There was so much at risk. What if we met and there was no chemistry, no attraction beyond the words? Would we still be able to be us on the screen? What if we met and there was the chemistry? What if we got on just as well face to face as we did on screen? That was a far more daunting prospect. That would change everything for both of us.