Estimated reading time: 3 minutes —
Andrea66 Resident sent you a notecard.
He hesitated, his heart hammering wildly while the notecard loaded. It covered half of the screen, a sarcastic metaphor sneering at his life.
I sit here where we usually sit, waiting. I sit here, wondering.
An ocean parts our two worlds, an ocean filled with smiles and expectations. Today, I sit here, hoping.
Meeting in a world of cartoon figures and plastic dolls was nothing but a game at first. The parties, the dancing, the joking, the flirting, the shopping, the dressing up, it was all a game. Then feelings crept up unexpectedly and there was love. The realization of being in love with someone I had never met face to face was a shock to me, probably to you too.
Remember that day at the club, when we met for the first time and your friends made fun of us, because we were wearing the same black noobie T-shirt with some crazy green texture I thought was a dragon and you said was an alien? Remember how we spent the rest of the night talking about virtual worlds and how they would become the future, regardless of bad fashion and cryptic green drawings? Remember we logged out and the sun was already shining outside, here and, across the ocean, where you are?
We talked about everything with the sheer joy of having no concerns or false morals lurking at the back of our minds. We laughed together, we traveled together, we walked through foreign lands, we raced fast cars and went sailing, we invaded strangers’ homes only to discover there was such a thing as a sex bed and felt slightly embarrassed, I am not sure if about the sex bed or invading someone else’s property.
We built a house. That house became a home.
Then we got married. We gathered our friends and threw a smashing party. We danced, we danced, we danced some more, and we made love. The likelihood of that other tedious life invading this world of dreams and happiness never crossed our minds. And we bought a HUD so we could kiss and hold hands. We giggled when others looked at us holding hands and kissing and loving and being happy. And we made love. This is our world.
Day after day, the sweet feeling of belonging grew stronger. Our friends got so used to seeing us together that one didn’t exist without the other. Where one was, the other had to be. Two inseparable halves, we tread this virtual world, and how far we have evolved in our approach to style since that green and black T-shirt! Being happy is too good to end!
But I worry. You didn’t show up, a day, two, and many more. Did life take over?
I wonder. Life? Isn’t life what we are living together?
I too have a so-called life, children, a husband, a job. I too have the dull routines of going to the supermarket, taking the car I hate to the garage, cooking the dinner I’ll gobble down just to be with you and doing the dreary laundry. I too have a garden I don’t like to take care of, a nosy next door neighbor who is curious about everything and has heard more than she should have. I too have a house. Yes, a house. It is not like our house… It is not a home.
This virtual world is so real, more than our other worlds. Isn’t it? And no one is going to take it away from us.
I sit here where we usually sit, waiting.
He read the notecard twice.
He would miss her terribly. He would miss the days spent together, a role-play script written and performed by both. Despite the growing feeling of being under siege, of living a fantasy that was surreptitiously taking over reality, how sweet it was, to turn the computer on and have a smile waiting for him, no concerns, no arguments, no screams, and no hesitations about daily life affairs, bills to pay and job issues. He would miss Andrea, yes, he would.
Save or Delete? His finger hovered above the enter button for a few seconds…
Yes. Delete. It was too dangerous. His wife somehow managed to discover his unwarily simple password (how stupid he had been…) and found out about his second life, his second love. There was a big commotion; threats of separation if everything didn’t end immediately. And she meant it.
However, amidst the storm, a wave of relief took him by surprise. It was over. He could now go back to living a simple life.
Are you sure you want to quit? inquired the viewer. Yep. Quit, never to use this account again. He really didn’t need the love of his life, first or second, did he?
Tonight he would take his wife out for dinner. Later, when she was fast asleep, he would create a new account (mental note to self: come up with a far more complicated password this time, a password no one would figure out). He could go back to clubbing and flirting. It was uncomplicated, it was simple. He would have a third life, another chance.
He would even look Andrea up, and check on her without her knowing that it was him, just for the fun of it, he decided, unaware that Andrea’s Second Life would become part of her past and that he would never see her again.