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| There Ain't No Justice |
| #74 |
- HER -
by Tal Meta
It just happens.
Life, that is. As I get older, I can see it happening, time going by, the
world warping around me. Which is a good thing. I used to fear change...
thought that what i had was something to cling too, to grasp for all i was
worth. Now I can let go, let things happen and not try to be the one
holding back the tide.
But, like a tide, things run in cycles. Nothing is ever truly over, at
least, not that I have ever been able to detect. People I wrote off years
ago are still affecting me, causing me to do things without my even
realizing that they are still influencing me.
I have had cause lately to question how I got where I am today, and
realized that I can trace the last 5 years of my life back to one event.
That the event in question was both momentous and disasterous only sharpens
my appreciation of its power. I could, if I wanted too, trace the event
back even farther, to its true, root cause... 5 years earlier than that...
well, perhaps I will. The number 5 figures promenently here. Some people
might draw conclusions from that...
It all began with a letter....
I was in Basic Training. Two weeks into my "programming", as they say. Head
shaved, my clothing taken from me and replaced by shapeless green fatigues,
no free time to think for myself. In a word, Hell. One afternoon when I
actually had some time to myself, I decided to write some letters, if only
to maintain some kind of contact with the outside world. After I'd written
to all the standard people (Mom, two or three of the girls I hung out with
in HS) I wrote one more. And so I sealed my doom.
She was a woman I had always felt uneasy about. Not frightened, per se, but
the moment I first layed eyes on her I knew SHE would be trouble. When we
had parted midway in HS, SHE had given me her address. In the intervening
years, I had never written her. That day, I did. I hadn't brought her
address with me... It simply popped into my head, unbidden.
It was a standard "Hi, how ya doing?" kind of thing. It was the first. Her
letters chased me from assignment to assignment, and eventually were
replaced by phone calls. I don't remember how much I spent on phone calls
back then. (If only I had known about phreaking THEN!) But it was alot.
We'd talk for hours, several times a week. I began to care for her again.
That uneasy feeling returned, and I gave it a name. Love.
I was young, I was in love... I asked her to marry me. She ALMOST said yes.
But SHE didn't love me. I was determined, though. And, three and a half
years later, several thousand dollars worth of phone calls later, SHE
finally told me that SHE had fallen for me. For the next year and a half, I
was in heaven. And then, almost five years after it had all begun, it
I'm not going to go into the details of exactly how, or why. Thats none of
your damn business. But SHE left me. I felt as though half of my soul had
been ripped away. Maybe more than half. But I survived, after a fashion...
That first night, I drank. I went to the ATM, withdrew about half the money
I'd been saving towards an engagement ring, (i.e. all it would let me) and
went to a local bar and proceeded to get stinking drunk. As i walked home
that night along the beach, in the snow, I contemplated suicide. I was
going to swim to France. The fact that it was January and the water
temperature was about 30 degrees didn't bother me too much. Although, in
the end, I didn't do it. Living has become a bad habit of mine... I've
really grown rather attached to it over the years.
I called out sick the next day, spent it drinking and watching cartoons on
TV. I bought a carton of cigarettes. Decided to start smoking. (She'd
always hated people who smoked). Spent the next night drinking too. It was
a good three days before I caught myself laughing at something, and I
decided then that I might, indeed, live afterall. Life went on.
Over the next few months, I did lots of silly things. I followed her. I'd
lie in the brush across the street from her house and watch her come and
go. She never saw me. (I was tops in my class at Survival School in Escape
& Evasion!) I'd leave roses under her windshield wiper at work, at the
skating rink, anywhere where i could get in and out without getting caught.
Eventually, I stopped... well, let it dwindle off, anyway. Spent the other
half of my engagement ring fund on a computer.....
And began the second five year cycle. Instead of following HER around, I
began to play with the computer. Bought lots of games. Bought a modem.
Learned how to use it. Called boards around the globe.... learned to phreak
about five years after it would have REALLY done me some good. Started my
own BBS... founded my own H/P group. Two years had passed since SHE'd left.
Then one night, my phone rang. It was HER. SHE told me SHE was getting
married in April. Part of me died, all over again. I pretended it didn't
matter. Pretended that I was happy for HER. In a way, I suppose I was. It
was a resolution, of a sort. But I had this nagging feeling that SHE wanted
me to talk her out of it. There was no doubt in my mind that if I'd really
tried that I could have. Perhaps, that was why SHE called. To see if I
would. In any case, SHE invited me to the wedding. I declined. That would
have been too much. SHE said we'd probably never see one another again,
that SHE was moving far away. I told her that she was probably right, but
that you never know.
After we hung up, I was left with two bits of information. The date of her
wedding, and the name of her fiancee. I filed them away as basically
A few weeks later, I saw her fiancee's last name on a BBS. A new caller was
advertising a get-together at this person's house. Now, the person doing
the advertising had already struck me as someone I wanted to get to know
anyway... he was an all around neat kinda guy. I cultivated Dave into my
circle of friends, and pumped him for information here and there. Turns out
HER fiancee was his friend's uncle, or something. More useless info. But
even though SHE was gone, I still felt HER influence.
One morning in April I awoke and realized, SHE was already married. Gone.
Even if I wanted to do something about it, it was irrevocably over.
Now, when I was 10 years old, I had wanted more than anything else to be a
private detective. Those detective skills I had honed as a preteen
(combined with less savory skills learned in a year or so of hacking) gave
me an idea. I looked in the phonebook. I found her fiancee's name (I
hoped). I dialed his number, prepared to say I'd dialed a wrong number...
But I hadn't. The recorded voice on the other end graciously informed me
that "The number you have reached has been changed" and proceeded to give
me a number in another state. I filed that away too.
Later that day, I called the number. HER voice answered... on the answering
machine. I hung up. I called back, and making no effort whatsoever to mask
my voice, recorded a message wishing them both "health and happiness".
Two months later, I found myself having an affair with a married woman.
Substitution? Who knows. My Id isn't talking.
That relationship ended a few months later when a new lady entered my life.
I'd met her at the computer school I'd been attending. Looking back to that
last phonecall I'd has with HER, I remember mentioning to her that I was
debating asking the same woman out on a date. SHE had urged me to do so,
but I hadn't. Maybe I should have. I asked Judy to marry me last year. She
accepted. Lucky me. :)
Somewhere in the middle of all this, I ran into another old friend. A
mutual friend of mine & HERs. And we wouldn't have run into each other at
all if I hadn't stopped off to visit a friend I'd made because of Dave, who
I initially only really got to know because he'd been tossing a certain
last name about on the BBS. She'd been at HER wedding. Even she mentioned
that there was an odd feeling she'd has at HER wedding, like all was not
quite right. Read what you'd like into that.
Its been five years since that night when I last laid eyes on HER. Five
years since SHE was a part of my life. And yet, SHE is still there, in the
back of my mind, I can still sense HER. And SHE's still there. Like the
tide... influencing my life in ways I cannot completely comprehend. I've
dreamed, off and on across the years, of meeting her again. I have no clue
as to what I would say, what I would do. Probably nothing.
A new cycle is about to begin. If its anywhere near as interesting as the
last one, I'd best be prepared for an exciting ride...
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