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Excerpts from the chatroom (Part 2)

She would go to the cybercafe, the only world she knew next to the classroom. She was becoming more and more withdrawn. She has not spoken to Ellen, her best friend, for days, never phoned her mother, refused to speak with her room mate, whose futile attempts at conversation has now been reduced to lifting an eyebrow.

12/20/99

7:39 PM   Kristine: Do you believe in fate, Bear?
8:10 PM   Bear: Hey, Kristine! You still at the cafe? What’s with the fate thing?
8:12 PM  Kristine: Hey, Bear! Nice to hear from you at last! Nothing. I was just repeating a line from the Matrix…
8:15 PM   Bear: So you did watch the movie, huh? How was it?
8:21 PM   Kristine: Cool! As I told you before, it’s a re-issue; it’s been shown before and my friends have seen it. I had to bribe them to make them see the movie with me…
8:27 PM  Bear: Bribe? What did you do???
8:30 PM  Kristine: Subsidized their ticket, 50%. Don’t have any regrets, though, it was worth every penny…
8:36 PM   Kristine: Well, do you believe in fate?
8:42 PM   Bear: No. I don’t like the idea of not being in control… That was Neo’s answer was it not? Synchronicity is the more appropriate word. It was synchronicity not fate, that brought us together on the net… Do you believe in fate, Kristine?
8:48 PM   Kristine: I do believe in fate, but don’t ask me why because I have no reason to give you… I just do…

The sound that goes “uh-oh” everytime he sent a message started to haunt her waking hours and when she closed her eyes to catch a much-needed slumber after a long day, the flower icon at the right lower corner of a PC turning into a blinking envelope was all he saw.

“Uh-oh”, there it goes again. The sound, foolish as it may be, gave her comfort. She was connected to someone, at last. And her fingers… they itch for a keyboard. She had to be at the cafe. She just had to be…

12/23/99

9:05 PM   Kristine: Do you like women, Bear?
9:06 PM   Kristine: That was a bad question… What I meant was, do you have any prospects right now?
9:07 PM  Kristine: That was still a bad question…
9:11 PM   Bear: I didn’t quite get what you meant the first time, but I get you now. I’ve seen quite a few, but right now, it’s down there in my list of plans, way down there…
9:14 PM  Kristine: You ever been on a date lately?
9:19 PM  Bear: Well, no… the few dates I’ve had had been in groups and we usually go hiking or camping someplace and during those rare dates, I’d be busy planning the directions and all that stuff…
9:23 PM  Kristine: So you’ve never been on a real date??? As in NEVER???
9:26 PM   Bear: Well, if you’re so strict about it, then NEVER… It’s not like I’m gay or anything like that…
9:29 PM  Bear: You sound like you’re way above there in experience? Let me throw the question back at you: have you any prospects???
9:33 PM  Kristine: Well… No…
9:35 PM  Bear: Ha! Look who’s high and mighty now!
9:38 PM   Kristine: I happen to be idealistic when it comes to the love thing…
9:41 PM   Bear: You read Mills and Boon and all that stuff. And that was a statement!
9:46 PM  Kristine: Well, yeah, I do. And I also happen to write stories on the yukky, icky love stuff…
9:50 PM  Bear: You do? You write from experience?
9:53 PM  Kristine: No. I write from the hope that love does exist…

It was Christmas in a day. There, the perfect excuse of her going to the cafe. He sent her a card after all, and it was but common courtesy to send a card back. But the time period kept expiring or some such error appearing on her screen. Damn the technicallity of it all!

12/24/99

8:37 PM   Bear: You’re still sending that card.
8:39PM Kristine: You knew???
8:42 PM  Kristine: I give up. I’ll just send you a letter instead of a card…
8:47 PM  Bear: That’s a good girl! You’re right, the internet is not worth fretting about.
8:51 PM   Kristine: How’s my portrait going?
8:53 PM Bear: You’re becoming clearer to me now. You were fair, until today, that is…  hehe :))
8:59 PM Kristine: Well, I did get a little tan today… We went to the beach and although I stayed in the shade most of the time, I got a tan. My mom and I picked some shells along the seashore for no reason at all… But it was a little tan, that’s all!!!
9:03 PM  Kristine: You never cease to amaze me, Bear…
9:05 PM  Bear: Same here, my dear, same here…

(To be concluded)

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