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Excerpts from the chatroom (Last part)

SHE would lie down almost every night and not fall into sleep right away. She would carry a question with her: How does Bear look like? She would close her eyes and dream consciously, playing with the visions that visited her, non-linear patterns that never quite make sense. Not yet anyway. She was after all, a beginner, scaling haltingly this new realm called alpha. She would get to the theta. Soon. She promised.

12/29/99

10:27 PM  Kristine: Do you wear glasses, Bear?
10:30 PM  Bear: Yes, in fact, I do. What made you say that? Lucky guess?
10:33 PM  Kristine: Because, I can’t picture you otherwise. Guess you could call it a lucky guess…
10:36 PM  Bear: If I sent you a pic of me in my high school days, you’d laugh like a hyena  :))
10:38 PM  Kristine: Do that. But not after I conjure a mental pic of you…
10:41 PM  Bear: You don’t CONJURE! You SEE with your mind’s eye! There’s a big difference!
10:43 PM  Kristine: OKAY!!! I want to see you, too, in my mind’s eye and I’m getting real frustrated :(
10:45 PM  Bear: Patience, my dear…
10:48 PM  Bear: I’m almost through with your portrait, by the way. I’m sending it to you on the 31st, sort of a millennium gift. That okay?
10:51 PM  Kristine: Cool! I can’t wait…

What was there left to do? She meant what she said. She can’t wait. The clock on the wall is ticking away the hours but why was it slower than usual? There goes the gongs to signal the hour. One. Two. Three. Three? Why was there only three gongs? Did she not wait forever? Was that not eternity that just passed her by? Why was time so slow? So draggingly endless this ticking away of the hours and minutes and seconds. She had to sleep. But what sleep? Was she not loathe to being sucked into the realm of the delta? No, she didn’t wish to sleep…

12/31/99

11:45 PM  Bear: Sent your portrait by e-mail today. Like it?
11:47 PM  Kristine: Give me a minute to open my mail…

There they were. Little boxes. Square boxes and rectangular boxes of different hues. Linking, connecting to form bigger boxes. Joining, connecting, forming still bigger boxes. Making the blurred picture clearer and clearer by the minute. But why was it so slow? This linking. This joining. This connecting of boxes. Make them link. Make them connect faster. Make this blurred picture clear…

And she stared at it…

11:59 PM  Bear: Like it?

 

And the picture stared back at her. The moles. The close, cropped hair. The prominent nose bridge. It was all there. His words were the exact image that stared her in the face. A mirror image of her.

The computer blinked and the cafe was plunged into darkness. Outside, the noise began, the incessant clanging, the banging. The light from the fireworks exploding in the misty sky seeped into the darkened room.

Bear was asking him something.

“Yes,” she said, “I like it, no, love it, bear. Thank you…”

“I’m good at it, huh?” Bear was asking again.

“Yeah, you are! You were right, I have to tilt my head. Geez, you are tall!”

What was that terrible sound? Where was it from? So linear, she can’t decipher it…

“Excuse me, miss, but we’re closing…”

But she just sat there, staring into non-linear patterns only she could see and listening to the thoughts that answered her, “Yeah, but we could always sit and chit chat…”