Once upon a time, there was a 14-year old girl who finally had the chance to own a computer (well, kinda… It was really her sister’s but she was using it more). She enjoyed exploring Paint and other games and programs available for Windows 98. It was a pleasure… until she discovered the wonders of the internet. She visited different sites from official webpages of her fave artists, teen forums and personal blogs. She found it interesting to meet and interact with people from all over the world. Given that, she didn’t miss the land of chatrooms.
It was fun for her to learn different things and cultures from the people she met there. However, it was not easy to find the right person to talk to. If she sent a PM to a girl, she would not talk to her. If it’s a guy, most would ask her for cybersomething. She was only FOURTEEN! And she signed up for Teen Chat! Oh, I forgot to tell you, she was lying about her age. She was saying she’s 15. Well, she thought it was a big difference!
So, she figured out a way to filter chatmates easily. If the username was gross like FrEaKiShLyHuGe or 9incher, she would not talk to them at all. She tried to talk to guys with normal usernames such as Erik, Ben07, James, etc. One day, she chose to talk to a guy with the username, “The_Guy”. They exchanged ASL’s. He was 17 from Washington. She was “15” from the Philippines. When he found out that she’s from the PH, he asked, “Pilipino ka rin?” (“You’re also a Filipino?”). And that’s how their friendship began.
From that chatroom, they continued chatting on Yahoo! Messenger. They just usually joked around and laughed at each other. Yep, nothing romantic. But when he sent his picture to the girl, she was somehow attracted to him. Okay, she had a crush on him. The funny part was the guy, surprisingly, had a girlfriend. But that’s no big deal. She was not looking for an internet boyfriend anyway.
Their friendship continued. The guy broke up with his girlfriend and after a few years, had another girlfriend. The girl was a late bloomer. She just had celebrity crushes and an infatuation with her gay classmate… until she fell in love with the wrong boy. She and the guy kept communicating through Friendster. They still kept up with each other’s lives but they didn’t talk as much as they did before. The girl was very open to the guy and even shared her personal problems and her deepest, darkest secrets. Of course, she was comfortable sharing those things because they don’t have any friends in common!
The guy was an aspiring writer and the girl was an editor in her school’s publication. He sometimes asked her to critique or edit his work which he used to post on Friendster’s Bulletin. Unfortunately, the girl lost her internet at home a few years earlier so she couldn’t get on-line as much as before. Plus, she was busy with her not-so-sure-boyrfriend that time. Facebook was becoming popular so she suggested for him to post his works on FB instead. It would be easier for her to see it. The guy had an FB account but still preferred Friendster.
It was 2010, summer. The girl logged-in to her Facebook account and saw the guy on-line. She was surprised so she sent him a message right away, “Woah! You’re on-line here!” They talked a bit like they used to before. The guy asked for the girl’s number and said he would call later. He did. It was 10 PM. But on the guy’s timezone, it was 7 AM. It was their first time to hear each other’s voices. They talked for four hours. Basically, using off the whole phonecard. That happened for four consecutive days.
Both of them were single but both of them were still suffering from heartaches. Maybe that’s the reason why they loved talking to each other. Or maybe, they just felt the comfort of talking to a friend. They had been friends for eight years after all. They were always talking on the phone or exchanging SMS but it was a bit expensive on the guy’s part. So, it was time to use Skype.
You know when you see a person for the first time? And, you see fireworks? That’s how the girl felt. Well, it was not really the first time she saw him but because of higher technology, it felt like it’s the first time. But the girl didn’t show herself. She was not ready yet. She was not really confident on how she looked. It’s weird though because instead of just showing herself on Skype, she recorded a video of herself singing “Terrified” by Katharine McPhee and sent it to the guy. He loved it.
The guy confessed that he’s falling for the girl. The girl was confused because they had never met each other in person and yet she felt the same. (Cheesy!!! Hahahaha) She fell in-love with the guy’s personality. She also knew he never cheated on his ex-girlfriends. After a few months of thinking, the girl finally decided to be in a relationship with the guy. She uttered, “So what if we’re not together now? We have the rest of our lives to be together!”
Thus, the story of a long-distance relationship began… (To be continued…)
>>>Note: The photo above was their first picture together. Artwork by Lourd Salonga (The girl’s cousin)
>>>The girl was me. Isn’t it obvious? Hahaha.