It’s still the early dial-up internet days.

Everyone has already figured out that everyone else lies. Except me. I lurk in chat rooms. No one believes my personal ad, they think I’m kidding: 5 ft 9,  128 lbs, red hair. I swear I’m for real. Another private message window pops up, this one lives an hour from me.  He’s articulate, literate, and witty.  He knows things about sex that I’ve never even heard of. I’m smitten.

I chain smoke in the dark night after night while the scene unfolds line after line. Since he won’t tell me his age, I assume he’s years older. He won’t talk on the phone or send me a picture. Maybe he’s married or really old, like forty. Frustrated and angry, I type: “What are you, 15 or something??!” The blinking cursor hangs an eternity…

I can’t forgive him, I’m heartsick. I blow off a real date with a schoolteacher to meet him at the mall. His mom chaperones. She sits by the fountain and watches us hug. She tells him I ooze sex.

Now it’s thirteen years later. I email him to tell him I might start writing some of this crazy shit down , should I tell this story?  “Nah,” he writes back. “We never even had sex.”

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