I could feel her slipping away. I had for months, but I kept hoping it was my imagination. We do that to ourselves you know; see things where nothing is to be seen. Nonetheless, like shards of glass slicing through my hands, I felt her slip away.
There is a transience to virtual relationships that, as a part of that world, you like to think you have accepted. You meet someone and connect on many levels and the friendship begins. You may wonder how a virtual relationship is different from a “real” one. There is no difference.
We’ve shared hours of conversation over glasses of virtual Cabernet–while sipping the real thing I’m sure. Seated at a virtual table, laden with virtual cheese and crackers and a wine bottle that magically never ran dry. We would chat about the things we loved, the things we hated. We’d nosh on the people we loved and the people . . . You get the idea. She had this brash sense of humor and a bull-shit detector accurate a mile away. She called me on mine more than once.
What really brought us together is sharing our fears and emotions, our hopes, dreams and disappointments. We enjoyed these tete-a-tetes for more than two years, often starting with our virtual dinner and ending with virtual cinnamon rolls and coffee as the “real” sun rose on our gathering. I was likely closer to this woman than any with whom I share physical space.
But over the last few months, we saw each other less and less. Attempts to reach out greeted with a simple, “Hi. Hope you’re well.” followed by silence. War and Peace could be read into those silences. At first I tried to ignore it, but I could feel she was not doing well; suffering in those quiet spaces. She was in a pain too deep to be discussed over wine with a friend who knows her too well to let her remain hidden. I’m guessing, at least in part, that it was easier to steal away from me than to face her darkness.
With a final address to her about my concerns, I had unwittingly cornered the frightened child within her. Not what I’d intended, but regardless, it resulted in the final chapter of our friendship and the book closed tight upon it.
Yes. There is a transient nature to virtual relationships; accepting that, does not make it any easier. No picture today. I don’t have a picture of grief.
Kylie Addison Sabra