Let’s talk about that friend of yours; you know that one, everyone has one. I’m talking about that friend that meet their one and only on the internet. No matter if it was over a Massively Multiplayer Online game (such as World of Warcraft, Perfect World International or Diablo II) or some idiotic social networking site (Facebook, Friend Face, Twitter, or the like) it is always the same. Blah blah I meet the most interesting blah blah with boobs out to next Tuesday blah blah and we are going to meet this next week end. So this is a horrifying truth to life, that no matter what it is, people will find a way to make it about relationships and in return drama. Relationships have been made on and broken on social networks, why is this? Are we preprogramed to **** things up naturally? Also why do people find the need to star relationships with others over this media? Is it some sort of primal need to have a significant other in our lives? Why can’t people be happy with talking to others and just being friends? There is no reason to muck things up with relationships and titles or needlessness. That is my position then and now as well, but in the middle it was not so easy to stay in that frame of mind. Some place in the middle I fell in love and didn’t even realize it until it. Is this starting to sound like a crap TV show on the WB to anyone else, or is it just me? Either way I will start at the beginning and go from there. That sounds like a good place to start, the beginning. It started in the summer of 2009, and I was a third quarter student at ITT Technical Institute. I was doing really well in my classes also had a decent job, though I was not one of the crowd, and because of my interests I was not really accepted as part of the popular kids. I was in search of something to fill my down time and fill me with excitement. I had thought back to the days of staying up all night playing Final Fantasy VIII and Diablo II, how the planning of how I wanted to put together my character made me want to pull out my PlayStation hit the n00b stick again. Though now I was in to something better, a new computer. As a side note I would like to tell you that yes I name my devices. My gamming computer is named Winry, my school desktop is Triela, my school laptop is Henrietta, my personal laptop is Sumomo, my personal phone is KoToKo, my work phone is Mitsuki and I have twin tower servers Freya/Elda. Try to figure out where I got those names and why. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I was talking about my new computer Winry. She is a 2.66 i7 with 12 GB of DDR31333, running a 1GB GeForce GTS 250. The best computer I have ever had and she was just itching for a game to tax her. In my search a friend told me about a game called ROSE Online, and how great it was. I checked it out and it was, a really interesting game. Though so many people had been playing it that it was hard to be taken seriously. So the search went on and on until I hit a website and the next big game. Perfect World Entertainment had released a International version of their popular Chinese game Perfect World, appropriately named Perfect World International. This was just what I was looking for, a starting up game that I could get in and be taken seriously as a gamer, and I would be able to build my name as a great player. I downloaded, installed it and off I went into the great beyond. Little did I know what was waiting on me. While playing I was getting really good at it. I started understanding the game and its complexity very quickly. I’m not stupid or a n00b, I can learn to play any game, it just takes me longer than others. So the fact that I was picking this game up so quickly and naturally was a real confidence booster. Not long after I started playing I was approached by an individual about joining a faction. I was interested and wanted to know more about it, so we talked for about three hours as I was grinding out a few quests. I was invited on to vent chat the next day, and to my surprise, I was being accepted as one of the faction members. Now I have never been the kind of person that socializes very easily with others. Awkward should have been my middle name. In High School I was so quiet and to myself, one of my teachers though I was a bookshelf for the first three weeks. I **** you not, for real. She almost jumped out of her skin when I started walking up to the front of the class from the spot she thought was a bookshelf, to give my speech for class. She never even learned my name while I was in her class; she just called me you there. Didn’t bother me too much though, I made a 4.0 in that class, so not much to complain about. You will have to forgive me, but I go off on tangents like that every once and a while. So back to the subject, oh yes needless to say this was uncharted waters for me. I was Columbus navigating the ocean looking for land and hoping not to run into a sea creature. Everyone was being so nice and understanding with me, unlike any other place I had been to before. It didn’t matter that I was 29 and addicted to Anime, every one there loved listening to me. Not only that but they would ask me questions and wait for an answer, and listen to the answer. For the first time that I can remember I was belonging to something. I can’t describe how good it felt. Well that went on for a while and things where great. Then one day the faction was holding a get together for some of the members. I say some of the members, because not everyone was close enough to be part of the get together. That was all right, I understood that it was because of the distance and my lack of money, not that I was not invited. So I was hoping that I would find at least one person logged on from my game, but there was no such luck, it was just me. This particular faction had representatives in many games, not just the one. Well I noticed that there was another member in the vent, in a room alone. So I decided that I would go and see how things were going, I knew we wouldn’t have much to talk about, but it might be fun anyway. I introduced myself, she introduced herself…and the room went silent. It was almost like someone made a JonBenét Ramsey joke and left the room screaming about how we don’t know **** about comedy. I was not all that sure what to say nor did I really have any clue about how to start a conversation. When she blurted out so you are the one I have heard so much about. Wait, what, heard so much about? What are you talking about, you know about me? She was apparently interested in the way I would talk on vent, or well the lack of talking on vent to be more exact. Being that she was a high member of the faction she and the other high member had talked about the up and coming stars in their respective game. I was on the list of the top five and was the talk of a few of the meetings. So she knew about me long before I knew about her. Either way, she seemed excited to meet and talk with me. I guess it had to do with the work I had done for the website or the fact that I was allowing them to use part of my server data storage. Whatever the reason it was a great way to start the conversation off with. We talked and played out game for what seemed like a few hours, but in reality it was more like 26 hours. With that one incident I should have known that this was not going to end so easily. I should have seen what was coming next and in retrospect it was the only logical course. She was from New Zealand and I from the US. So it was amazing that we could find the time to be on at the same time. At first it wasn’t intentional, well I know for me it wasn’t and I never intended for it to go any further than that first day. Though it did go further, a lot further, so much that we started spending almost all of our time on vent together. We would do harvesting runs and such with the other members, but whenever we were both logged on at the same time, the first chance we got; it was off to a private room. It was getting to the point that they even made a special room just for us, latter I found out it was so that they could spy on us and what we were talking about. The head honcho knew about it and thought it was cute we were starting to fall in love with each other. What the hell do you mean in love? I wasn’t falling for her. She was just the person that I spent 98% of my free time with. She was just the person that I would go to for advice. She was just the person I would talk to about a bad day. She was just the person that…oh bloody hell. What the hell did I get myself into this time? What was I doing? This wasn’t me at all. I was starting to turn into the thing that I hated most in the world…An internet dating nerd. Why was this happening to me? How could this have happened to me? The questions swirled around in my head like a hurricane, not Rock You Like a Hurricane, though that would have been a lot easier to deal with, and had a better beat. How could a person such as me, Escargot Pudding, get swindled into falling for someone over the internet? Well I can’t play all innocent. After all it does take two to tango, though I never thought I would be tangoing with a keyboard, mouse and monitor in between. There it was, it happened to me. After a while of us just talking and being friends, I started to become at ease with the situation. I started to let my guard down, and “forget about” the whole thing. I put up a wall of denial that would rival The Nile in size. I was starting to think that the entire thing had been put behind us and we could get on with our lives, The Days of Our Lives. Not so fast there Escargot Pudding, where do you think you are going? Talks about how the two of us would be a great couple started creeping up again. That got to putting in the heads of everyone around us that we should start a relationship. I was not so easy about the thought of dating someone little alone someone from another country. In the past I have had my heart broken many times and every time it was a crushing blow to my self-esteem. How would this go if I did decide to go for it? How would she react if I brought up the subject? I was not sure what to do or say, so I did what I do best, nothing. I was silent and didn’t talk much at all. She picked up on that really quick and wanted to know why I was so quiet all of a sudden. I couldn’t hold it back any more, I just blurted out what was going on. I went on a thirty minute spiel about all of it. About how everyone was talking about us being a couple. About how everyone thinks we are dating right now. About how confused I was about the entire thing. Though through it all I was concerned about what she was feeling. I knew that went over about as well and a flying submarine, but to my surprise she just sat there and listened. When I was all said and done, she just said, well that sure was a mouth full. What a jackass she was being. I just poured out my heart and soul, worrying about what she was feeling and thinking, to witch her only response is, well that is sure a mouth full. It was her attempt at humor to lighten the mood, and it worked. I couldn’t help but laugh, and with that the mood was lightened. So where to go from there? That was the next question. That was the dragon that needed to be tackled. The proverbial elephant in the room…that would be the conundrum would be the main point to take starting this paragraph, I guess. Though that was a question easier to ask than to answer, from either side of the table. She confessed feelings for me as did I for her. It was all out in the open and once again in my life I was put out, vulnerable to another person. Risking my sanity I went with the feeling and started off to venture into a land of unknown. But alas it was not meant to be for us. She seemed to become more distant as time started to drag on. I started to wonder if it was something that I had done to invoke this reaction. When one day she came to me and said she had some great news she wanted to share with me. Even though it was great news, she was worried that I would not be able to take it so well. I told her that whatever it is, I would be happy for her. Oh what a fool I was, in my youth. She told me she had meet up with an ex-boyfriend, that had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. He was in that stage where he was righting the wrongs he had done in his life. One of those wrongs was leaving her at the alter on their wedding day, because he got cold feet. He had asked her to marry him, and wanted it to be soon, very soon. Soon is a general term, FedEx delivers soon. He wanted to get married three days later. I was a little shocked to say the least. Though I had made her a promise that I would be happy for her no matter what it was. So I lied and told her that I wanted nothing more than for them to be together. I guess that is not so much a lie. I did want her to be happy, just with me and not him. Though if being with him is what would make her happy then, that is what I want for her. She married him and went on her honeymoon, in the US. She stopped by my apartment and hung out with me for the day, before she headed off to catch a ride on a cruise back to New Zealand way. Over the next few weeks, we talked here and there, but it was never the same. I knew that it would change, and expected nothing less. Over the next few months we slowly lost contact. I have thought about her from time to time and I guess that because of her I started living every day as a single entity. Treating each sunrise as an opportunity to do great things and live new experiences. Never wasting a single day on the past, because the past is behind you and that is where it should stay. Look forward to a beautiful future because with life you never really know what is going to happen the next day, so live each day to its fullest. Looking back, knowing what I know now, I still wouldn’t change anything, even if I could. I have since gone back to my mid set of how could anyone become involved in an internet relationship? I am single and at this point in my life I like it that way. I am free to pursue other things like education and a career. I am not really sure what my point is with this paper, maybe there was no point. Maybe this was just an exercise of what I want my writing to be like. Either way this is what it is, and that is all it can be. I will put this bit of friendly advice out there though. Always keep an open mind. You never know what will come your way if you just look around you.