Is it possible that, like the “eyes across a crowded room” scenario, just the sound of someone’s voice can ignite that spark of affection, that chain reaction which leads the incomplete heart to recognise its other half?
Because I cannot think of any other explanation for the inability to breathe properly, the idiot grin spreading across my face, or the sudden urge to tell this woman everything about myself.
That first day, the first time we spoke with the knowledge that this wasn’t just any conversation but the beginning of something more, I honestly never suspected that it would turn into anything more than a deeper friendship. After all, She was thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, it hardly seemed likely that we’d ever get to meet, let alone fall in love.
It’s so nice to be wrong occasionally.
Sitting at the side of that quiet country road, talking to Her about nothing very much, just revelling in being with Her, I felt a connection that almost shocked me, a feeling that we had known each other for far longer than the two and a half years of virtual friendship that our relationship amounted to at that point. It really did feel like we’d simply been briefly separated for some reason and She’d just got back in touch after spending time away.
Shaking myself free of my enchanted daze, I finally got around to driving home, all the while listening to Her tell me things about Her life that I wouldn’t expect to hear from any but the most intimate friends. She told me about a childhood that had left Her cautious and unsure about forming meaningful relationships, about the powerful love She had for Her children and about Her work in the residential care of adults with developmental problems. The more I listened, the more extraordinary I found this bright, funny and yet at the same time, serene and quietly spoken woman, and when I thanked Her for trusting me with so much of Her personal life story She only confirmed what I had known since She had picked up the phone…
…that there was a connection here that we could both feel, one which seemed to make the mere social conventions of conversational inhibition a pointless and trivial thing, something reserved for those poor folks who weren’t already sure that they needed this other person to know everything about them as soon as possible.
By the time I got home I was completely hooked.
One of the wonderful things about the internet is the amount of free communication it allows and we took full advantage of that over the next few days, talking for hours via Facebook’s free phone call service and, better still, on Skype video call, when I would find myself gazing into Her eyes for what seemed like ages, before realising I hadn’t said anything for minutes at a time. Although since She seemed just as happy with this habit of ours of silently mooning over each other, I didn’t feel in the least bit awkward or embarrassed at having suddenly become a hopelessly mushy romantic.
Whenever the little chat icon appeared on my phone I would feel my heart skip a beat and my breath quicken, whenever She commented on a post I would instantly check to see what She’d said, knowing I would agree with whatever She said.
And if my phone actually rang, well that was the pinnacle, the joy of joys, the drop-everything-stop-what-you’re-doing-do-not-pass-go-do-not-collect-two-hundred-pounds emergency situation.
Yes, I had it bad.
But it wasn’t until after a couple of weeks of this virtual flirting and cyber courting had made it clear to me that this wasn’t the “just for fun” situation that either of us had envisaged that I was asked a question that stopped me in my tracks.
A friend from South Africa, another blogger who I had known for a couple of years online, was having to listen to me telling her how wonderful She was for probably the tenth time when she suddenly asked me;
“So, do you love Her?”
What sort of question is that?
How should I know? I’ve never even met the woman for goodness sake!
You can’t fall in love on the internet, that’s just a movie cliché. Isn’t it..?
But I knew. I’d known for a while.
“You know what, I think I do”