Dearest Cuz B,
I fear that woman Stella is getting far too much attention on your blog. I think I too should have my day in the spotlight; after all, it's been a while. Who is this Stella to you? I've known you for nearly 50 years, and what have you done for me so far? Absolutely nothing. Where were you when I needed a second pair of hands to provide terminal pillow comfort for my mother? An ocean may divide us, but may I remind you that you would have spent the first five years of your life stark naked had you not had the good fortune of being on the receiving end of all my hand me downs. I bet Stella never gives you any clothes. (Actually, Dani - she does. I am almost fully clothed by the House of Stella, but anyway...)
So, Cuz, (I do wish she wouldn't use these vulgar Canadian abbreviations) here's my story, and unless I see it print, you will not be getting free board and lodging next year. You have been warned.
Mike and I started chatting on Compuserve – innocent at first, but over the weeks we both came to the realization that we enjoyed each others’ company and minds (isn’t that always the way it starts!) Like you, I looked forward to the evening and weekend rendezvous online, and in between realtime messaging, we emailed each other. As we ventured into our third month of online acquaintance (and up until that point it basically was that; like-minded folks enjoying each other’s company), Mike asked if he could phone and we could talk in realtime.
That became a weekly habit – he usually called me as I just couldn’t afford long-distance phone calls. We exchanged photos… he was nice-looking enough, single, a year or so older than me, never been married. He had moved back home to look after his aging mother (I know, I can hear you saying “whoa” – in hindsight, yes that should have rung warning bells) and lived just outside of London in a small town which sounded just like one of those little villages where Miss Marples would have prowled about, knitting and solving murders.
After six months, Mike suggested we meet. We were at the ‘declaring our love for each other’ stage; really, the mind does play bugger when you don’t have to see a person on a daily basis. He offered to pay for my ticket… I was flabbergasted! After all, we’d been talking weekly for several months now… he was eager to meet me, I was definitely feeling this was a go. He had a good job (I’d checked him out) and all was above board – he was who he said he was, he worked where he said he worked, he earned a good salary; I had photos of his home, his village, his friends, him. I booked the flight for a month from the day I said yes – he paid for it.
I started dieting and did all the usual things a woman does, i.e., body lotions daily, getting sleep, highlights in my hair, trying out new makeup, just like you’ve mentioned. We continued our daily online conversations – the excitement of meeting, planning, dreaming, cooing, anticipating. We were both whipping ourselves into a mini frenzy over the upcoming encounter!)
I was flying out on a Tuesday morning…. so the week prior, our conversations became quite heated – the heavy breathing was almost intolerable. But from Thursday onwards, I didn't hear from him. He missed the Friday chat too, until I finally tried calling him on Saturday. I thought something terrible had happened to him. No answer. I thought of calling his Mum… but figured she would have called me if he’d been in an accident (she knew, after all, that a guest from Canada was visiting the following week). Saturday nothing. Sunday nothing.
At this point I was a mess. I couldn’t think straight, I was puffed up like John Merrick… red faced, blotchy, eyes almost swollen shut from crying. I tried calling his mother, no answer, his best mate, no answer. I had to go into work that Monday morning as I had to transfer my work to another person who was subbing for me while I was on vacation. I arrived at work – a sombre, pathetic-looking ghost of my usual jolly self, and checked my email).
“Dear Dani, I met someone at the pub on Thursday – really like her and we ended up together. I’m in love. Sorry. If you still want to come over, fine… but you can’t stay here. Mum doesn’t think it’s appropriate for a single woman to be staying in the house. M” He’d sent that email to my work address! Not only did he fuck me over by shagging the first skank he met at the pub… he didn’t even have the decency to call me or send that heart-felt email to my home address.
I phoned him from work. The conversation was short… to the point. “Errr… uhm… oh, I didn’t notice I’d sent it to your work. Ooops, no wonder you kept sending me those emails. Paula is moving in – so, I won’t be able to spend much time with you when you come and I can’t pick you up from the airport either, Paula thinks…”