It’s difficult to share this story without fully appreciating the enormity of the context in which it resides. As my friends have often heard me say: Context is everything.
This is not just yet another Internet romance.
This is a romantic epic played out in slow motion, and fast forward, at the same time.
So let’s start with the past.
I, Chair, lived in a small town. Relatively close to Nook. I was living alone, having just ended my marriage. The house was big, empty, and somewhat lonely. It was the late 90’s, probably 1998 or 1999ish.
Through a twist of fate, I happened to find another fan of the computers I was so addicted to (Apple) online, using Yahoo Chat, relatively near to me. That’s Nook.
Neither of us can remember precisely how the friendship began, but it was just that, a friendship.
We talked about computers, life, music, my work, her school. Yes. School. Nook was in her mid teens when she first met Chair -- and it’s not what you think. It was purely friendly chat, nothing untoward. Ask her if you don’t believe me.
I remember starting Yahoo Chat, seeing her logged in, and being really happy to talk with Nook. For her years she was remarkably mature, remarkably grounded, and incredibly interesting.
We talked regularly, daily, about many things.
But we never met. Never spoke on the phone. It was purely a bit of online words via a chat system.
In hindsight I wish I saved every word she ever shared with me.
Indeed, the only time I saw her was when she shared a picture with me, a single picture, of her getting ready to go to her senior prom. I remember it clearly, and thinking what a lovely young woman she was, and, truthfully, how old I felt, and a bit sad, that I never got to know her at a time when we could know each other.
Over the last few weeks, Nook and I have been exploring a lot of interesting connections between us that we didn’t realise we had. Near misses in our life overlapping more than it did, and perhaps some overlaps we were not aware of.
Nook’s father owned a business which provided services that I needed. In fact, the timing and location of this overlap makes it extremely probable that it was his company which provided those services and I had no idea. I can’t easily verify this now, but, the dates, location, and remembered names of other companies involved makes this almost certainly true.
Before I met Nook I was married. My wife worked for a company which had an office nearby, but also had other offices throughout the region. For a time, Nook worked for that same company. And more than once my wife would help out at other offices, including the one Nook worked at. I am fairly certain that there was no temporal overlap here, Nook was far too young to be working there at the time my wife was, but, again, the coincidence was interesting.
Perhaps the world isn’t really that small, and at a time like this when Nook and I are feeling the passionate rush of newly expressed love we’re finding more of these coincidences than we might ordinarily find, but the process of exploring “us” has made finding these little gems of happenstance add more smiles and laughs to our story.
(A number of people have asked for some of Nook’s words on our story, and she’s given a couple of contributions. Here is one)
I don't really remember much of what we talked about all those years ago; I just remember liking this guy. Someone so nice and smart who happened to share a few minutes of his day with me. Our initial encounter was brief, but it created a lasting impression.
Time and distance worked against us until I decided to take matters into my own hands.