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Chris - An Online Friend I'll Never Meet
2 months ago · · Loss of a friend,
You passed 3-4 years ago to a car accident on your way to find a job after selling your bar to pay our friend's medical bill. Although we have never met, I've seen you only once - through picture of you smoking a cigarette on a school chair with a green board behind you. You shirt was untidy, you had a beanie on, your tie was discarded - you looked like a mess. Somehow, your aggressive and fiery personality matched exactly how I thought you'd look. As much as my consciousness taped the memory in the back of my eyelids, I didn't get to salvage the image after all with my old phone broken. Funnily enough, I like to remember you as a mean version of Kristoff from Frozen. You looked intimidating, but you were just what people would call as a teddy bear. Big, soft, and you've got lots of love to give. Despite your harsh childhood - more of lack of it - you gave me so much love even though I could not accept it for so long. You told me your feelings knowing damn well I was with someone else. And yet, you didn't really care! You were just happy to let me know, and proud enough to act on it.
I didn't understand at first. I couldn't grasp how you were so proud of your actions but ashamed of who you are. When we chatted, I'd send you voicemails of me talking about my day, asking about yours, I even sang for you multiple times. You loved them and it took a while to figure out why you were adamant on not sending your own. It took me by surprise; that you're mute. If only you could've told me sooner, we wouldn't have to spend so much time making a fuss out of it! I laugh looking back at such a time. We spent so much of our days and nights together, and although we only knew each other for 7 months, it was more than enough of the memories I'll forever cherish. I think we can agree that talking to people online is far easier than talking to people face-to-face about our issues, especially when the internet gives us a sense of anonymity despite sharing our deepest stories.
In a sense, I felt anger when I lost you. You promised me so many things; to be there for me as I have been there for you when your 'friends' made you stay under a bridge for the night, make sure both of us had our backs, to talk at least 3 times a week, etcetera. Soon enough, I shifted the blame on the world. How could they take away the man who deserved all? You just wanted to find a job outside of Sicily by train, and you promised me back then on the tracks that you'd text me when you arrived on the next station - safe. I felt denial - you couldn't be dead. We just talked a few hours ago, you were fine! You were fine. Afterwards, I just felt sad and empty. I shed months worth of tears to grief over the loss of a friend I never met.
When it comes to online friendships, is it better to lie about your identity or to tell the truth? I made the mistake of not telling you my real name and age, I'm not Veronica, a 17-year old girl who you remembered me as in your final moments. I regret not telling you who I truly am, in fear of my own. It hurts me to know that you texted me before you passed, saying you have something to tell me, only to never finish what you started. I didn't even get the chance to text you that I love you. I never got to tell you I got a ring that reminded me of you. I never got to tell you about a dream I had last night about me running away from a funky-looking chef.
I was in a dilemma of bawling my eyes out every morning and night for 4 months straight after the incident in my room and bathroom. None of my family members knew and to this day only 1 of them knows about this. I cried in the restless nights of me reminiscing the nights that were similar to where I was, except you were there to tell me that everything will be alright and to cry as much as I want because you'll wipe them away. I liked to imagine the hand wiping my tears away was yours instead of mine.
It's been years, clearly, and I've become a stronger person than I was before. I've grown now, and I still miss and love you very dearly. I might end up accepting the fact that I'll never get to visit your grave... Because at the end of the day, you're just an online friend. That I'll never meet.
I still think of you every time I go to a carnival, when I get so high up in the sky, I wonder if you're there with me too.