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I Am Reality MAG
I don't know what happened in the last few seconds. I guess time is escaping me again. There's a click that sounds like the second hand of a clock, and another window opens. I'll talk to her again; maybe this time she'll understand. Maybe this time she'll care, she'll remember. Idealistic thinking is great for keeping up some kind of optimism.
The customary greeting, nothing too risky.
-Hey! How are you?
An enthusiastic response, a universally accepted invitation to move forward. There is a cycle of reciprocity implicit in every conversation, and she's following it. Maybe this time really will be better.
-I'm doing all right. It's really cold out here. How about you?
I tell people that I'm doing all right, or good, when I don't feel motivated to tell them what's really happening. Everybody does. It's not okay to be depressed in a society where instantaneous pleasure is the supreme objective. Nobody who sees a counselor every week is really okay. Weather is what I talk about when I don't feel like talking about real issues. Everybody does.
-I'm great. It's hot out here most of the time. How's school?
Right. School is fine, isn't it? School is just as fine as everything else.
-School is fine. I'm keeping my grades up. Working on college apps. All that stuff.
By “keeping my grades up,” I mean scraping by, not failing, not getting kicked out. By “working on college apps,” I mean staring at the several blank, uninviting pieces of paper that continually reside on my desk.
-Good for you. I'm not really worrying about college yet. I guess I don't care that much.
She cares. I know what she really cares about. I certainly care about preparing for my future; college is the most important aspect of my life right now. It is. Grades are my highest priority, whatever else happens during high school. Everything I have to give up is just a necessary sacrifice. It really is.
I wonder what she cares about these days, probably more than is healthy, so I peruse her profile. It's laden with clichéd, sentimental quotes penned by second-rate writers who thought they were making a difference in the world. She's agnostic. Everyone's agnostic these days; things like the meaning of the universe are too much for our minds to handle, especially when no one who is normal understands half of high school physics. There are more important things anyway, like prom. There really are.
I've moved on to pictures. Any reflection of light captured by nothing but a camera lens is just washed out residue of reality. But there is an old album that I like to look at, so a second hand sounds on it. It is us jumping off a cliff, her dark hair darkened even further by the water, my face smiling in blissful ignorance, us laughing together. Those things happened. Another album is us running, grimacing to hold off the pain, doubling over to give in to it, cathartically unleashing our anger, sprinting past fading freshmen, her running with me red in the face from shouting on the sidelines, the same situation reversed, embracing each other to quell the erratic shaking of obscure leg muscles. Those things were grueling, punishing, rewarding, and full of pleasure. They were paradoxes, microcosms of the rest of life. Those things were very real and they happened. In her profile pictures there is one shot of us standing, staring pensively at a sunset. I'm not sure if that happened.
Reality changes because the nature of time is constant evolution. There really is no present, just what has passed, what has crystallized into memory, and the anxiety and anticipation of what will come in the next click of a second, of a microsecond, of a nanosecond, and a half of a nanosecond.
There is a new picture of her with some guy at homecoming this year. This guy has a bulbous nose and an animalistic smirk on his face. A second sounds on this one; another one sounds on his unpronounceable name. He plays football. He has many more alleged friends and distant acquaintances than I do. He probably has a measly GPA, and can't sustain a relationship for more than a week, but that doesn't show up in his profile. That's just an astute inference. It is.
I don't want to know what happened after homecoming, how it would have felt. Whether anything happened is best left to inference. It is. I've inferred many times about what might have happened to her; I've run a cavalcade of faded images through the annals of my mind. Every so often one of them is as real as I am real right now. But voices are harder, harder to preserve in a distortion of reality. I think that the last words she said to me were, “I love you.” Yes, they were.
Neither of us knew what those words meant or what they entailed. I'm not a relationship expert, or a girl, and I will probably never know. Whatever they are, they're more than this football player has with her. I resume the conversation.
-I miss you.
-I miss you too. :(
These things are true; they are reality encapsulated in its most immutable, perfect form – words. I type more words, sharply tapping into the dead silence thirteen times. More reality. It is reality; I think it is.
-I love you …
Reality changes because of time and distance. Minute muscles that I am never aware of quiver, straining to force my eyes open. Everywhere but the white brightness of the screen reflected off my corneas is dark. The ellipsis means that I have no idea of the significance of those words. I will never know the reality of them. They are real and true somewhere. They are. They are.
Right now reality is the raised ridges of my right index finger rubbing the raised bumps of the mouse. Right now it is the liquid beginning to swell and encompass my peripheral vision. There is only information that is less real with every second. It says that she is typing … She's not typing anymore. I'm not typing anymore either.