Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The beginning of us, part 4

I had my modem set to check my e-mail once an hour. Many times I couldn't wait though for the computer to wake up from its sleep and the modem to start its screeching. I had put myself OUT there, and I was a nervous wreck.

About 24 hours later, I heard that familiar voice.

"You've got mail."

I can't remember exactly what his message said. I know he asked me some questions about where I had been the last eight years since we graduated from high school. So, I had to write back. I made sure to wait at least an entire day before sending my reply. I didn't want to seem too interested.

I was living in Springfield, Ill., at the time. I was a newspaper reporter, working in the state Capitol Building. One of my main "beats" was the Illinois Department of Corrections. I had been covering a death penalty case and somehow the subject came up. For several e-mails, we chatted about the death penalty. I didn't really care if he was for it or against it. I was just impressed he had some thoughts about it.

He lived in a university town in Mississippi, and he was proud of the fact that he had managed to get a password into the Internet on campus. That was what he used to check his e-mail. At some point in our string of conversations, I realized he also used the university's Internet to look up some of my articles on line. He was spying on me.

For the next few months, we would e-mail almost daily. One time, I didn't get an e-mail for several days.

"That's it," I decided. He must have met some cute Mississippi girl and forgotten completely about me. When he finally wrote back three days later, he apologized profusely. He had been sent on a work trip to Texas and couldn't write. He checked for my message the minute he got home.


This was perfect. I had lived by myself for five years already, and I was accustomed to having the freedom to do my thing: hanging out with friends on the weekends, working late when I needed to, going for bike rides in Washington Park, meeting up with my reporter friends or their wives for our "book club," meeting people for dinner.

I could come home and have some interesting conversation at the end of the day. I was starting to settle in. This was nice. Then he asked me if he could have my phone number.

"Oh, no!" I thought. "This could ruin everything."

Things were going so well. Did we really have to destroy our relationship by talking on the phone? What if he turned out to be a complete idiot in real life? I wasn't excited about this new phase, but I knew I was only prolonging the inevitable. At some point, we would need to talk. I mean, really.

Reluctantly, I gave him my number. He told me he would call me on Saturday. I tried to stay away from my apartment as much as possible. I wanted to make sure I missed his call.

When I was home, I would try to talk on the phone so he couldn't get through. I definitely didn't want him to get the idea that he could just call me any old time, and I was going to be there to pick up the phone.

He left a message.

He didn't sound too bad.

I called him back at a time I knew he would be at work just so I could listen to his answering machine.

OK. He sounded normal enough.

I called it a few more times, just to be sure.

When he finally called back, I couldn't handle the suspense any longer. Caller ID hadn't even been invented yet at that point, but I could tell who was calling. My stomach was full of butterflies when I picked up the phone.



To be continued...



Anonymous said...

Well.. I'll say this for ya... You know how to drag it out!! And keep us interested!!! Loving it!

Sues said...

I am LOVING your story so far! :-D JB & I also had a long email stint - we were already together, but we had only been dating 6 months when I went to live in Germany for a year and he started grad school in Wisconsin. (Our undergrad is in North Carolina.) We figured if we could get through that year apart & still want no one else, we could make it through anything. :-) It was actually two years of email, b/c when I came back, I still had my senior year in NC while he was in WI; but at least we were on the same continent. :-P For his wedding present 3 years later, I printed out EVERY.SINGLE.EMAIL we'd exchanged when I was in Germany (I had saved them all on - GET THIS! - a floppy disk! :-D) and had them bound into a book.
PS - you & I were so alike in high school, except I was dancing & singing instead of tennis & band. ;-)

everydayMOM said...

Hey Beth, thanks for reading! Well... I figured if I'm going to write this story, I should include all the details! And if I wrote it all at once, you would NEVER read it all! :)

everydayMOM said...

Thanks, Sues! I saved all of our e-mails, too. They are somewhere in this house on a FLOPPY disk! Now, how will I ever retrieve them?!? :)

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