She texted him, he texted her, she texted him, and then he texted her back. Their language was cautious and carefully chosen. Both aware of the risks they were taking. Aware they must be cautious and avoid revealing too much.
But still the texting continued, sometimes with confidence, other times with uncertainty until eventually it became the language of intimacy. Shocking epiphanies. Words of lust made flesh. Interspersed with unrestrained sexual hyperbole – an extravagance of Chaucerian phrases of devotion and Freudian expressions of need.
But he lived here and she lived there, geographically distant from each other. They had certainly lucked out career-wise, each in a place with secure promise of their star rising. How foolish and impractical it would be for him to go to her or her to go to him. Foolhardy, it would be to sacrifice the mad success around the next corner by either of them leaving their Promised Land.
So despite the mutual strumming of heartstrings, if mutual can exist across such a vast separation, how silly it would be to give up their dream of fame, wealth, and independence. Why should they when each can access the other so quickly through text messaging? More quickly than one can access another in the same bed in a tangled twine of sheets?
And so they remained where they were and she texted him and he texted her and she texted him back. After all love is intangible. A shock wave, an impulse, so why not allow it to flow within it’s own currency?
It cannot be denied that it was a passion of love and electronic devotion. True, deep, and abiding love traveling with ease the smooth pulse of a bonfire of text interchange. The words on the screen validated it. Made it truth and reality. And so, before long, in a flash of reckless text and electronic waves and icon asteroids they consummated their love through some untold means that even Darwin would fail to understand. It was now, in truth, an affair.
But this will never do. What respect in this association? An affair must be legalized. So they texted a minister, he texted them back and they hired a Cyber-Geek to create a wedding venue. A beautiful and sanctified space with icons of cool-burning candles, a gilded altar, massive flowers, balloons, the delightful strains of a wedding march, and stitched digital photos of the princess and her prince.
The minister texted them the all-important questions and they responded in quivering, nervous yet bold interfaced italics. All of it enchantingly beautiful and duly witnessed by the Geek and an errant Commenter who accidentally happened by.
But still they felt incomplete. Their loins burning and empty. And so Mr. and Mrs. ASCII worked hard at improving their relationship with more text and still more text.
Each wrestling within their own messaging space with icons and alphabet symbols, phrase and poetry, until exhaustion and the strain of it all overrode their painful need. And in the brief spurts between they sated themselves with smug self-stroking of their wisdom. With the boldness of this new preference they congratulated themselves on their uncanny wisdom to remain in their own geographic space, ascending with such rapidity career ladders stable-set with sturdy rungs that invited them onward and upward. Hearts beat as one when he texted her that he had been named ‘Business Man of the year’ and she responded that she was now the ‘top CEO’ within a prestigious institution.
Years swiftly passed and he texted her and she texted him. And then one day, for each, a memory came softly sneaking around the edges of minds that were forming more ASCII compositions. A vague gnawing memory of what had been forgotten. And what it was, were the legends of things that formed the culture of their birth and childhood.
They had forgotten the pitch and fall and rise of voices and how that melody gives meaning to words. They had forgotten how in a physical space intuition reaches out in an interchange, despite happy smiles, and verbal assertions of contentment, to dispense truth and the real essence of things hidden beneath an exterior display of physical calmness. They had forgotten the clarity of the silent messages delivered by the coloring of a countenance, a bodily gesture, or a smoldering optical exchange.
They forgot skin is warm, silky, and delicate to the touch. That even hair when stroked by another can cast a magical spell. They knew nothing of warm body oils and gentle massage. And without this, they forgot how a gentle touch and soft caress is as nurturing to adults, as it is to a child.
But all that aside, they had a preference, and to each their own. But still I can’t help but think that this new preference jeopardizes the sustainability of human life on this planet. And furthermore, what might become extinct is the precious thread of touch and intuition that connects us to a partner’s ardent care or a child’s emotional need.