This is a bit of a hard post to write and I know I'm going to seem really naive and stupid by the end of it but I kind of feel like I want to get this all down in one place for me to read back on in the future. It's going to be rambly and all about one particular person, so feel free to stop reading now and save yourself five minutes of your life because the chances of this all making sense are slim. I'm writing about something which began (and with hindsight, I see it also ended) in April of this year so it's not so fresh any more. Or as one of my friends put it, not so "raw" any more. I suppose that's true; I'm kind of getting over it more as time goes on.
On Tuesday 9th April 2013 my parents were at work and my brother was out with his friends. It was the second (and final) week of the Easter holidays and my seventeenth birthday was four days away. I was bored out of my mind, so I decided to pay a trip to Omegle at about two in the afternoon and see if I could meet anyone funny or have a really interesting conversation with a total stranger. I don't really remember if I spoke to anyone before I stumbled across a boy who looked about my age. He was sitting in a blue bedroom, had crazy curly hair and was wearing nice woolly jumper. His name was J (well, not really but I don't think I want to put his real name on here), he was seventeen but was in the school year above, and lived in Hertfordshire. We later worked out we live 42 miles apart (and number what does everyone know is the meaning of life?!). We spoke non-stop for an hour and half until he admitted he was an hour late meeting his friends and should probably leave to see them. And I know it sounds so cliched and naive and everything, but I felt like he was one of the first people who really got me. I almost felt like we were the same person. We added each other on facebook just before he left and he asked for my number.
This is the part where I come off as bloody stupid because I gave my number to a guy who I'd known via webcam for less than two hours. I also want to make clear that he was and still is one of the nicest people I know (even though that may contradict what I later write) and he was never at all slimy or sleazy. When he came back home that night, we facebook messaged for about four hours. By the end of the day, we'd exchanged 2000 facebook messages about literally everything; facts about ourselves, most embarrassing stories, religious views, favourite songs. It was mad. Needless to say I didn't sleep that night because I was thinking about him non-stop.
The next day, it was pretty much the same thing. I woke up to a text from him saying "Middle name?" and maybe it sounds stupid, but it made me smile a lot. We spoke for about eight hours that day too. In the evening, he hinted that perhaps we could meet up soon. I was so up for it and told him so. I also said "this is so crazy, we only met yesterday!" to which he replied "I know, but some people just click, eh?" And it was so true: if soul mates exist, that was it. We even joked about it, how we should get married because we were practically the same person. I suggested we could meet up at the end of May because I would be starting hardcore revision for my exams soon and I'd be free by the end of May. So he said yep, that sounds like a good idea. I went to bed pretty late that night because we spoke for so long, but I got a text from him: "I know it's ridiculously fast and short notice, but what about Friday?" And, again, I know it's stupidly cheesy but I immediately knew I wanted to. I called my best friend (oh what a cliche) and we had a quick confab before deciding there was nothing to lose by going.
On Thursday, J and I spoke on the phone for the first time. I'm not always that good on the phone so I was surprised at how easy it was to talk to him and at how light and casual the conversation was. There was never an awkward pause and it just made me think even more that he was the perfect guy. And, you know what, a part of me still does believe that. I think this whole episode was the first time I've honestly thought that everything could work out with someone and could see nothing which could go wrong. We arranged to meet at 11am at Euston the next day. His mum is, from what I've heard, the most relaxed parent on the planet so he told her he was off to meet a girl he'd been talking to online for two days and she literally just asked him what he wanted for dinner when he got back. My mother would have flipped out, so being stereotypical sneaky teenager, I told her I was off to Camden with aforementioned best friend for a little shopping trip. I was beyond excited and it was that lovely fizzy-tummy kind of excitement.
The next day I headed to my nearest tube station to jump on the Northern Line to Euston. It didn't really take long and I was there at 10.35am, so I read the Great Gatsby until J texted to say he'd arrived. I watched him walk through the sea of people in the station and it felt like a movie moment (as he'd say, "movie-esk"). We were both grinning like idiots. He looked exactly how I'd pictured him but one of the first things I remember him asking was "am I a disappointment?" I think he was asking it jokingly, but there's a semblance of truth behind most jokes. I also remember thinking I didn't want to ask him if I was a disappointment in case I didn't like the answer. We stepped out into Central London and walked and talked and joked the whole way. Every time we reached a corner or a different road, we would ask each other "right or left?" and took totally random streets. We wound up in a little park in a very upmarket, posh area (I still have no idea what it was called!) and sat on one of the benches. It started to rain so we snuggled up under my umbrella and chatted for another hour. I felt like I was in a film and found it hard to believe I'd know him for less than three days.
Once the rain stopped, we started walking again. We reached a little map block which looked like this:
... and found out we were only a couple of miles from Camden so we decided to walk there. We kept getting lost and usually I hate not knowing where I am but with him, it didn't matter at all. Ah, how cheesy. After about forty minutes, we ended up on Camden High Street and stopped off in Subway and KFC for lunch. Then we looked around the markets and it looked like J was in heaven. He spent about twenty minutes trying on jumpers and jackets but he's one of those really indecisive people when it comes to shopping and it turned out he didn't buy any of it. We walked down to Camden Lock afterwards and did more window shopping. I showed him one of my favourite little shops there and he insisted on buying me an early birthday present. I'm pretty sure he wanted to spend more than £2 but I hate when people buy me things: I just feel indebted to them. So he got me two boxes of Nag Champa incense which is my all time favourite although the scent just kind of reminds me of him now. It smells fab nevertheless.
It was getting a bit late by then, considering I had to be home at 5.30pm for a planning meeting for Brownies but we popped into a second hand bookshop and looked around for a while. I persuaded J to buy One Day by David Nichols because it's an amazing book and I thought he'd like it. I bought The India House by William Palmer for myself. We walked back to Euston the way we came (i.e. a three mile route). I've since found out it's less than a mile's walk from Camden to Euston down one long straight road, oops. Back at the station we had a ridiculous number of long hugs before I hopped on my tube and he on his train back to Hertfordshire.
Just before I arrived home I got a text from him saying "you make a very good first impression Katherine". Is it really lame I still have that text? That I kept it? Yeah, probably. We continued talking every day for a week after meeting in person but it was for shorter periods each day, and then one day, we didn't talk at all. It was like this for a couple of weeks. Since the very first Omegle day, the longest we'd gone without chatting was probably something stupid like twelve hours so it was a bit, I don't know.. a bit of a shock to the system. And, although I got texts from him a once a week, maybe letting me know what he thought of One Day, or just saying "yo", all of a sudden I was the one making the effort. I'm not saying we should have spoken every day, but I think, especially when it's someone who doesn't live close or who doesn't go to your school, you should perhaps give them more than a ten minute facebook conversation once a week.
I honestly couldn't work him out. I still don't know what his game was. After the Camden day, he'd even invited me up to his house, saying it would be fab to spend the day together there. I get that he's probably coming off as a total dick right now, but it's hard for me to see him that way because of the first couple of weeks I knew him. He made a very good first impression too. It's true what they say about that, that a first impression lasts a lifetime. I'll always see him as one of the sweetest guys I ever met, totally selfless and gentlemanly and generous.
Our conversations, both on the phone and on facebook, became less and less frequent. He said he'd get back to me properly after his exams finished in mid-late June, and I thought that's fair enough, the guy's got to revise. So we left it for about a month and, true to his word, he got back in contact the day his exams finished. Except he began ignoring my messages after a little while, yet was still online. Perhaps I sound like a bit of a stalker here and a bit annoying, but I was actually pretty laid back about it all. I would have minded a whole lot less had he not made promises that we were going to meet up again, had he not talked about a long term friendship. Had he not led me on. We haven't spoken properly in over two months and considering I've known him for less than five months, that's a bloody long time.
I'm a big believer in signs, or fate, or whatever you want to call it. The fact I thought to myself that first day on Omegle "if the next person is no good, I'll make my lunch now" and that J was the next person, and that he hadn't been on there in three years but picked the same day I did to go on it. The fact that his town has only a few thousand people there yet I visited it a year ago, and that his older brother lives just a couple of miles from me. That from his front door to my front door is 42 miles. But for me, the biggest sign is the books. I have close to three hundred books in my bedroom, all ordered alphabetically on my shelves by the author's last name. When J and I met, I was reading the Great Gatsby and he was reading Shades of Grey (not 50, don't worry!). These two books, by some coincidence, sit side by side on my shelf. In the Camden book shop, I bought The India House, while he bought One Day. And again, the two of them sit next to each other. I like that. Even if J and I don't talk anymore, it was a pretty magical month when we were close and I like to have a reminder of that.
I see now that we were both just bored in the Easter holidays and that this was something fun to do. I get now that I was just a bit of entertainment for him and although he talked as if this was for the long run, he didn't mean it. Even though I understand, it didn't stop me feeling hurt by it. By him. I definitely wasn't in love and it definitely wasn't heart break but I did care about him a lot and it's sad not to have him in my life anymore. I feel like he disappeared from my life as quickly as he seemingly magically appeared in it. The boy on the screen.
J, you introduced me to this song and, you know what, I do miss our little talks. A lot.