The Best Internet Friendships I Never Had

I used to have a group of internet friends, all of whom I met in a Skype group chat three years ago. We knew what to call each other, though some knew each other beyond names. I don't know about the others but I assume we felt that we somehow belonged in our own absurd way.

It was the best and the worst of times. Mostly worst. Even so, after the group died down, I'd often imagine a meet-up somewhere in Australia, where most of them lived. One of them would meet me at the airport. I'd come over to their house, where I'd stay for a week or two.

I'd arrive at their place with suitcases in hand and see five boys sitting around the living room, one of whom is my ex from another country. We'd still be friends. I'd give him a genuine smile, gesture my hand in his direction, mentioning that he's arrived earlier than me.

Long calls of my name in different voices and "Oh, the in-real-life Sam!" would welcome my presence. I'd feel awkward but would still involuntarily manage to roll my eyes. I'd give out a laugh. It'd take me a second to believe they're real. They would be no longer just texts, choppy voices and pixelated faces in my screen, but living, breathing boys occupying the same space as me. In real time. In the same time zone. My height would be the first thing they'd talk about.

We'd go out to the city and get in line for the highest and scariest rides. The only argument we'd have is about which restaurant we'd all go to for dinner. We'd order takeout instead.

A few days later, we'd be filming funny videos of ourselves. The house would be messy and noisy. Three of the boys would be heard guffawing in the kitchen as loud music bellows from the speakers near the TV.

At midnight, we'd all be sitting in the living room. Someone would be taking stolen-- mostly awkward— pictures of everyone: in mid-sentence, mid-laugh, mid-sneeze. Another boy would be talking our group chat and who liked who. Some would be teased severely. It would get awkward. We'd end up admitting some things.

An hour before I leave, I'd be taking candid pictures of the boys one last time. My friend's mom would be taking pictures of all of us. We'd be giggling. The sounds of our laughter would already make the air feel nostalgic. Once we're at the airport, they'd let me hug each of them. They'd try to take it down a notch with their sarcasm although some would fail. I'd say "see you later" instead of “goodbye."

When I get home, my phone would be bombarded with Skype notifications. I'd have to scroll up through 500+ messages to know what was going on. We'd all stay in touch for another couple of years.

To this day I still picture scenarios in which all of us met. I create different versions of our story lacking fallouts. In these realities, our multiple chat groups remain at the top of our Skype contacts and each member hasn’t ended up being just another old friend.

But maybe in a parallel universe, we're all living near each other, and none of us are friends. We just pass each other on the street and never really talk. I think what I'm trying to say is that if that parallel universe exists, I'm glad they live miles away from me in here.

Text by Samantha N. Fabian
Visual by Julia Tabor

No comments

Post a Comment