Safe and Sound 3

I have no idea if the men we met in chatrooms when it was the thing to go in there – this was the nineties – were really men or the age they said they were.

We had conversations on age gaps with our parents, and they themselves had gaps, had dated people with bigger gaps, had questioned their parents about what’s too much and what’s legal.

But the internet’s the leveler. An equalizer. The alternative way to date, where you’re only as powerful as your search engine. Remember when we used Ask Jeeves for our homework and he almost always knew nothing. And neither did the men or the chat rooms.

Message boards ended it for us, created the archaic forms of communication we thought the internet extinguished, and once one had your address it was difficult to sleep, picturing outlines and outfits in pitch dark, and we wished Emma never said our patio doors were like the Scream house, or that it was remote enough for truth.

Might As Well Die

Once Jack’s seen it too he says, “I guess that’s pretty subtle. And small towns are hard to go back to. And Patrick Wilson’s tough to resist, clothed or not wearing anything. And I’ve felt that way too, about a tonne of people, so to insinuate someone’s crazy for stalking an old flame, well, that’s kind of offensive.”

Jack and I met at school, messaged online in the nineties, reconnected later on Facebook. And if it hadn’t been him, it might have been somebody, because I’ve got lists akin to black books of the people I’ve seen, of the sins I’ve committed.

“Charlize Theron looked hot in that top,” Jack says.

“Charlize Theron would look hot in anything,” I tell him. And we’re far from home. And we don’t know what home is, because our parents moved so home’s a floating concept, one we make up, that changes, and the people we pick to go in it, be a part of it, the equivalent to the friends in sitcoms who sit around daily discussing, cancel, aren’t replying when they’re supposed to, and you’d think it’s easier now than ever, but the more texts you get, the emails, the calls and the updates makes you wonder what people did before TV when all you had to look at were books and walls.