The email was sent. Now the waiting.
Waiting sucks. Would he write back? When would he write back? What if he is out of town or something and didn't write back for a long time? Will I go nuts waiting for... something? What am I waiting for, anyway? And exactly why am I doing this again?
I don't remember much about the rest of that evening, but I can guarantee that I probably checked my email a bazillion times. And re-read his profile a gazillion times. At some point, my waiting ended, a year ago today.
From: That Guy
Date received: February 24, 2007
Subject: EXCUSE me??
Look, lady, I don't know who you are or who
you think I am, but... What? Who? Oh...
Hi, Liz. 8-)
Har yew? Any Evil Twin sightings? How's your life?
I'll spare you the reams of email exchanged over the next week or two*, but it was a flood of catching up, comparing notes, comparing the contents of our medicine cabinets, comparing personality traits, testing each other's senses of humor, and all sorts of things. Sharing cat pix and kid pix and all sorts of odds and ends about ourselves and our lives. I was too chicken to make the first phone call so eventually he did. I was reassured to find that I recognized his voice.
In an embarrassingly short amount of time, I realized that I was in a bind.
He could write, liked language, had a wide range of interests (shiny!), and had the requisite sense of humor. He knew me, at least on a casual level, and was still willing to engage. I knew him and was still willing to engage. Yeah, I found myself starting to like like him. And I couldn't get any indication of whether he was leaning the same way**. And why was I even thinking that way?
What in the hell was I supposed to do? How could I un-think those thoughts? Once the camel gets its nose under the tent flap, it's all over, you know. Someone's gonna get hurt.
I did the only thing I could do. Thrash, gnash, and wail over things in private and send (hopefully) fun and engaging email. Lots and lots of email. And it was good, in that painful, satisfying, sunburn-peeling, scab-picking sort of way. Every time he wrote back, I could breathe.
But what would happen if we, like, met? In person?
Somehow, despite (or maybe because of) my wide-open emotional state, I was already invested in this... whatever-it-was. I'd never done anything like it before. Could it survive a face-to-face meeting? And even if it did, how could it be anything but a disaster, given my fragile state?
Part IV: In which our protagonist takes it to the next level
* I have it all; every single one.
** I later found out that he pretty much prides himself on not emitting clues. Not helpful in this context. Not one bit.