Barlow’s lost love

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He sat back in the creaking oak chair and touched the space bar, rousing the machine from sleep. The same screen popped up and taunted him, demanding a password again. Had he tried her name before? Misspelled it? Character by character he pecked out Christina. Nothing. Then for the first time he noticed an icon hidden in the lower left corner of the screen. How could he have missed this? Was it there before but unnoticed because the other two icons claimed his full attention? Did it pop up on its own by magic? It called itself Narc-moo alias. “Curiouser and curiouser,” he said aloud. He punched it with the cursor.

The screen came to life with a seductive black page that was crisscrossed by lines of white Verdana font and dotted with photographs of a beautiful woman in various scenes and poses. It was one of those web logs he always found to be more annoying than informative, personal diaries, outrageous scandal sheets, online space for intellectually bankrupt newspaper columnists, and soap boxes for unintelligible citizen-journalists.


At the top right corner of the page the sultry face of a black-haired woman with penetrating green eyes looked directly at him. She could have been anywhere between her mid-to -late thirties judging by the knowing furrow in her brow. Under the photo was the name he hoped to find: Christina.

“Bingo!” the coroner exclaimed. In the profile box she wrote a self-introduction: “I’m a jobless geneticist, a lost genome mapper. I’ve used a lot of IT in my work but I’m a complete idiot when it comes to blogs and social networking, so please indulge me while I figure this out.”

The top, most recent entry made him sit up straight.



Thursday, October 31, 2003

Found You!

Oh my God! Call me Raul. I am out of my mind . . . you’re alive! The private investigator just phoned me and said he’d found you in San Francisco living alone in the Mission District and I’m so relieved, my worst fears haven’t come true. You survived all those terrible diseases and your awful marriage. I don’t care whether you want to see me ever again, but that doesn’t matter. When I told you to go away and leave me alone I hated you and resolved to forget you forever because you were so self-centered and hopelessly locked into your other life but I don’t know why, all the while I wanted to see you anyway to try again. I wanted to see you against my own dignity and self-interests. I don’t want to intrude on your messy personal life because I’m not a stalker, I am the one who made you go away, and when I thought about it I hated you all over again. When I tried to find you everything I knew about you was gone, your phone number didn’t work, my emails bounced back, your letters came back marked undeliverable. I called your bureau and the guy said you quit and didn’t leave a forwarding address. It was like you were lost at sea and on land you totally disappeared from the grid. Damn you Raul, you idiot. You should have known how I really felt. Where have you been hiding for the past three years! I guess I should be happy you didn’t reconcile with your wife, or move to China or Africa to start all over as a correspondent, or go out and die on me.

Shit, Raul. The investigator instructed me to wait patiently, he said he’d given you my phone number and Web address for this blog and that the first thing I needed to do is sit back and give you time to react and decide whether to call me or not. As if I was some kind of woman scorned, and planned to slice you up with a kitchen knife. Simply a precaution, he said, because you never know in my trade. I told him when I hired him the truth, that I was the one who threw you out of my life because I felt like a whore being with an older married man who was incapable of making up his mind. And then lately I regretted what I did after thinking about it for a long time so the guy took pity on me and agreed to help. I’m so embarrassed about what I wrote in this blog. If I knew how to erase it I’d make it go away so you wouldn’t get the wrong impression about me. I’m not a woman possessed just feeling really bad about what happened and the way it happened, what a waste. I’m starting my life over again and if I don’t find you now to tell you this it would haunt me, forever. Please try to understand, you have to understand. Don’t judge me by my stupid blog, Raul, it’s not what you think. It’s not who I really am. I’ve just been coming out of a long emotional funk and the more I get my balance the more I’ve been thinking about you. Damn you. You probably haven’t thought about me at all so please forgive me if I’m being creepy, Raul. I’m so sorry. I can’t help it.

Everything is coming loose all of a sudden. I spilled my guts about this the other night when me and my friend Isabelle when we were getting roaring drunk on tequila at her apartment celebrating the acceptance of my dissertation and talking about how barren my love life has been when I was finishing the fucking research. It’s not just that I didn’t have time for a man, and there wasn’t a lack of prospects. There were guys hitting on me at the lab and Alex was pounding at my door begging to be let back in, but I just haven’t been interested. Sometimes I think I’m holding out for someone, maybe it’s you. I got to find out, Raul.

Isabelle was adamant that I should hire this private eye she knew to find you. I said no, no, no but she persisted, saying I had to get you out of my system and move on. That’s all I’m trying to do Raul. Then I’ll leave you alone. It wasn’t my idea but you must think I’m a total fool. Holy Christ what have I done? We’ll just hate each other all over again.

So now this man says if I don’t hear from you within 48 hours he’d stop by with a dossier of photos and information and leave the rest up to me. I’d have to put it deep in a desk drawer to ferment with so many broken fantasies. I’ll know then that I made you up out of my own imagination, just as you made me up out of yours.

Call me Raul!

Posted by Christina at 7:45 PM 1 Comments


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