To My Pre-Internet Ex Who Died

Once in a while I forget you’re dead and I wonder how you turned out, as if you lived somewhere else and we drifted apart or lost touch. Maybe you started a family or left an old job, bought a house or sold a used car. I forget that I am about a decade older now than the age you were allowed to live, before you died on a year that seemed so long ago, before “@” was “at” and dial-up modems made robotic sounds of another world waiting. I think about how you said we should update our bank records in case our measly balances would be obliterated by Y2K, how we wrote poems in one of two fonts on a dot matrix printer at a time when Wordstar was still king and Spell Check involved red pens.

Sometimes I wake from this dreamy presumption and decide to drop you a line but I’m faced with the dilemma of where to write. You only had your grandmother’s address at a house you didn’t even like, where mail arrived according to the temper of the mailman or the flood status of city streets, if luxury and urgency dictated a speedier courier. Sentiments of affection or resentment took at least three days, enough time for moods to change and minds to forget whatever it was that had us worried. We’d stack letters and organize a neat file that kept us company on many young days apart when we seemed pulled by the many odd callings forward.

I didn’t know the world was going to get so small that a word could be sent to another hemisphere in a second. I had no clue that it would spin so fast that I could take a picture and post it on a cloud for everyone to see. When I think about you I wonder if “LOL” would annoy you as much as it annoys me, if you would have a blog and if you’d think Twitter was a breakthrough in communication or a medium for self-indulgence.

Most of all I’m curious to know what you would think of me and how I look or who I love and why; I’m curious if the idea you had of the adult me in any way represents who I am today. In some ways I’m thankful that to you Google could only be a fun way to spell infinity, and that the shameless exaggeration that is my profile page is safe from the judgment of your
eyes that are probably stuck under their lids. It was a time when knowing me
could only involve an actual hilarious conversation, over a warming non-virtual beer, with an unsolicited non-emoticon smile. TC mark

image – Robert Lawton


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  • Meaghan Zabinsky

    absolutely loved this.

    • Shakira

      Thank you.

  • saritapatrice

    Wow. I love the sincerity of your writing.

    • Shakira Andrea Sison

      Thanks. :)

  • Andrew Hsieh

    “guhhhhhhhhh” is my only reaction.

  • ricky sccchitliyz

    something sincere on thought catalog, this is much needed and much appreciated and good

  • mack

    wow, i wish this was longer.

  • george brostanza


  • Rachel Butters Scotch

    I wish I had this. Well, not the death part, but the genuine human relationships “pre-internet post high-school”.

  • Litratula Com

    Thanks! :)

  • westwood

    That really struck a chord with me. I feel melancholy now, but in the important way that means that I learned something worthwhile.

  • Marthabuca


  • Smello22

    loved. thank you.

  • Robyn_lewis13

    This almost had me in tears. so, so beautiful. never give up writing, please.

  • flipside of a memory

    I knew you and him.  He was a wonderful teacher/mentor.  One of the very few professors I can say left a mark during my “formative years” as a would be adult.  You probably don’t know me anymore, but I am glad I met you both and heard your mind, heart and soul pre-internet. and when he was still around.  I hope life is lovely for you now.  He is missed. and this is beautiful.

    • Litratula

      flipside – sino ka? sulatan mo ako via  – thanks!

  • SueBeDoo

    Fantastic.  Write more for TC, please :-) 

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