“Bloop!” One notification can change someone’s life forever, and I was puerile and young about relationships. How could one person be so intimate with another when online texting or skyping? You cannot feel their breath, only the frigid screen. You cannot see the emotion in their eyes, only an invisible glimmer of the camera lens. You cannot hear their exasperating or buoyant words, only read monotone texts.
However, this notion did not occur to me as I checked my Facebook account. I was asking, “Who could it be? Who had sent me a friend request?” I slid the mouse smoothly over the icon and opened the notification list. Abruptly, a small draft pricked my neck hair on end as I stared at the white and blue screen, having second thoughts about this simple situation. Caitlyn Hall? I had no idea who this person was or how she had found me, but curiosity burned in my eyes as I viewed her profile. She was all pale, except for her melon-shaped rosy cheeks, and her hair was a thin mahogany that sparsely laid on her shoulders. She had an optimistic vibe that came from her thin lipped grin, and I discovered that she was 14, the same age as me. She lived in Nebraska.
“DING!” A message uncovered itself as I held my breath. It was this mystery girl I knew vaguely about. She seemed amicable, and I accepted her friend request. Over the next hour we discussed bits and pieces about ourselves: our personality, our past, our future, our likes, our dislikes, but nothing personal because we were shy about our beliefs and secrets. She listened, I listened, and we soon grew to trust each other. It felt like an immediate click, like we’d be friends forever, and that cliché about “long distance relationships will never last” never once poked into my conscience. Perhaps I was too young to listen to my parents and siblings. They didn’t trust this person, they thought I was being ‘Catfished,’ and they worried about my health. Nevertheless, we grew closer and stated all of our problems, and we soon conquered most of them by either comforting each other with sincerity or encouraging to let it go.
In November of my junior year, Caitlyn and I had scarcely talked for a month. As worried as I was, I checked her profile to see when she last posted. I scrolled down a smidge and winced to find a post from only a few hours earlier. She was tagged in a photo with a tall, plump, sketchy boy. Her sister wrote: “My sis and her boyfriend on a date at the zoo.” My vision of Caitlyn rapidly faded and she turned into a clandestine cloaked person that I’d never once laid my eyes on. She was once innocent to me, but she had now become the devil in disguise.
There can be flaws, lies, and secrets that are hidden behind a pale sulking face that never shows a single emotion. A dagger once hidden in a sleeve can be pulled forth and plunged ruthlessly into the chest of innocence. Behind trust resides the shadowy specter of betrayal, the wielder of the dagger. I felt it sink inside me, its icy blade carving out my core and sprinkling me onto the barren bedrock. I collapsed in my demise, utterly alone.
No. One more figure was standing over my dancing shadow crying over the heart. It was the cloaked figure, the one that I did not know anymore. They gave a grim, emotionless grin. As I saw m
yself fall onto the ground, I hid my emotions and tears, seeing nothing but the ragged earth under me. The somber chamber that once contained my heart closed, and a mountain of steel sealed it. I was broken. I was an empty, impenetrable shell.
But it was not the end. Somehow, in the days and weeks and months of freedom from this relationship, my heart learned how to mend and stitch.
Takoda Poindexter is a student at Virginia Western Community College