Throughout my blog I have mentioned a number of times how I used to chat online when I was in high school. This was way before Facebook and even MySpace. This was when Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was huge and there was no way of uploading photos in a few seconds. Then again I was never tech savvy so maybe there was and I just had no idea how to do it.
On IRC you could enter different channels based on different interests and at that time in my life I was still finding myself. The only things I was interested in were Archie comics, Aqua’s “Barbie Girl” and Saved by the Bell. That was it. So I joined a channel called Melbourne and I met people who were a little weird – just like me. I found my place in the world and I wanted to visit as much as I could!
Eventually I checked out some other channels. My online personality was getting ballsy and I wanted to charm new blood. Somehow I ended up in a channel called Rave. Don’t ask me why. I’d never been to a rave and couldn’t stand that doof doof music.
Through Rave I met a number of people. Most of them were from Sydney and interested in music. Some of of them made their own music and were even DJ’s. Way too cool for me.
But there was one guy who stood out. He was friends with someone I was quite close to and so he, Ben Niland (use of actual name so that if he ever googles himself he will find this), and I started to chat. He was an avid reader, played piano and even created his own music.
He was lovely.
I could talk to Ben about anything and he always had good advice.
Thinking about him now I can’t remember what we talked about specifically. All I remember is that he made me happy and I wanted to meet him.
In year eleven I flew to Sydney with my family and I arranged to meet Ben in the city. Gosh I was nervous. What if he didn’t like me? What if he was a weirdo? What if he was dangerous?
With all these questions going through my mind I was amazed that I didn’t back out and hide. But I guess when you’ve been talking to someone for so long all those fears go out the window and you just believe it’s all going to be ok.
Ben liked cigars and he was a writer. I wanted to show him that I was into the same things (but you and I know I was still watching kids shows and listening to Aqua), so I bought us a couple of cigars and I took him my journal.
We spent a day together. Chatting, drinking coffee and hanging out with some of the other “ravers”.
Wow, I was so happy that day.
When the day came to an end he took me back to the city to meet my family. We talked and laughed and I was oblivious to the rest of the world.
It all came to an end when we got up as my ride walked towards me. I remember Ben stood still as I walked away and I looked back at one point. I really wanted to run back to him and give him a great big hug. But something stopped me. I couldn’t do it and so I turned around and kept on walking.
Of course Ben and I stayed in touch and saw each other again but for years I kicked myself for not doing it. For me that hug was my way of saying thank you so much for your friendship and love. I never thought I could express it through words.
Maybe these words are enough.
Sent from my iPad