Vividly Recalling

When I was 17, I had a long-distance girlfriend. That's practically situation normal nowadays, but back then, in the mid-90s, it was still considered weird. People weren't used to the internet yet. Someone you were "talking to" who lived hundreds of miles away, well, they weren't "really" there in any real sense. Just words on a screen. Instant messaging was in its infancy, free email accounts were viewed with great suspicion, and VOIP was years away from the public consciousness. There were no social media platforms. "Other people on the internet" were felt to be lurking somewhere in between reality and imagination. 

And in one sense that was all quite accurate, because I forgot about my girlfriend. She vanished, and I literally forgot all about her, until today. I'm 30.

We used to play video games online together, such as they were around that time. We only knew each other for six or seven months, but I was an emotionally hyperactive teenager... and girls still frightened me when I was close enough to do anything real with them. This was "real" to me, at the time. I felt a real connection with this girl. We had a lot in common. We were both interested in going to college for computer science. She was a little older than me; to me, at the time, that felt risque, but it was only a difference of about 10 months or so. 

One day, I got online to play Warcraft II with her, and she was nowhere to be seen. Nor did I see her the next day, nor the day after that. I was stunned, and taken aback. She hadn't missed one of our scheduled game sessions before. About four days later, "she" finally appeared online again, only it wasn't her. The individual who messaged me, via ICQ, told me that she had disappeared. Her mother had called the police. They suspected that she had run away from home. To be honest, I don't know what to think; I don't know if something happened to her, or if she had in fact run away (she had once mentioned wanting to do so after she turned 18, which she recently had) or if that was actually her messaging me even then as some means of putting an end to our "relationship."

For all I know, "Lisa" wasn't even a girl at all. I could have been catfished. I only ever saw still photos taken over the internet, including a few explicit ones -- but nothing beyond all realm of possibility in terms of faking an identity. 

The thing is... I was disappointed, even crushed, for a few days, but I got over her -- for me, at least -- very quickly, and from that point on I started visiting a few basic gaming Websites and hooking up with other people to play with. And, over time, the memory faded. 

I'm weirded out, right now, by the fact that I totally forgot that she ever existed. I had a dream last night, after playing Warcraft II for the first time in several years (having played it many times since "Lisa" disappeared... either from my life, or literally). Suddenly, the memory of her existence came flooding back. She wasn't the subject of my dream; I recalled one of her photos, one that I now remember liking very much, as I was waking up. It was creepy, like half a year of my life had just vanished, including all recollection of a person I'd had very fond daily interactions with for most of that time. 

So much of my teenage years are a blur; I'm kind of wondering, right now, what else I might not be remembering.

User Comments
Anon-1

I know this feeling. I recently remembered a job I'd had for only three months that I'd literally completely forgotten. Even though I went through many jobs as a kid, I was still a little "weirded out" that I could manage to forget one completely. Maybe our brains don't discriminate when something is set aside, who knows? I don't think you're alone, though. 

Anon-2

I don't know how you forgot a girlfriend, but maybe the trauma of her disappearance had something to do with it? I wouldn't turn up my nose at a long-distance relationship; these days, it's very common. I think it just took most people a while to get used to the idea of it.

Anon-3

Maybe your girlfriend wasn't that memorable. I don't say that to be mean; thinking back to my own teenage years, I'm pretty sure that I thought each and every girl was going to be The One, and I was as sure of it on the day that things ended as I was when they began, you know what I mean? Don't be too hard on yourself here. Be thankful for those still in your life, breathe, and continue to grow and meet new people :)

Anon-4

With all the love and respect that a person as goodhearted and concerned for others as yourself deserves: relax :) Whether or not you were catfished (statistically, more often than not, when this kind of thing happens, it's the person you've been talking to right along backing out of something they no longer want) it's obvious that you simply moved on in your life. Not everyone can do that, so congrats :D :D

Anon-5

We sometimes forget things when we move on. I wouldn't read too far into it, except to say that -- beyond having fun with the gaming and the naughty pics (who doesn't like naughty pics?) -- this person was probably more of a release for you than a deep and abiding relationship... in the sense that most young couples are just that. You moved on. Whether her disappearance was real or not it's hard to take something like that in through a text message. Don't beat yourself up! :)