Internet Sucks You In
building your fantasy, destroying your reality- What are the effects on a relationship when too much of our lives are virtual?
"The Kingdom of You"
A short story
In the silence of the morning, staring beyond the space between us, you sip your coffee…light cream with two sugars please…I hear your unspoken words of aloofness. Your teeth bite into the crust of toast and jam, while your brown eyes gaze past me as if watching something outside that transports you to a desirable place. An insignificant smile crosses your lips. I catch the faint movement, and briefly think there is a moment of redemption; perhaps you have remembered something pleasant about us. It disappears as quickly as it came, it was not meant to be shared.
It was another private moment of pleasure kept for yourself, where only you feel the joy. This secret world you are creating is void of my existence, emptied of relationship, expectations, involvement, and touch. It is a fantasy life you are diligently designing and constructing. So many nights I lay in bed wondering whom you are spending time with, where did you go tonight. In the darkness, I hear your fingers caress the keyboard as you spend hour after hour exploring a world of midnight strangers.
Once, in a moment of lonely desperation, I confronted you, looking for a crack where I might step into your kingdom. Your reaction accusing me of invasive paranoia, telling me how silly I am acting. In your ensuing monologue, reciting how devoted you have been; how hard you work; how everything you do is for us. For us? How is this for us?
The creaking grows louder. It is the sound of a heavy door slowly dragging across an uneven floor. The strain of rusty hinges groaning from the neglect of time. Torn by the tension of keeping it open, and desiring relief from the weight, I tremble. As I look into your distant stare, my heart explodes with a longing to be the queen of your world. To share the place beside you, hand in hand, arm in arm, entwined as an unbreakable cord. That was your promise so long ago…now you surround yourself with an unseen wall in a kingdom filled with a life where I am unwelcome and unknown.
If you were caught in bed with a mistress, I could point to her and say, “off with her head”! Or if I found you squandering our fortune on roulette or cards, there would be evidence of your transgression as your chips are stolen one by one. But no, your sins are locked behind password-protected screens of international journeys without passports. There is no proof. Only a growing sense of distance as your travels take you further away into a virtual world of desire and endless exploration.
My heart is tired. I don’t know how much longer I can keep this door of your kingdom from closing in on me. How many more days I can sit hearing the chain of the latch taunting me as it clangs against the beams of distorted motion. How many more nights do I spend enveloped by pillows, rather than your arms? How many more wordless mornings of imaginary pleasantries shared with brief comments on the weather or news or decisions on where to buy wine and cheese?
The creaking is deafening. The weight is overpowering. My limbs ache and my mind is screaming. You will not hear me. You are too preoccupied to notice. You wipe berry jam from your lips as it drips down on your crisp white collar leaving an unnoticed stain. Your lies have invaded truth to such an extent that truth no longer exists. As a puppet speaks the words of its master, your fantasy monologue convinces you to close the door of silly talk and paranoia as “us” dissolves into “you”.
Long live the king. Creak, creak, clang, clang, hush…
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