/Whois - Chapter 20 - A Snotter is Born
I'm sure some of you are wondering why I didn't just do it. Why didn't I just pack it all up and leave it all behind for the glorious promise of Australia?
Well...there was my job...and my family, they were primarily in New Hampshire and totally within the United States. There were my cats to be considered...I wasn't leaving them behind. Oh...and citizenship, and health care...what if I became ill? I became really good at thinking up reasons NOT to go to Australia. The truth was...the idea scared me to death. It scared me so badly that not even the promise of Otter's devotion and Kimbrr's assistance could budge me.
Every man that I'd ever involved myself with had turned out to be something other than what I believed them to be. My ex-fiance, had turned out to be a sociopathic rapist and murderer (another story for another time), my husband was stalking me on a computer...was it REALLY a stretch to think that perhaps Otter would be no better? I could only conclude that either I was a really bad judge of character...or I made men, normal men...crazy. And not in a good way. Travelling to Australia and hoping things would be different didn't sound like the solution to my problem. It sounded more like running away...
So even though the idea was tempting, and occasionally I would enjoy a daydream or two about how great it could be...in reality, the cold hard truth was...I was incapable of just packing it up like Kimbrr did. I simply wasn't brave enough. Or maybe...just maybe I was really the only sane one. Who knows?
Otter and I continued to meet on IRC, deftly dodging Jerry who hunted us down. The cyber-terrorism continued and took on varied forms. Occasionally, private files of mine would mysteriously show up on Jerry's e-mail and I'd force him to delete them without reading them. But who were we fooling? We both knew that he had put them there in the first place so obviously he had already read them. Pieces of files would show up embedded in odd places and I'd spend hours scouring my computer looking for other signs of intrusion. Jerry still insisted that Pat was lurking about trying to track the mysterious enemy. It became rather dull after a while.
Kali took a trip to Australia, to visit Kimbrr in her new place and to meet with all of our assorted friends in the land down under. I envied her. She made a point to meet Otter and report back to me.
"He's shorter than I thought, Sno," she giggled, "but definitely very cute...and oh he just couldn't stop asking all sorts of questions about you."
Shortly before Christmas, things finally came to a head...
Jerry and I were at my company Christmas party and not one to miss out on a potential bit of fun, Vince plied him with alcohol, lots of alcohol, and goaded him into talking about Otter. I threw Vince an evil look that promised possible dismemberment as I escorted Jerry to the car, raving about "blowing Otter up to smithereens."
"I can do it you know...I'll put a bomb in his car...and BLAM! No more Otter!" he declared laughing madly.
"Jerry...shut up. Pass out or something...but just shut up. Your mouth is open and chunks of stupid are falling out."
Otter also seemed to be having a meltdown of his own. During one of our times together...involved in "other stuff"...he begged me to hurt him. To make him bleed. Hurt him? Make him bleed? What the hell was this?
I watched my screen as Otter became this spineless creature...incapable of standing up for himself. How dare he? After all I'd been through...after all WE had been through...he was suddenly just giving up?
I'm sure he was expecting whips and chains...I don't know. But if Otter wanted to bleed, I didn't need any instrument of torture to satisfy his request. If he wanted pain...so be it. I'd show him what pain was...
You probably think...where the hell did this come from? Yeah...me too. The thing is, we'd kept everything under too much pressure for far too long...it was just a matter of time before bolts started unbolting and seams started unseaming. That we'd managed to keep it under control for as long as we did was actually nothing short of miraculous. I just really found it inconvenient that both Otter and Jerry decided to blow at the same time.
I remember the room clearly...it was pure white. We hadn't added any other detail to it except for just being there. As he stood there, his head hanging...I walked around him and sliced him open...with words. He flinched, often...but he took it. I taunted, I teased...I was vicious in my assault...because you see, I knew him so well...I knew his vulnerabilities...and I used them mercilessly.
Without warning, Otter spun around and wrapped his hands around my throat. He started to squeeze...
Sitting safely in the chair at my desk, all I could do was blink...and then...
*snobird lifts her chin higher...arrogantly...offering a better grip to Otter*
He fell apart then...collapsing at my feet...sobbing...
Otter: I love you...I can't do this...I love you...I hate this...I HATE THIS!
Obsession. It's a very dangerous thing...
In real life, or in the cyberworld..it has the power to destroy lives. What started off as a simple hobby...a bit of escapism from a life that I hated, was destroying everything I loved. At the end of my hook, Otter was thrashing...trying in desperation to break free...but he wasn't strong enough. Hell, I didn't think I was strong enough...
It would take Jerry to finally begin a course of action that would slowly free us all.
For the moment, I could only comfort Otter as best I could. I held him and spoke gently...
Snobird: Y'know...I always thought when the end came...it would be in the scuba suit.
*Otter wipes his eyes, blows his nose and just stares at Snobird*
Otter: I always thought the same thing...funny, huh? We had a good run though...nearly a year sno. We almost made it a full year.
Otter: Sno? Why can't I let go? Even now...even after all...THAT...I still want you.
Snobird: Probably for the same reasons I can't let go Otter. I don't know...
Otter: Sno...it's killing me.
*Snobird holds Otter tightly rocking him slowly...*
Snobird: I know, babe...I know.
I walked into the living room one evening and found Jerry deep in conversation with an otter. My hackles rose and although I asked both of them what they had been discussing, neither one was forthcoming with a response that felt totally satisfactory.
I had a very bad feeling about it...
Within days, Otter delivered the bad news.
Otter: Sno...I'm in a world of shit here.
Snobird: What happened babe?
Otter: Well...you know how I've been talking to you from work and all...well I guess they finally figured it out and...well, it's my job sno...you understand.
Snobird: Of course I do Otter...you don't have to even ask.
Otter: And the wife...well she found that cassette you sent...so she's even angrier than before. She made me destroy it, Sno...she stood there while I pulled it apart and threw it away.
Snobird: Omg! Otter...I'm so sorry.
Otter: My own fault...I should have hid it better...not yours.
Snobird: Can I still e-mail you?
Otter: Maybe in a little while...let things cool down a bit...okay? Then...maybe sno...maybe.
Otter: I just...well...I want you to know something. It's important okay...so pay attention!
Snobird: Okay babe...
Otter: No matter what happens...where I go...what I have to do...I'm always with you sno...okay? I love you...and nothing can change that. You won't forget?
It was hard to see everything since the screen had gone so blurry. I had to dash away my tears in order to read it all.
Snobird: I won't forget...
And he was gone just like that. I suspected that it was all fabricated...but I couldn't be sure. Either way, he had effectively tied my hands. Nobody else could have done it as well as he did...knowing exactly how much I would have suffered just to avoid hurting a person I loved.
Days stretched into weeks...and I marked them off on my calendar. They became known as Otterless days. One Otterless day...seven Otterless days...and eventually I had entire month of Otterless days. I didn't want to believe it...I still hoped that he'd come back. That one day I'd be sitting there waiting and he'd blow into the room on a chaotic whirlwind and say, "Sno! I was just kidding! C'mon...let's go play!"
Jerry didn't believe he was really gone. Ironically enough, after getting what he wanted, he believed my tally was a way of marking off days until Otter's return. I couldn't convince him otherwise.
I still spent time on my computer, but I kept the chat in the background now and my primary source of comfort was found in writing. I could sit and write for hours at a time. But no matter what I wrote, I could not find closure to it all. It didn't seem...done...yet.
It was really simple actually...I had to go back in, one more time...to the scuba suit.
First, I went in as snobird and then I opened the chat program again and went in as otter. It felt kind of strange at first...being there...seeing Otter's name beside mine in the nickname list and knowing there was nothing behind it but wishful thinking and regret.
I locked the door...
The last thing I wanted was an interruption.
*snobird pulls otter's lifeless body into her lap and gently touches the still features*
Snobird: I miss you.
Snobird: And a part of me is so very angry with you too...even though I understand.
*snobird pauses to wipe her nose before continuing*
Snobird: I love you...I will always love you. All I ever wanted was for you to be happy...and if that means being happy without me, then I'll find a way to live with that. But you could have told me the truth...
*snobird looks around, noticing the accumulation of dust on the furniture and the smell of toothpaste*
Snobird: We had some good times though...didn't we piscavour? LOL! I can almost see you running around screaming, "Oh! My eye! My eye!" after I got in that great toothpaste shot...
*Snobird smiles remembering...*
Snobird: Those were good times, Otter...best of times. I'll never forget them...not ever.
Snobird: So I just wanted to say thank you.
Snobird: Thank you for helping me be whole...and showing me that I have to stop being afraid.
Snobird: You were my friend...my BEST friend...
Snobird: ...and you still are.
*Snobird places a kiss on Otter's lips and gently pats his fur...*
Snobird: Goodbye Otter...I have to go now.
Snobird: I'm sure you understand...
Snobird: Two peas...remember...?
*Snobird smiles sadly*
Snobird: I still haven't seen Russia...
And with that, I exited the room...leaving otter behind and deleted it forever.
I meant what I said in that room though...every word. Without Otter, I might never have found my way out of half a life. But I still felt the ripping sensation when we were torn apart. The tingling sensation in my belly button disappeared...there was no longer an otter at the other end of the tin can phone. When I felt it...after nearly two months of Otterless days, I knew...and in my car I howled in pain and grief. It was a very frightening sound...one I hope never to hear coming from a human again...and especially not myself.
After that...Snobird ceased to exist. There were a few people in IRC that would continue to call me that...diehards from the original room. But as the membership gradually turned over, I became for all intents and purposes, spryte.
She wasn't quite the snotter that Otter had originally envisioned...but I'd like to think I came pretty darn close. I think Otter would be quite proud of his daughter...the product of our imaginations bundled up in one tiny little creature capable of a great deal of mayhem. I know that personally, I enjoy the hell out of her...but I try to keep her on a tighter leash. I'm happy to report she hasn't destroyed anyone yet.
As for the rest of the story...I think there are only a couple more chapters left to go...and to be quite honest I'll be glad when this confession is done. It's been hell.