Friday 29 April 2011

Cyber Love

I'm about to meet the girl I love for the first time.

I'd met her on the internet. Her name was Lauren, and she was a teacher. We had been emailing each other for a few months, until eventually, we decided to meet. I was wearing my red check shirt and jeans, just like I'd said. She, Lauren would be wearing the same. God, I'm nervous, I mean, I really think we have something. Something... good? Online, it seemed like it. A face catches my eye from a bench a few metres away. There's this girl staring at me. It's getting a little unnerving. She looks, what, sixteen? I'm looking away, but she's still staring at me when I peek at her again. She's walking over. She probably wants directions or something. Not from around here.

'Are you... Niall?'

She's mixed up. Yes, my name's Niall, but she obviously wants another Niall. Some idiot with zits who thinks he's God's gift to teenage girls. I keep ignoring her.

'Are you Niall from the internet? NiallEleventhDr?'

That was my username. That is my username online! But I'm sure there's plenty of Doctor Who fans called Niall. It's a complete coincidence. Her top is red. It has a checked pattern on it. It's probably a complete coincidence. Definitely. I decide I should say something. 'I'm sorry, who are you?'

'I'm Lauren! It's great to meet at last.'

She sticks her hand out, but I don't think I can offer my own. Lauren! She's Lauren! Lauren, the twenty-four year old teacher! Lauren, the girl I've been chatting to online for the past year! Lauren, the... teenager?! The red checked shirt! Just like mine! Oh my God!

God, I should probably say something.

'No. I'm sorry, you've obviously got me mixed up with someone else.'

'No, I'm pretty sure I haven't. You're Niall. I'm Lauren. We said we would meet here last Tuesday. I'm sorry I'm late, I got held up finishing some homework. You know how it is...' she says with a careless wave of her hand.

Homework! I'm twenty-four! I haven't done homework in six years!

'Look, there's obviously been a mistake. I'm waiting for a different Lauren - '

'Who's twenty-four years old, a teacher from Limerick, who you met on a Doctor Who forum? Everyone exaggerates on the internet, idiot. I thought you were my age as well.'

Everyone exaggerates on the internet? Well, of course I knew that. I just...

'Thought you were different, that's all.'

I said that out loud?!

'Different? Older, you mean. I thought you were someone else too, some guy from my school. Still, I can't complain. McDonalds?'

She thought that I was some... some kid? She just 'can't complain'? Seriously?

'Christ, how old are you? Sixteen?'

'Fourteen. I've got a voucher for a chicken nugget meal. You can have it though, if you want.'

Fourteen. I am on a date with a fourteen year old girl. How on earth did this happen? I can hear sirens behind me, police sirens, but that could just be my imagination. I think people are starting to stare. I'm spending too much time with a fourteen year old girl that I don't know than is good for me. Jesus, I could be arrested! Falling in love with a fourteen year old girl online! I could be put on the sex offenders register! What would my mother think?

'Have you seen the new episode? Personally, I don't think Amy is actually River Song. Still, I tend to get these things wrong. What do you think?'

I miss Lauren. But Lauren isn't coming. Lauren doesn't exist. A figment of some evil child's imagination.

'Look, just... never mind, alright?'

I walk away. Just before I turn the corner, I look back, and she's on her phone. Moments later, I get an email.

'Tlk 2 u l8r?'

I should say no. I should delete the text, and delete her from my life. But she's the closest thing I've got to Lauren. Besides, she'll be eighteen in a few years. And there's no laws against us being friends. Plus, she likes Doctor Who.


'Gr8! i <3 u xxxxx'

Lauren is worth it Lauren is worth it Lauren is worth it

There's a hand on my shoulder. I freeze, expecting it to belong to a guard, but it's a young, pretty woman.'Are you Niall?'

Nice red shirt. Red suits her. 


miss vintage vixen. said...

Oh my God. You're officially my hero and you need to get published. As in... now.

"Nice red shirt. Red suits her."


miss vintage vixen. said...

P.S. Cough cough I no longer think River Song is Amy either. Somehow The Impossible Astronaut just changed my mind.

Meleonieeee - ♥ said...

Wow, this story was seriously awesome! I can't agree more with the comment above!

Minnie Miracle said...

Bravo, Eleanor! I have no talent for writing short stories. I'm always like, "What kind of story could possibly entertain anyone in just a couple pages? Bah." But obviously there's stories like this that twist cliches into something interesting. For instance, writing from the devestated perspective of the OLDER guy meeting an underage girl he knew from the internet. But I have to admit I'm confused. If the woman at the end is the "real" Lauren, is there another Niall too? And how did the teenager get Niall's phone number? Or is it the older Lauren asking him to go to McDonalds?