False Memory

The relationship had no foundation in real life; it was completely digital.  It happens so often nowadays, and we mostly fall in love with the idea of the person we’re chatting with.  We have no idea what the person is actually like.

But… it happens.

He was tall and appeared to be in good shape, probably had a gym membership…

Nicely groomed facial hair, dark brown or black… I remember seeing pictures of him on some profile in a blazer and jeans, looking very GQ…

Before I knew for certain, I would have guessed possibly Latin or Arabic… very handsome.

Digitally charming, too…

And lived in NYC.

Big plus.

So, eventually, I went to visit… I was living in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the time… and… it was completely in my nature to take a chance and such a trip to meet someone in person.

You have these… fantasies of romance,… today’s internet fairy tale.

It’s never that way…

He also didn’t live in Manhattan… one of the boroughs… not as impressive…

The visit was awkward… kinda like “well… here we are…”

Cause… what could we do at that point?  I was already there…

I never recalled much about the trip.

The romantic texts and sweet phone calls ended … pretty much immediately…

I was disappointed, but I’d been in that same place before.

It happens.

But the past few… weeks..?… months…?  It had been coming into mind more often…

I recalled, also, that I had felt so hurt that all those sweet exchanges had ended… like… why would a person say such things before they met you,… before they really knew

But that passed.  I think I was probably embarrassed… so I had just tucked it away…

The weeks and months languished away in the San Juan heat…

The island was a blur of humidity, rum, long walks and photographs…

… and still these memories every so often….

and that pang…. what happened?…

…………………

What did happen…???

One hot and bright Caribbean morning, I woke quite suddenly,

The memories of this trip and that handsome digital crush had seemed to have been on my mind more so than before…

When did I go to NYC?

Who was this person?

Blank.

I searched in my gmail inbox for flight confirmations…receipts…searched the desktop for photos…

Nothing.

I felt this dread…

I grabbed my phone and messaged my older brother Patrick who was living in Shenzen, China… he was far away, but we communicated nearly every day…

I told him about the trip (if I hadn’t already…)…

And then I asked him…. when did I go?

I asked him if there had been a period of time when he remembered me being less available, or had not responded or messaged him… something

Something that would indicate time.

A clue…

But he didn’t know… it was normal for me to withdraw for days at a time…

What the hell happened?

…I already knew the answer…

…..

It never happened.

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