Saturday, 4 July 2015

Pictures Of You

"I've been looking so long, at these pictures of you
that I almost believe that they're real"
- The Cure

This is by far the most difficult, and most personal post I've ever written.
But I felt it was time to share it.

Saturday evening in the fall of 2006, age 14. I was spending my Saturday night behind the computer when a new chat message popped up on MSN Messenger ('cause that was "it" back then). It was from Loes, a girl I went to primary school with but hadn't had contact with since. We were in the same class for two years, but we each had our own group of friends and we never really knew each other well. The message wasn't from Loes herself. A friend of hers, David, was using her account. He was with Loes and Ilana (another girl from primary school) and two of his friends (their boyfriends) at Ilana's house. All four of them played the guitar and were 'jamming'. David, being a drummer, was feeling a bit left out so he started up a conversation with someone on Loes' MSN: me.
He was a few years older than me - a college boy. We talked for hours that night and got along incredibly well. The next day he added me on his own account and we kept talking. I decided to meet up with Loes and soon she, Ilana and I became a trio. They went to the same high school together and were already very close friends. We lost touch after a while with Ilana when she changed schools, friends and 'styles'. We thought ourselves to be pretty "tough" with our dark clothes and heavy eye make-up. Being all "punk" or "emo". So when it was just me and Loes left, we became even more inseparable. We did everything together: concerts, going out for drinks, sleep-overs, holidays,...
All this time I kept talking to David. And Dougie. He was David's best friend and Loes' boyfriend. He was the popular, confident guy. David was the shy, sensitive guy. My kind of
A drawing of David, based on one of his pics
guy. I fell pretty hard for him. I hadn't met him. I'd only ever seen him in pictures (of which there were only a few) and our conversations were email and MSN only. He didn't have a phone - which even in 2006-2007 was weird - but I didn't push the issue and we kept talking online.

He had very rich, very strict parents that had all these expectations of him. I could see us making a stand together: I would be there for him and we would make it work the two of us. I spent hours awake each night imagining what it would be like when we'd finally see each other. What it would be like to be held by him... I was head over heels with this boy.
Hours of girl-talk passed between Loes and me, analyzing everything he said or didn't say, hinted or left out,... Like all teenage girls do. She'd sometimes sit next to me when I was replying to an email, offering advice like a best friend does.
Her relationship with Dougie didn't last but I kept talking to him - online. David spent less and less time on MSN so being able to talk to Dougie was a relieve. Although he wasn't online that much either.
So I sat behind my computer and waited. From the moment I got home until I had to go to sleep, my computer was on, MSN open. Waiting for David. I stayed home, cooped up in my room, terrified of missing any minute of him being online. I felt like I knew him, and no-one knew or understood me like he did. He was my everything. Hundreds of theories passed between Loes and me why he wasn't online much, or why it took him so long to reply to emails.
At one point he started dating Dougie's sister, which broke my heart. She was everything I wasn't: closer to him in age, lot's of showy make-up and leopard print clothes,... I hated her. She cheated on him and treated him horribly.
Around the time I turned 16 I fell in love with a boy in my class at school. David hadn't been around much the previous months and I was in a very dark place - his absence only making it worse, since it meant I spent hours going over every single detail in my head, or on MSN waiting for his name to pop up. S., the boy in my class, pulled me out of that dark place. I don't think he ever realized it. We weren't together for a very long time. He was my first boyfriend (since primary school), my first real crush (not including David). Although I  know he was crazy about me too, I think it was all a bit too much for him. I kept seeing him every day at school though, so it was hard for me to get over him. David didn't help either. 
One night, a few days before S. and I had our first kiss, he popped up online out of the blue. He told me he'd come back for me - he was away for a semester abroad. He wanted to be with me. I was in shock. I had wanted to hear those things from him so badly, but I had no idea what to do, now that S. was in the picture. I choose S. And sadly, there was a time after he broke up with me that I regretted making that decision: things didn't work out and I was left with a broken heart, having lost both him and a chance with David.
David kept disappearing for weeks at a time, making me go crazy all over again. But despite that, he still kept me in his power by saying things that would make me hope - anything from his MSN "nickname" to little comments like "if it wasn't for this or that, we would be together". At one point he posted a picture of a cute little kitten he just bought. Named Mary. I went insane. Loes and I talked for hours about what it could mean, how obvious it was, etc etc.
By that time, Loes and I went to London, Amsterdam and Spain together. [Both our London and Amsterdam trip was made solely so we could see McFLY - we were obsessed, I admit.] We were truly inseparable.
By the time I turned 17 I started to grow more and more suspicious. Things in his story - or in Dougie's - just didn't add up. I never really pressed on these things because, they were my best friend's friends, so why should I doubt? David was hardly ever online anymore and I didn't really pine for him as much anymore. I still desperately wanted him and wanted to talk to him, but it didn't consume me as it did before. Ilana, the other girl in our former trio, came back into the picture. Although she had kinda turned her back on Loes before, she was forgiven and I felt like the third wheel again in a friendship that was there before I came in the picture, with lots of insiders I didn't get. I didn't spent as much time with Loes as I did before and I started to question David (and Dougie) more and more.
One night, a few months before I turned 18, David popped up again after months of silence. He was getting married. This was the final straw, for me, in this ridiculous collection of stories. I tried calling Loes immediately after our brief conversation, but she didn't pick up. I called K. instead, one of my best friends from school who had been there for and with me during this entire David-episode (which at this point had lasted over 3 years).
After the mandatory "ooh's" and "aah's" and "no he didn't" comments a best friend is supposed to make, she asked where Loes was. I replied she was having a sleepover with Ilana. And she said the strangest thing: "maybe Loes is David". 
Silence. We were both shocked by what she just said. She hadn't thought about it, it just slipped out.
I was in denial. And so was she, even though she made the remark in the first place. I mean, David not being a real person? AND Loes having something to do with it? Crazy!
But the damage was done. 3 years worth of conversation were analyzed all over again. I wouldn't, couldn't believe it. David had been my everything for such a long time. I trusted him. He was my dream guy. Loes was my best friend with whom I shared everything. We wrote emails together. Spent so much of our time going over everything he said or posted. I even had my parent's drive us to the village he lived in, 45min. away with some lame excuse, hoping to see him.
One night both Ilana and Loes were online and, after going over everything again, looking at Google Earth again and trying to find his name and number in "the yellow pages", I wrote them both the same message, saying things didn't add up - implying they had made the whole thing up. Neither of them replied.

I never heard from David or Dougie again.
A few months later we were at a party. A friend of theirs came up to me and said "you really need to go out and talk to them. Ilana is crying. She says you were all such good friends and she has no idea what happened". I lost it. I tried explaining then and there what actually happened, knowing she couldn't possibly understand how much David had meant to me, and how terribly betrayed I felt. She was shocked though and said "wow, Loes just told me there was a joke of some sort that got out of hand". 
BAM. It felt like she punched me in the gut. I felt sick. Not only was it the first and only time - after months - that my suspicions were confirmed, David was a joke. I was a joke. 3.5 years of my life had been a practical joke to two bored teenage girls behind their computer.
I never spoke to Loes or Ilana again.


7 comments:

  1. Hugs and a tight hugs on repeat.. No words

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    1. Thank you! & thank you for reading x M.

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  2. A big hug from me, that is absolutely awful. xxx

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  3. Firstly big hugs. Secondly well done for writing this it must have been hard but maybe now you can become stronger from this awful experience. Xxx

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    1. Thank you, Tanya. It wasn't easy, but I do feel better now. Thanks for reading & commenting xx

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