When his face disappeared from the Facebook Friends box on her profile she knew it was finally over. It began with his almost stalker like curiosity of her thoughts. And he would discuss every single of her status messages in a conversation later in the night. Then they would discuss other online news stories, gossip gleaned from statuses of common friends, and the books they had both read through life. He remembered everything he read. She often never even recalled the names of the books. It was fun, flirtatious, perfect. One day, he ‘Liked’ all her pictures on Facebook. She had around 300 of them. She was happy. Then she was happier. They shared their username and passwords with each other. To cement their bond. To let the other person know how completely each could be trusted with the other.
They were too evolved to tag each other and make their relationship public on Facebook. I don’t believe in doing that, she had said. She had wondered if he had sighed in relief. She had trust issues. Was he a compulsive liar, a serial dater, bad husband material, she often wondered. But he had shared his password and username on his own. Was that when she decided to sleep with him? She couldn’t remember now. But she had.
And then after a month, just like that, it started getting ugly and toxic in the nature of all relationships she had ever known. One day just like that she logged into his profile and saw that he had still kept in touch with his ex. He had said he no longer did. One word remained, ‘Sorry’. From his ex. She had met the ex one evening under a yellow Tabebuia outside the ex’s hostel. The ex, she remembered, had been needlessly bitchy even while she tried to act vulnerable, and open, and friendly. She had found that meeting unnecessary but the ex had insisted. But she wasn’t friendly. She had refused her friend request first when he had introduced the two of them over an FB message. So when the ex had called to meet, she wondered if maybe the ex was just not a Facebook person. We should all meet. It will be jolly. Drop in. So they had. And she was disturbed by the intense way in which he watched his ex. She had dismissed her misgivings saying, ‘Well, if he looks at me so intensely after we break up, it would still have been worth it.’ So she was full of these thoughts as she went about working. An hour later when she logged in again that message was no longer in the inbox.
She let that be.
The conversations continued. The sex stopped completely.
Then one day, after months, she logged in again and saw that he had written about her in a message to another girl. She checked the other girl’s profile. It was unimpressive. She only had one post that said, ‘God luves all of us!!!’ with a picture of a kitten in a tea cup. She couldn’t see the other girl as competition, after that. The rest were all selfies in various poses, most of them in the same outfit. The God-lover and he had become friends only last week, she saw. He had never mentioned anything to her. Their conversations were increasingly stilted and curt. There was no sharing, no real communication any more. She went back to his message inbox. After some really banal conversation, he had spoken about her. He had called her common and hysterical. He spoke about how trapped he felt. He said he found he couldn’t leave her without it becoming a scene. He said everyday he was becoming more and more scared to call her back. He could no longer speak to her, he moaned to that other girl. She kept tabs, he complained. She’s always checking my account, I think.
She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She wanted to write there and then that it had been three months since she had logged in as him. She was no longer interested. He was not all that he said he was either. But she didn’t have it in her to end it. She had stuck on because he had recently been laid off, she wanted to write. She was doing the decent thing, sticking around, calling him to check on whether he’d eaten because what if that was the day he no longer had money for a meal? Then she’d take him out for lunch or dinner, and maybe, it would go back to how it was.
But then she knew, the ex would haunt her thoughts. What did they do together? Why had she written that one word, ‘Sorry’? What did it mean? It was all too complicated. She didn’t have the energy to infuse this dead relationship with life. And he wasn’t interested either. He was preoccupied too. He didn’t know if he would ever find a job again with the economic slump being what it was. But she didn’t write any of it. She just copied the message and mailed it to herself. And logged out.
She then checked her mail and read the entire conversation again. Again, she didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She laughed a bit. Then she cried because it still hurt to be seen that way.
It was her intelligence that had captured him first. That’s what he said. ‘You are like no other woman I’ve met. You are like Irene Adler. Hell, you know who Irene Adler is. This is it for me. You think like a man. You are an intellectual. I never imagined I would get to fuck an intellectual.’
And then he had fucked her like she was a woman, after all that.
And suddenly now she was common. She had no idea what to do next.
She wondered why she thought she loved him. She realised it was mostly because he took the blame for his break-up with his ex. He had never said one negative thing about his ex to her when they had initially started dating. That had impressed her. That meant he was that rare gem one never finds – a decent man.
And yet he had said all those things about her now. What could it mean? Why would he do that? Another day’s work went by on auto-pilot. Her editor called her to yell at her about a missing colon. Her editor liked to use colons instead of dashes. She had used a dash. So the colon is technically not missing, she wanted to argue. But she didn’t have the strength for that either. Her editor was mostly pissed because she worked from home. She resolved to go to office the next day and show her face to her editor. That would sort that issue out she knew.
Later that night she logged into Facebook again. That was the night she discovered his face never showed up in her Friends box on her profile. Panicked, she logged in as him. The message to the other girl she had agonised over the entire day was no longer there.