Sunday, September 28, 2008

When Love Comes A-Calling ( II )

What are the odds of meeting your soulmate in an Internet chatroom, only to discover he is a silent voice from your distant past? You do the maths. For chatter GildedCage, it's already a done deal.

Seven years have passed since that fateful evening when GildedCage ('Cage' to her chat buddies) and fellow chatter Ashburn virtually met.
It was a chance meeting that would ultimately take them down the road to matrimony. Yet the wonder of it all has never really sunk in for her and she doesn't even know if it ever will.

February 2001

She was such a klutz in dealing with all things electrical and mechanical and now she had just added the Internet to a long list of gizmos she kept a wary distance from.

She could never fully comprehend the functionalities of her DVD player, camera, handphone, convection and microwave ovens, remote control panels, or anything with multiple buttons on them. She got confused easily.

The Internet was a recent addition to her life. Of course she had known of its existence for a while. In fact, part of her had wanted to explore this new avenue everyone was excited about, but she was afraid of getting lost in the maze.

But since her appointment as editor of her NGO's weekly newsletter, she had no choice but to chalk up the miles on the new information highway. The said NGO was foreign-based and in more ways than one Net-dependent, so she had to go with the flow.

Soon her children realised a new word had crept into their mother's vocabulary - chatting. Mum had apparently discovered a chatroom while riding the Net waves, and went into it with the fervour of a religious fanatic.

While they were happy she had found a new hobby, they weren't so thrilled about her hogging the computer to chat with her newfound friends.

But seeing the changes in her - it was as though she had just awoken from a long, deep slumber - they decided perhaps chatting was her scene, after all.

It was on one of those quiet nights while chatting with her regular 'kakis' in the chatroom that she saw an unfamiliar nickname entering and being greeted with a raucous welcome by her new friends.

Obviously a room old-timer and a he, judging by the nick 'Ashburn' (then again you could never tell in this virtual world), he was warmly introduced to her by a fellow chatter.

She was riveted by the nick 'Ashburn', translated into Abu Bakar (although she learned much later that he was neither Abu nor Bakar), because Abu Bakar was the name of her father who had passed away just three months before.

In the presence of an obvious chatroom supremo, the newbie chatter in her felt somewhat intimidated, so she quietly retreated to her corner to observe the good-natured banterings amongst them.

Soon enough, he graciously manoeuvred her back into the room's chatflow, for which she was thankful. It wasn't fun feeling like a wallflower in a roomful of party revellers.

And so it was; they met virtually most nights to chat and share views about everything under the sun. They found a common interest in reading and singing and spent hours discussing books and songs.

She learned he was into golf, Herman Hesse, Dean Koontz, Stephen King and swing bands - in that order. He learned she couldn't have enough of true-crime whodunits, was a diehard fan of crime writer Ann Rule, devoured autobiographies like there was no tomorrow, and that she loved the ballads of Anne Murray and Karen Carpenter.

She found the friendship comfortable. It was akin to slipping into a pair of worn loafers, a perfect fit. She had some unsolicited details of his life, courtesy of those chatters who knew him personally and had met him.
By the same token, she told him a bit about herself; not much, just enough to keep the friendship on an even keel.

While she found him smart, well-schooled and intriguing, she had no desire to meet him, nor anyone else from the chatroom for that matter. She drew a line at knowing them in the flesh because she wanted to keep the illusion intact....


18 comments:

Seri Serodja said...

Wah bestnya, lama dah tak baca kisah cinta yang thrilling macam ni..

tolong sambung sampai habis ye..kalau tak Seri tak lena tidur nanti..

talqin said...

Selamat Hari Raya to Gilded Cage & Ash & family (especially to the abangs bujang :p).. I'll be going back to kampung tomorrow til the end of the week, will not be able to get online as my Maxis Broadband coverage is so teruk (tak tau apa line nak guna tah). Keep on writing and happy beraya. Maaf Zahir Batin.
(tgh dok pikiaq lagu mana nak bg jowpan pada soklan2 maut mak/pak menakan nanti)..

Kak Teh said...

oooh so you were 'netted'? Gitu ceritanya! Some more, some nmore, please. Makes my 24 page epistles london-penang-london via air mail very boring indeed!

selamat hari raya !

drbubbles said...

ayoo..why stop here?ado unsur-unsur suspense..macam makan kuih bangkit tercekik....hehehe...

I shall read your next post after raya as I will be offline tomorrow.

Selamat Hari Raya to you Madam and your family.

Anonymous said...

I remember U as gilded cage in that chatroom.. back then I was amazed by ur quick typing & witty lines. I used to observe U & ur frens chatted in the cheeky room. I cant believe I found U in this blog world & I even amazed that U have gone thru quite a life considering that U were so "happy" in that room...

Have a bless Ramadan & Eid.

p kama at-tarawis said...

Seri - Insyaallah, I will get to the end of the story soon enough..ni pun letih nak berpikir..

Talqin - selamat balik kampung. hati2 dijalan raya. kim salam kat your sister.

Kak Teh - tulah alkisahnya, cinta orang moden, jumpa di internet..

Dr Bubbles - story macam ni takleh bagi sekaligus, penat kepala nak pikir. in small doses ok la..macam ubat yg doc bagi la jugak..

anon - indeed I was a master at hiding my pain. what you saw in the chatroom was a happy cage who didn't really want to meet ppl because she was afraid some could see what lies beneath the facade.

To all, Selamat Hari Raya maaf zahir dan batin.

Mat Cendana said...

[From the "Recovery" blog]
I was wondering how some clicks could possibly have originated from here. Now I know:-)

THANKS for putting my link here.

Pi Bani said...

Wishing you and your family Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri.

Mr.NiceGuy said...

hey this is cool...i used to frequent that same chat room..till i burned my wallet and fingers!It used to be so addictive.I remember you and someone nicknamed babylicious...u both used to come out with the best one liners and put-me-downs!

MrsNordin said...

I met MrN through the internet too, but we were not chatting (didn't know how to). Ours was more like "You've Got Mail" punya cerita... :)

I guess, both you and Pak Abu were just meant to be together. Fated... that's how I see it...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

hi, puteri,

this is a story that is familiar....i know of similar cases..

anyway Puteri...Salam Adilfitri! Maaf Zahir dan Batin!

Bapak is no longer around, but we are still ber-raya-ing at Section 16. So kalau u're in the neighbourhood first day, drop by for our lontong...

take care!

Pp said...

:) glad i came in via mat bangkai...

selamat ahri raya to u and family!

seronok baca ur love from the internet story...
apa nama chat room tu? masih ada lagi ka?

yes like others - i tunggu sequel.

pp

p kama at-tarawis said...

Mat Cendana - I found your blogsite through elviza's and was immediately sold, for you give your readers an opportunity to look at the 'problem' from a completely different perspective. I find your writing very refreshing. fyi, I am not alien to this issue; my sister is a trained counsellor for substance abusers and one brother-in-law once spent 2 years in pusat serenti. That's why I guess I can identify with Mat C...:)

The same goes to you Pi.. jangan makan banyak sangat, nanti semput..lol

Mr niceguy, the room was so much fun.. unfortunately, now it's no more..

Mrs N - kalau dah takdir, semua jadi ekk..

Eina - Insyaallah Eina, and you take care, dear.

PP - tq for dropping by PP. the room (called MBSC) has been closed 2 years ago and replaced with another called Buzzen which is nowhere near the original. At its height MBSC used to hv 250 chatters at any one time.. macam pasar malam riuh!

Mat Cendana said...

Now that I've had more time to get a better look at your blog (from that cursory look at 1 AM), my impression is: Your site is awesome!

It is through reading sites like this that makes me instantly humble:-)

I'm also impressed with the writings of people like Elviza and Sakmongkol AK47 (among others). You - like them - have "that thing" - the ability to engage readers with style and elegance; and not needing to try impress people by using big words (TONS of such type out there).

I made a mention of your blog here in my last post. But I feel it's not adequate given the level of quality here. Must let more people know of the reading joys to be had here...

P/S: Can you do away with this "Word Verification", please? I'd sometimes enter a wrong letter (because it might not be clear in the first place), and would always be annoyed by that "!" chiding.

chinadoll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chinadoll said...

Hello Cage:D Judging from your posts, you've got to be doing well huh? Anyway, I have been popping in to read your postings every now and then, but never can get my lazy bones to type a few words of greetings until now.....seeing that raya is round the corner LOL!Selamat Hari Raya to you, Ash and the rest of your family, and pls do continue with your story:D

puteri kama at-tarawis said...

Mat C - i have done away with the word verification thingy as per request. i agree it is rather annoying :) i do hope you'll have a good, blessed raya. keep writing for you've got a good thing going there..

Dollie! oh goodness, it has been yonks since! are you still chattting? I have not gone into Buzzen for ages - Buzzen is nowhere compared to MBSC.

Yes dollie, by the grace of God, life is looking much better these days, for which I am deeply grateful. let's do the teh tarik thingy again soon..

chinadoll said...

No Cage, I have not been into Buzzen because as you said, it's not like MBSC. Time doesn't permit me to chat anymore and also there is no other chatroom like MBSC! Anyway, catch up with you some time ya:D have great holiday!