At home, I struggled to open the bottle until I realized it was childproofed. Squinting to line up the tiny arrows on the bottle and the cap, I popped the lid open. Dropping a single pill in my palm, I threw it onto my tongue and swallowed it without water. My reflection in the washroom mirror stared back at me. There was still no one behind my face. But that was going to change.
I concentrated on the contours of my face for a long time. I turned sideways and surveyed my build. With my blunt features and wide nose, people may take me for Italian, Irish, Slavic, even Turkish. I wasn't happy that my forehead was long and high but I was happy with my flat stomach and lean arms. I flashed my teeth through my shaggy beard. I brushed them, scrubbing aggressively. The water I spat out was tinged with red.
I swung the mirror open, revealing a medicine cabinet behind it, and grabbed one of the disposable razors from an opened plastic package. I jumped in the shower and stayed there for almost an hour, the room filling with steam and the tub filling with facial hair.
Looking into the mirror again, I wiped my hand over the steamed up glass to see my new face. Behind my mask of flesh was not emptiness anymore, but a singular desire to make a real human connection in the physical world. I hadn't even realized until then how much I wanted it. After drying myself, I put on a collared shirt and smothered lotion on my face and neck. Excitement consumed me.
Prepared to change my life, I stationed myself in front of my laptop. Sunken deep into the sofa cushion that was permanently indented from years of idle sitting, I dragged my fingertip on the laptop touchpad and the monitor powered up. The blackness of the screen faded into the blue sky desktop image. I opened Internet Explorer and typed in www.POF.com.
The website prompted me to set up a profile and write a tagline to introduce myself. I wrote, "Hi there."
I snapped a photo of myself with my webcam and uploaded it -- a close up of my smiling face.
I left my description blank.
I sat back and looked at my profile page, satisfied. It was a true reflection of who I was, I thought, almost empty of content and waiting to be filled.
In the search filter, I entered an age range of twenty to forty. Clicking submit, rows and columns of female faces plastered the screen. There was BirdLadie whose pic was dimly lit, and Sandra_20 hiding behind her sunglasses. There was bellazzi who was barely visible from a sun glare beside her head. DJaime's partner in her pic was cut off, leaving a severed arm resting on her shoulders.
Three profiles stood out. Green_J, 29 -- her tagline was "Just a small town girl living in a lonely world". In her description, she's teaching herself how to play guitar. GlowWorm, 25 -- "If you want to know, just ask". ANGELCAKES9, 34 -- "You only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough."
I messaged all three girls.
Green_J messaged me back instantly. I put on a fake personality and responded.
Our conversation went:
6/27/2015 4:27:02 PM
Teaching yourself guitar? I'm impressed. Are you awesome?
6/27/2015 4:31:37 PM
Yes I'm teaching myself to play the guitar.. Not awesome.. Slow process.
6/27/2015 4:58:22 PM
Nice, I'm impressed. I know some basic chords. What kind of music are you into playing?
6/27/2015 5:56:36 PM
Well just leering the basics now.. So not really playing songs yet. But right now I've been listening to a lot of Eddie Veder, Dallas Green, and Muse.
6/27/2015 6:36:54 PM
Very cool. Love those bands. I play a lot of Pixies, Nirvana, Silverchair, etc. We should totally have a jam session :P
6/27/2015 7:17:09 PM
That's pretty awesome!
LOL.. Maybe we should ;)
6/27/2015 7:54:28 PM
Why don't we grab a coffee and get to know each other sometime. Then we can decide if we want to do the jam session :)
6/27/2015 8:41:25 PM
I really am a total beginner.
Don't drink coffee.. But sure that would be nice.
6/27/2015 9:09:21 PM
You're in downtown right? Tim Horton's in the Eaton Centre then? I'm free either tomorrow or Thursday around 5ish
6/27/2015 10:13:36 PM
Tomorrow at 5 works for me.
6/27/2015 9:09:21 PM
Okay see you then.
6/27/2015 10:13:36 PM
See you then :)
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