Today a new and terrible thought occurred to me- seems that always happens in this “predicament.” I realized that in just nine years, Audrey will have known me longer than you did. And that if we both live to when we’re “supposed to,” she may know me for nearly fifty more years than you did. Since you and I conceived her together and were together before she was even conceived- this is a very unnatural, strange thought. “I missed you before I came out of your belly,” Audrey tells me today while she’s looking through albums of us long before she was born. “I missed you too,” I say.
Even though we were only together for eleven years, I went from a young girl fresh out of college to a young wife and mother who had worked three or four different jobs, gone back to graduate school, and moved five or six times. One day I was struck by how much technology alone changed while we were together.
When I went to meet you on that very first day, I used a token to take the 1-9 train up to Columbia at 116th Street. There are no more tokens. There is no more 9 train.
When we met, I was using a four track to record my songs. I considered it a luxurious purchase. It used cassette tapes.
Shortly after we met, I bought my first cell phone down the street from my first job. It was a big, square clunky thing and I couldn’t hear people very well on it, but I felt “cool” walking on the city streets and picking it up when it rang.
When we met, I used a search engine for the grant work I did at the time, called “metacrawler.” Does that even exist anymore? Ah, it does. Metacrawl it. Doesn’t have the same ring.
We wrote three or four emails to each other every day from our office jobs. We both had hotmail accounts.
Sending ecards was a novelty.
We started chatting on aol instant messenger from our respective cubes. It was your first time. I can still remember your excitement, “This is so cool! (Smiley face.)” A year after this excitement, I’d find myself with severe carpal tunnel syndrome.
It’d be years until we heard the word “blogging” and then it was xanga, on which you acquired quite an audience.
Nobody bought Mac computers.
Times Square was still grimy and had a ton of porn stores surrounding port authority instead of the large chain stores and restaurants that are there today.
The Twin Towers still stood. We took photos of ourselves at the base with our faces and the towers rising up above us. I bought a pair of earrings with you in one of the retail shops under the towers for a wedding I was attending. Earrings I have long since lost.