Pause Before a Question

As usual, last Saturday morning I woke up just before 4 AM. The screaming may or may not have been just in the dream, but the scratch at the back of my throat hinted otherwise. With little to be gained by going back to bed I yielded to the call of computer, the limitless echo of technologically connected lives.

Hating myself I logged into the chat program, my principle one, not the back up, though both had almost equal numbers of contacts by that point. A self congratulatory voice, dark and taunting, assured me the IM’s would start shortly, all the desperate pleas for advice or reassurance.

Nothing pinged. Nothing beeped. No windows blurped into existence.

I blinked. I double checked the clock to confirm that a full 10 minutes, an eternity in chat-time, had actually elapsed since logging in. I felt the familiar pang, that stinging accusation of worthlessness.

Another ten minutes of silence expired before a single IM opened, from an unfamiliar name, Y&#%W, which said only, “Hey, how are you doing?”

View this story's 2 comments.