Something happened this morning that has distracted me from everything else I was talking about in this blog. Maybe I’m blowing it all out of proportion. But I’m scared, and I need advice.
I got up before the rest of my family to check lab results on one of my patients. The first warning sign was the half-full coffee mug on my desk. I should say “our” desk. Our apartment is so small my husband and I have to share one, and we both use the old desktop computer there. But he — let’s call him “Charlie ” — is extremely tidy, so it usually works OK.
Then as soon as I pulled out the keyboard tray, the machine hummed out of its hibernation. Charlie had stayed working late when I went to sleep, and evidently he had gone to bed thinking the computer was off. The screen lit up to reveal a Hotmail account I didn’t even know he had. And the message in the center of the screen read, “Goodnight, Bigbear.”
For a moment, I tried to believe this message was only internet flotsam that had drifted across the screen before Charlie went to bed. But when I checked the history window in the browser, I found that Charlie had been on Hotmail all night, apparently sending and receiving message after message.
With Charlie still asleep and spiders creeping up my spine, I hit the “back” button. I got a password request. I tried the one Charlie uses for Amazon and similar services. Nothing. Almost giving up, I typed “connect.” It’s a word Charlie throws around a lot, not in reference to computers, but people, as in “Honey, please connect with me a moment.”
I got in.
There was an entire screen of messages from 2dance and, except for several obvious pieces of spam, no messages from anyone else. I hunted through them, more and more frantically, reconstructing the history of their correspondence.
Bigbear: “I’ve never responded to one of these before, but this time I couldn’t resist…. I love that you dance and that you teach others, that you read poetry to children, that you crossed the Atlantic by ship… ”
2dance: “Where are you? Is it nighttime there? You don’t tell me much, but I see you in my mind. On your head is a fedora. You stand beneath a streetlamp, to light a cigarette. Then fog comes in.”
There were dozens more like that, exchanged over the past couple of weeks. I wanted to wake Charlie up right away, to make him explain, to scream, to scratch his face, to throw this coffee mug at his sleeping head. But a voice inside me said that nothing here was a surprise, that the text in front of me only confirmed what I’d known since I was a teenager.
That sooner or later, in one way or another, all marriages fail.
What should I do?