Many years ago, in the virtual world of Second Life, I made a friend. Let’s call him Pete (so I can have a cool blog entry title). It was purely a friendship. We were both in relationships at the time. I enjoyed talking to him. He had a very creative mind, and was very good at banter, which is something I appreciate quite a bit. So we’d banter.
He lived in Seattle, and at the time I lived in Florida, so the odds of ever meeting face to face were pretty long. (I remember saying on more than one occasion throughout my life, “Who would be crazy enough to live in Seattle with all that rain? Depressing!”)
As time went on, I was in Second Life less and less, but we’d keep in touch. Exchange the odd e-mail. Flirt a little. Joke around. Nothing dramatic. But it was nice.
Then in early 2014 he moved several hundred miles from Seattle. Ironically, I moved to Seattle that August. Two ships that passed in the night. But he gave me lots of great advice on things to see and do here, and good areas to look for housing. That was a big help.
Occasionally he’d pass through Seattle to visit his son, but we never did meet. He always seemed to be here on days I worked, or I’d be out of town, or his time would be limited. He did say he might be moving back to Seattle at some point.
Then, about 6 months ago, he abruptly stopped responding to my e-mails. I knew he was still alive because I’d see him log in to Second Life every now and then. But he didn’t reply to my messages there, either.
I will never know why my friend disappeared. But I have a theory. I think that he’s back in Seattle, and the prospect of actually meeting me was too daunting for him. Was he expecting me to show up for coffee wearing a wedding dress? Please.
It kind of makes me sad. I really did consider him a friend, and it would have been nice to cross paths now and then. If something more had come of it, great. If not, that would have been okay, too.
Instead, as I walk down the streets of Seattle, I’ll sometimes look into the faces of the men I encounter, and I’ll think, “Pete? Is that you?” Sometimes I wonder if he crosses my bridge, and if so, have I ever made him late for some part of his life by opening it?
One thing is for sure: He’s somewhere out there, depriving himself of the opportunity to know a pretty awesome person. What a shame.