A Short Story – Feb. 1, 2010 – “Transfixed”
A short story
Dedicated to A.M.
by Chris Hibbard
There was something about her that was special, he had written one evening in an email. He had submitted a few paragraphs describing his favourite qualities to a free ‘adult’ chat site, thinking he might make a new friend. He even casually winked at a few candidates, pre-selected by computerized algorithm to match his profile, living within his general geographic region.
After a few short but delectable teaser notes, Angelica had written this lonely writer back, asking him to elaborate further about her ‘special’ qualities, but he had nonchalantly let that fragment of her reply communiqué slip by him. He now found himself sitting in front of his monitor, nearly a week later, with a keyboard beneath his fingers, trying to find the right words to express what he had meant.
It was something in the words that she chose, he thought – her selection of appropriate adjectives and verbs. Rather than opting for terms like “went to the store”, she would use ‘perused the local grocer.” Instead of proclaiming that she was hungry, she would suddenly explain, “I think my stomach has started to eat itself.” In her words on his laptop screen, Angelica’s personality revealed itself.
She avoided the ever-present acronyms, like LOL and OMG. Instead, her phrases were old fashioned, spelled correctly and used appropriately in each sentence. Instead, she would quote poetry, philosophers and other people of great standing, always word for word and sometimes with interpretative commentary.
While some women that he had recently befriended had started a dialogue, perpetuated it and let it develop, Angelica had put in extra effort, seemingly thinking aloud, her mind flowing through her fingertips and onto her keys, rapidly and with little hesitation. Her quick response time coupled with a lack of spelling mistakes implied, if nothing else, a formal education and a firm understanding of the English language. At worst, this odd and unusual pen pal had enough literary skill to shame Grisham and Rowling, not that they were bars by which a standard was set. However, a fourth grade student would understand Angelica’s words as precisely and clearly as he had, though perhaps without extrapolating the words’ hidden meanings; suggestive, flirtatious and utterly tantalizing.
Furthermore, her musical tastes suggested wisdom beyond her years. Her cinematic preferences jived with his, and there was a sly and sceptical humour buried within her words that set her apart – like an outside auditor called in to inspect a decade’s worth of records and files, fully prepared to report any hint of misdoing to her supervisor. This sense of confident self-awareness, like an opportunistic crow poised for a fight or flight response, was unique, intriguing and unlike any other. By this point, thoroughly engaged in a potential newfound relationship, he turned his attention back to the screen, shrugging any preconceived notions aside as being mere icing on the cake.
Now he found himself staring at this blinking cursor, prepared to explain in poetic language all that it was that had separated Angelica’s emails from the others in his ‘man about town’ pack.
Transfixed by the vertical line and its slow repetitive flashes, he found himself totally lost for words.