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  • Writer's picturessewan

AIM Romance

Your text was black and green And mine was white and blue Every message meant lights blinking At the bottom of my fifteen inch screen, So I'd wait patiently for you As the yellow man said you were typing.

The late 80s and early 90s kids all remember feeling something like this, right? I recently read that AIM is being pulled from AOL by the end of the year, and it actually kind of hurt to read.

I remember I started using AIM back in sixth grade, when we still had dial-up. It was horrible, because we only had one computer, and my sister and I would fight to use it. It was so... refreshing, not having to hold a phone to our ear to talk to our friends, and we could talk to several friends at once! It was crazy because my sister and I had generally the same circle of friends then, so we were literally just typing for each other and talking to the same people... continuing the same conversation.... We also helped each other talk to our crushes. Or moreso, my sister tried to screw up my conversation with my crushes, but that's another story for another day.

Eventually, dial-up became outdated, and we got DSL and separate computers, and we started conversing with different people. For a while, I got a lot into role-playing, and a couple friends and I would spend hours just writing stories together online. It seems like a silly way of procrastinating, but it seriously made doing homework so hard. I would get so, so invested in the stories we were writing that 2AM would come, and I'd realize I still hadn't started a 5 page essay due the next week, but I typed up at least 10 pages of a fantasy story. Has anyone else been in that situation? (I guess writing was always my calling.)

I remember in junior high and high school, back when AIM was still widely used, I had a beautiful whirlwind of a romance. I would wait in front of the computer for that door-opening-creak to tell me that he was online, and I'd count the seconds until he said hello. I remember we used to have competitions over who said "Good morning!" first at midnight. Yes, we were cute. He was a huge procrastinator. I remember sometimes we'd be chatting until 1AM, and he'd suddenly freak out because he hadn't started a homework assignment we were given two weeks to finish. I'd always shake my head and laugh, and I'd start reminding him to do homework, but he never really listened. I didn't mind, I was in love, and he was perfect, despite his procrastinating ways.

My romance with this person was built on a strong foundation of AIM, because I was too shy to talk to him in class, and I always got picked up from school almost right after school. I remember I used to always watch him get dropped off before school and walk home from school, and I was always so curious about him. (I wasn't stalking him, we lived a couple streets apart. It was bound to happen.) To me, our AIM time was our sacred time together throughout seventh grade and half of eighth grade, until we were finally matchmaked by all of our teachers (I kid you not, in eighth grade, all of our teachers sat us together.).

In ninth grade, it almost felt like our different schedules made it impossible for us to talk in person, and I would treasure all the time we got together online. We did eventually begin dating in tenth grade, which was nice. Our romance was a little unconventional... kind of like Disney. Everyone around us knew we had feelings for one another, except for us. It would take a friend telling him that I had feelings for him to finally get me to admit the truth, and he told me he felt the same. I still remember he asked me out on a date with a coded letter (not written by him), and I was so happy to say yes. We walked under the hot Southern California sun to a cafe (which no longer exists) near the school. I had gotten a drink that tasted horrible, but despite it all, I felt like the luckiest girl alive. Of course, we still had our AIM dates every night. They really were the highlight of my every day. That's all the past now. It's a sweet memory, and my heart kind of crumpled a bit when I read that AIM is no longer going to be here. I used to save our conversations, and even after a messy break up... I would reread the messages, trying to find out what went wrong... how such a beautiful romance came to be such a beautiful disaster. We're both in better places of our lives now, and have found someone else who makes us happy. We are friends now; we text each other and Facebook message each other here and there. It doesn't happen all that often, but every now and then, I can't help but think back to those more innocent, beautiful days. I'm not in love with him anymore, but he was my first love, my AIM romance.

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