I DON'T FEEL LIKE IT TODAY
It's been a little over a month since my "Internet girlfriend" died. That was our little joke, Ginny's and mine. We'd never met. We never will. Never. Never say never? OK, sometimes.
I spent what little energy I had that first week or so ripping my own guts out with a jagged metaphorical knife. And writing the Fargo Forum, her hometown news paper, to let them know Ginny had died from complications of open-heart surgery. And then to let them know the details about her funeral in Fargo and her burial in the rich prairie earth of her native Drayton, way up north on the lonely Canadian border. And then passing this data along to her friends in the local artists' guild, to make sure that somebody showed up at her funeral. It's beyond sad if a funeral is not well-attended. I guess. I haven't attended a funeral since my grandfather died, up in the Bronx, a long time ago. (Actually, that was the only wake or funeral I've ever attended, and that was at the age of, what, eight, ten?) I couldn't attend Ginny's funeral, because I live in Hawaii, and I couldn't come up with airfare, car rental fees and motel-room rent on such short notice.
Or even on longer notice. I'd been trying to get to Fargo for almost two years. But times are hard in already-poor Honolulu, at least for those of us who work for a living. So, Ginny died and was buried alone with her name. (Like Eleanor Rigby: Pretty much Ginny's worst nightmare.)
Her Mom was there. Her Dad was back at home, not well himself. But she had no mate, not even an Internet boyfriend, to hug her or hold her hand or just sit there in the fucking chair next to her hospital bed as she struggled to, finally, die. Any poor animal deserves that, at least; to have someone howl for them. So, now, I'm howling.
I've seen the best minds of my generation turn to shit in front of a TV set. But not Ginny.
It had been a hard life for Ginny. She'd had cancer three times in her life, the first when she was just a girl. It left her unable to ever reproduce, so she lost her first love to the exigencies of breeding in the upper Midwest. She was always the odd girl out, the sickly kid, the weird artist chick in the vast ocean of well-tilled Nodak dirt. Romance did not naturally follow. Judging by her pictures, Ginny was not herself a work of art, by our very high standards of female beauty now. She settled for what she could get, the odd abusive guy. Finally, she took to the 'Net, as so many of us do these days, disappointed In Real Life. And that's where I met her.
I didn't know if she was young or old, male or female, straight or gay, black or white, Christian or Jewish, any of that shit that tends to determine a "real" relationship. I just knew I liked her, right away. She was smart and sarcastic and darkly funny. Hip in an unchecked way, and talented in art, too. She posted some of her cartoons in various online forums, including an MSN Group we started together. I liked them. A lot. I liked her. A lot. I finally got her email addy, somehow, and our nonwhirlwind romance was on. (Not much wind on the 'Net.)
We did gradually become closer, over the ensuing months. She told me all her negatives, right up front. Mine were too numerous to number, so I abbreviated. Still, we got along. Having done everyone I could possibly do, and in every way, I'd had a more varied, if no more rich experience of love than Ginny. But she forgave me. And I came to realize that I really just wanted someone to talk to, someone to trust, someone to be with, someone to love. I'm funny that way.
I sent her candy and flowers on Valentine's Day. She thought it was funny. But, secretly, I think she was thrilled. Or touched. Or terrified. Or something. My funny Valentine. No one had ever done that for her. I refused to feel bad about it. Girls are supposed to get candy and flowers; oh yeah, and a card, preferably a home-made card, on Saint Valentines. Right? It's not my fault if all the other guys fucked up. Somebody's gotta start doing the right thing SOMETIME, right? That's my take.
But I wasn't there for her when she died. I hadn't even spoken to her for several days. She was pretty much off the 'Net, bed-ridden, since her heart operation in May. So I sent her many and various cards of an Hawaiian variety, one each day, except Sunday, for four months. And I called her several times a week, from phone booths in shopping centers, using a pre-paid long-distance card. Ain't technology grand?
I finally got my own phone in my new place the day before she went into the hospital for the last time. Well, I was SUPPOSED to get my phone, and make her the first person I called on it. But the phone guy didn't show up, though I waited ALL day. It was too late to call North Dakota by the time I gave up on the phone guy. They re-scheduled the installation for two days later. The next day, I called her from a pay phone, but her voice-mail picked up. I left a message, but she never got it. Never. She went into the hospital that night, and died there the following day.
I keep hoping she knew somehow that I was trying to get in touch with her. Our last, our very last conversation had been short and unsatisfying. She was weak and tired. I should have realized what was happening: She was already dying. But she can hear me now, right? Right?
I'm hoping to update and add more of Ginny's pictures to her site soon. I just can't seem to get it together. I've been wasting too much time on this stupid blog, which no one reads, or responds to. I should give it up soon, and focus more on Ginny. I owe her that. I owe her so much, and now I can never repay her. That's life. That's death. That's final. Period.
Goodbye from the World Wide Web, girlfriend...
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