“Hi,” you type.
Your hands are poised delicately over the keyboard, all those alphabets, and particularly the ‘Enter” button- the mouthpiece of your restless mind; the point of no return. Your fingers hover over it uneasily, and a part of you laughs embarrassingly at how intensely genuine the emotional tumult feels, and the power that such a small piece of equipment has, or rather, the power that you have unwittingly given it, and how much thought you have to put into something so lifeless and yet consequential.
“Just push the button,” you think, the way people push your buttons and vice versa. How hard could it be?
“Enter,” you say, as if reading the word printed on the key for the first time.
“Enter,” you mutter, and you wonder with hesitation if you might cross the line if you are not careful. And maybe you want to, but do not dare to. (The way you fantasize secretly about how it feels like to get hit by a car, so quickly and so suddenly, as it sweeps you off your feet and lifts you off the ground before you come crashing down and you feel the impact strike and surge from the center of your body before spreading from limb to limb…)
“Enter,” you think, the way you occasionally let people enter into your life, the way you hope that by making the first step now, it would gain you entrance, permission, to walk straight into the life of another- a familiar stranger.
You press the button. Did you stop breathing?
“Hi,” states your computer screen, in black and white.
“Hi,” as in, “Why don’t we talk? Why don’t we talk anymore?” “Hi,” as in, “I miss you. How are you?” (But not so awkwardly direct.)
“Hi” is too simple, too hackneyed. You know it. But online, in little square conversation boxes, everyone starts the same way with people they know only briefly by name. It’s safer to stick with conventions. When beginnings are identical, the attentive and sensitive eye swallows it easily without choking and develops the same mundane explanations.
“Hi” means nothing, even if it means everything to you. It doesn’t matter. No one has to know. No one has to know how much effort it takes to be so blushingly, agonizingly, casual. You are being hidden by the computer screen, the same way you hide behind an image of who you are, as you stroll down the crowded street, arms folded.
You wait for the response.
So short, and so sweet.
You don't know why, but you chuckle quietly to yourself upon seeing it.