Digital Scream

The world of search engines is just too tempting to resist. The resolution to put the past behind you with its scary demons and skeletons in the closet is a weak foe next to the ease by which you can start it all over. Just plug in a name, restart the same resentment, the same grudge, all over again. I plug in yours, and there you are, announcing yourself over the digital transom, boasting of your life. Hello, my enemy, friend, lover, whatever it is that you once were. We meet, yet once again despite the deepest resolution to never do so again. You are here again, in my life, an unwelcome guest that screams at me through the brainwaves of digital and analog bytes and bits. It’s like I never left.

It’s strange to find your image here, sitting in front of me after all this time, staring back at me through postmodern technology’s favorite plastic mirror. I look at you, the cursor throbbing like the pulse I feel now that I see your image once again. What do I say to the lover that I soon called enemy after meeting? What do I say when once I find you, I meet you in the carnage you create in the bloodbath of your secret revenge to stab me through time and distance?

You know better than others how innocently these things can start. Encounters are like that, whether in the real world of touch or the real world where one can hide behind a keyboard. How much we hide in one place, so easily can be expressed in the other. It’s all about acting, isn’t that what you know? Isn’t that what we were all about, acting out a play of rage that danced the two of us into a private hell we were condemned to smolder in?

I can see this place, this cauldron you reside in. And I know you. Even without having seen you for so long, I know you want me to find you in this place. This is your curse at me for sending you to a place of hell and fury where you are caught forever in your own web. You leave footprints all over, you are like Hansel and Gretel leaving breadcrumbs to follow back straight to you. You are the Pied Piper who leads all delicate souls into your private hell, to fall off the cliff you create. How did you manage to get me again, when I escaped your clutches so long ago?

You have slammed into me with your rage, and it is as though you have never left. I smell the venom in the mass of altered graphics and digital key strokes loud and clear. So loud they are, they make their own streak written in the font of blood that you write your damnation in. It’s a mocking that can’t be retracted, because once in the digital world, it remains. It’s a scorning that can’t be refuted, because thinking you are safe in a world miles away from your victims, you dump your refuse in a place of their minds. You shut the screen the minute the protests come back at you. You know this, knowing you, I know you know this about the world you play God in with your battles. You have found a summit to throw your spears, and in this place, you are safe from any attack.

It’s so comforting to think that things can be neatly put away to never be seen again. But something I learned in science class, even as I was spacing out thinking of breaking out of concrete rooms to the wide open road, is that matter can never be destroyed. It only changes forms. And so it goes with you. I think I have put you away from me forever after shattering my life, but here you are, just like you never left. You’ve changed forms, but you are still you.

I hear your voice even though there are no sounds. The bond of torture and despair we both found ourselves so long ago in has grown its own vine over the soul you have sold for your righteousness. You stab at virtual ghosts of your own projections, and yet the demons you seek to feed demand more of your soul in return. You choke on a bone that you have swallowed whole, and you cast your guilt onto shadows that you pronounce your enemies that you accuse of forcing your hand into self-destruction.

I see the citadel you have fought to create, for you make sure you strike me with all that you could do without the likes of me. That you have slain dragons and the cities of your dreams doesn’t take me by surprise. You were always like a brilliant star that blinded the rest of the sky with your brightness. But you are like a star that is close to a black hole, daring for it to put out your light. You build an empire that reaches the heavens, yet douse the citadel with gasoline and stand next to it with a flaming torch, daring everyone you see into baiting you to drop it where it will destroy everything in its wake.

You have given me a message. I receive it, loud and clear. You remind me that doors closed don’t mean all is well. You defy the myth that time heals all wounds. You teach me, peace is not the absence of war. In one stroke of the keyboard, you bring all the reality that is you back to me. Your digital scream deafens my ear, your darkness blinds my eyes. No, time heals nothing at all. I see you once again, here in another time and place, and the black hole that threatened us yawns open. You teach me this, that it never left. It only waited.

For what, though? The cursor blinks at me, mocking. The pain is here, in front of me, because I chose to go there. Search engines went out of their way, combing for data to find it, because I asked them to. The pain of you is real, because I decided to take a virtual trip to find it. You are here in digital in front of me because I summoned you, for no other reason than my voluntary trip to the dark side. I can end it, just by shutting you off, and it will be gone.

Thank God for the X in the top corner, which can end virtual conversations, instantly. Click.

2 Responses to “Digital Scream”

  1. Outstanding prose. I liked the vivid descriptions and overtones still in my mind. On a serious note. I have removed any refference to me from the internet.

    It reminds me of Joan Baez’s song “Diamonds and Rust.”
    “Well I’ll be damned
    Here comes your ghost again
    But that’s not unusual
    It’s just that the moon is full
    And you happened to call
    And here I sit
    Hand on the telephone
    Hearing a voice I’d known
    A couple of light years ago
    Heading straight for a fall.”