Monday, September 27, 2010

Omegle Dare

He told me it was fun.

“It’s full of hilarious, Crickette,” Chance promised.

I don’t know when I started taking peoples’ words for truth. It bothers me, to think about it, because it’s so unlike me. If somebody told me to jump off a bridge, I never would have said Oh, sure, let me go do that right now! But with Chance, and Karma because she deserved credit for this change in me, in my life, I realized anything the old Crickette might have said or done was invalid at this point. I wasn’t certain at which point it’d happened, but somewhere through this summer I had changed.

I’d shed part of my old skin, and I didn’t know how it felt.

This was a harmless dare, though. Sometimes, I hated the dares. Chance came up with things I’d never thought of – couldn’t imagine. Like the pudding fight. Who found fun in flinging pudding around? And the mess. Oh god, it’d been horrible. But he’d laughed so much and I just… I don’t know. The sound of his laugh, the way his eyes crinkled. Admitting it makes me feel silly, but yes, there were extents to which I’d go if it meant making Chance’s eyes crinkle like that.

But not jumping off bridges.

The dare haunted me all through work. Even though he didn’t work with me that day, it remained on my mind, sitting at the edge as if it was sure I’d return to it. I talked my way through the day, comparing and contrasting the differences between Halo and Call of Duty and which I preferred (Call of Duty, if you really want to know), explaining to a confused mother why her son’s ancient PlayStation wouldn’t play any PS2 games. But all day long, I heard his taunting voice in the back of my mind.

“I dare you,” he’d said.

I sat on my bed, laptop set up before me. An idle Firefox browser sat open, watching me. Waiting. Taunting. It knew. I don’t know how, but it knew.

Where the melodrama came from, I couldn’t even be certain, but I felt apprehensive as I typed the address in the bar. Omegele. Why was I even nervous?! They were people behind their own screens!

And so it began. A series of random, anonymous people. Twelve who started off with “asl” (five to whom I responded with “pdf?” and resulted in confusion). One person warned me against perverts (why did Chance throw me into pervert-ville?!). Three said nothing to me (two to whom I began “Are you there God? It’s me, Crickette”, which resulted in a few humorous moments, if you couldn’t guess).

I don’t know. Maybe Chance and I shared a different sort of humor, because as person after person disconnected, I wasn’t laughing. Drima would have encouraged me to troll, I’m sure, except I had no idea how to respond to people. Even with a screen in front of me, I found myself stalling for something to say. Words never were my forte. Photography, video games, eating pastries til I burst? Those were my talents. I left charisma to Karma, I left babbling to Drima.

If anything, it was humiliating. Even people who didn’t know me didn’t give a damn.

Scoffing at myself, I hit the “x” and closed the browser off. I crossed my arms and stared at the desktop, fuming. I don’t even know what I was fuming about – just… fuming. Maybe that’s what Chance was trying to prove to me. My… anti-social or whatever it was. My inability to understand people, to play along, to let down my guard.

But that wasn’t true, was it?

I had let down my guard – on numerous occasions! In fact, on a lot of occasions this summer. Even though Karma was the sort of person I would have turned away from, I’d befriended her. Even though Drima was one of my best friends, I’d pulled away from her and started to tell her the truth, inclusive of everything on my mind. I’d even been standing up to my mother!

And of course. Chance. Of course my guard had fallen. The entire night after the party would never have happened otherwise.

So what the hell was the point of this stupid Omegle experiment, anyway?

Then, I did something old Crickette never would have done. I pulled out my phone and, instead of going straight to messages, I hit the talk button. While I counted the rings, my fingers drummed against my knees, until I heard a click.

“Miss Crickette!” Chance greeted.

Take that Old!Crickette.


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