It’s like discovering that while you were staring out of the coffee shop window, some stranger had wandered by and taken a bite out of your croissant and sipped some of your coffee. As though you had looked out your front window after a heavy snow storm, to watch the world glisten in white, only to see that some stray dog has taken a big steaming yellow piss in the middle of your yard, ruining that rare moment. You know the one, before the cars are out. Before the lights and neighbors have been turned on. When the world is still, and dead, and all it wants is for you to appreciate it.
It’s like the first time you discover that there is another person in the world with your name. And you lose just a little bit of what makes you special.
As a child, when you discover something new, sometimes you think you must be the only person in the world who has ever noticed this wondrous thing. Found that clearing in the woods. Discovered the hiding hole under the loose floorboard. Braved the broken glass to explore the abandoned warehouse. Surely no other spirit had tread these waters before, as you would know. You would intuitively sense the ghosts of explorers past and wordlessly commune with them.
The first time you enter a new girl’s bedroom, that sense of crossing a threshold into some strange, but wonderful, territory. The quickened beating of your heart.
This must be like how the bears felt, to discover some interloper had trespassed on that which was theirs. Sullied. Used. Dirty.
It just never occurred to me to check. Or maybe I just didn’t want to know. The mind shies from asking certain questions. I suppose it’s the same reason that you don’t wonder why no one else is dating that cute girl you just met. Surely, she was just waiting for you. You don’t want to ponder the implications of where she might have been or what might have been done to her.
In this day and age, I suppose it’s hard to find one that hasn’t been with someone else. Why couldn’t it have been a shoestring salesman? Or a theoretical physicist? I could have handled that, even been intrigued.
I thought…I thought we had something special. And then I discovered this:
My website used to be with someone else. Self-described “avant-garde” writers. They wrote about dead girls and argued politics by quoting Bob Dylan. They wrote Jazz music reviews. Maybe I’m just jealous, as at least one has gone on to become a full-fledged novelist.
My website used to be with other people. Other writers even. I should have asked, so I wouldn’t have to discover it this way. Would I have been happier had I never known?
Don’t worry website. I think I can forgive you. Someday.
They were avant-garde. And now they are gone.