#18 Jumping off the Page
Bob sat down to write the story. He’d had the idea incubating for a number of years, but it was never complete until that day when he realized what the best resolution for the story could be. He was eager, and opened up the word document he’d been keeping for, what seemed like, an eternity. Today he’d write the last 1000 words, and be done. He felt giddy with excitement.
About 10 minutes into his writing, he heard a noise behind him. He turned to find a beautiful woman standing there. She was dressed conservatively, but could not hide her shape.
“Do I know you”, he said to her. She smiled.
“Yes, although we haven’t met in real life”.
“How did you get in? What’s your handle online?”, he realized that she couldn’t answer both questions at the same time, but each was equally nagging to him. He didn’t live in the best part of town, so his doors were always locked. And not living in the best part of town meant he found a great deal of companionship with friends online. He had over 1000 Facebook friends, surely she must have been one of them who was able to find him.
“I don’t know how I got in”, she said.
“What do you mean?”, he replied.
“One minute I was standing out in my backyard, and the next minute I was here”.
She didn’t seem like she was lying, and something about her felt oddly familiar.
“Where do you know me from?”, he said, as he stood up.
“We know each other from…”, she stopped. “Well, from…”. This continued about a half-dozen times, she would begin to speak but stop herself, with a puzzled look coming over her face.
“I don’t know how I know you”, she said, reluctantly. “But I do – you’re very familiar to me”.
He felt the same way, and had the same odd feeling of knowing the mystery woman beyond a passing meeting. He took a pen and scrap of paper and began to write down random facts about her, as they came to his mind.
“Are any of these right?”, he said, handing her the paper.
“They’re spot-on”, she said. “My name is Calissa, I live in the southwest, and I’m a bit of a workaholic”. He’d included the last one, feeling a bit bad. After all, that could be taken either way, as a compliment or a character flaw. She seemed to gravitate toward the latter.
“What do you know about me?”, he asked.
“Nothing specific – I don’t even know where this place is. It just seems really familiar”. She stood there, across from him, as he tried to put the pieces together. Suddenly, he rushed to his computer, a look of horror coming over his face.
“Calissa – but nobody calls you that – they call you Kelly – right?”. She nodded.
“Oh God! This isn’t possible”. He quickly punched CTRL-F on his keyboard, typed “Calissa” into the find box. It returned the first result.
Calissa never was there for him, she was always working, always off on some business trip or personal errand. In brief moments, Robert could see the shadow of her former self. The old Calissa, before the world happened and she adopted the nickname. Here he was again, alone at the house. She’d walked outside, but when he looked for her, she’d disappeared.
She looked over his shoulder in disbelief. He quickly saved the document and minimized it.
“Why do you have details about my life written down there? Have you been stalking me?”, she asked accusatorially.
“Kelly, this is kind of hard to explain”, he said, as he offered her a seat, and sat down himself. “You’re someone I made up, years ago, in my story”.
“That’s impossible! I’m as real as you are”, she replied incredulously.
“And yet you don’t know how you got here, and I know a lot about you, and you know little about me other than familiarity”. He replied.
“So how did I get here”, she asked.
“I don’t know”, he said. “Maybe it was something I wrote”.
He opened up the word document again, and read the last paragraph:
He was changing everything, out with the old, in with something unknown. Everyone he knew he was casting out, starting with the frigid girl he rarely saw
“Robert thinks I’m frigid!?!”, she had read over his shoulder once more.
“I guess he does – when I write I sorta lose myself in it. I guess Robert was cleaning house, and you were something he cleaned out. But how you got here, how you became as real to me as I am, I have no idea”.
They found him 4 days after the leak had been discovered and fixed. They didn’t know his house had been affected. It wasn’t until he’d been reported missing that they went searching. He’d gone quickly, slumped over the keyboard of his computer. On the screen, they found his final words.
“He had changed his mind, he wanted her back. After all they had been through, they were finally together again. “I love you Bob”, she said as they drifted off to sleep.