It took me a long time to decide I was ready to write this post, so bear with me while I wring my heart of the remaining tears this one might bring out.
Every one (about the three of you, I guess) who has read the Author’s Note of my second book, Eco Station One, knows the main story about the gorilla surfing the Internet which inspired most of this crazy and bizarre book.
But there’s another side that almost no one is aware about. While I was writing Eco Station, I met this wacky, sensational and smart woman online. As many of you must know by now, women cease to communicate with me right after they find out that I live in the middle of a rainforest, so for some time I did my best to find love online… without any results.
Women were either too young or completely neurotic. And the ones in my age bracket… well, let’s not get into that…
Reasonably, I gave up after a while. But, without a warning, I stumbled upon this woman from Mexico in a chat room. She was trying to learn how to use the emoticons of that place. As a pro in there, I found this amusing and I spent the next few hours teaching her how to make smileys, sad faces and angry scowls with the least necessary keypresses as possible. She seemed to enjoy the process and, what’s more important, she seemed to enjoy my wacky sense of humor…
We met regularly in that chat room, and things evolved to the point when we switched to Messenger to continue chatting. This lasted for eighteen months. And it got really interesting when she was the one that proposed me to get involved emotionally with each other. Since I like slightly aggressive and forward females, well, it was obvious I was completely pleased and flattered by this. Our meetings became daily sessions, always around 1 PM, when she was just going out of the beauty school where she was taking a few courses. She was very insistent over the fact that we saw each other through the webcam (I suspect she liked the reassurance that I didn’t have horns growing out from my forehead; I was likewise pleased to find out that she was as pretty as the picture she sent me… and that she didn’t have three sets of eyes or something like that… She even asked that I photoshopped our separate online portraits together into one, as shown above… and we looked great as a couple, mind you.)
But during that same time I was well into writing Eco Station One… and my Mexican Lady was slowly turning into the Marina character that became so pivotal to the plot. The adventures that Eduardo Sinnombre and Marina, his paramour, were having together were an expression of my daily daydreaming whenever I was chatting around with this nice girl.
The novel had become my love letter to my Mexican Lady, in a fashion.
Things reached the point when I was more than ready to board the plane to Mexico and meet her in person. But then disaster struck, fatefully. The Venezuelan government suddenly devaluated the exchange rate of the Bolivar, the local currency, from 2.15 to 4.30 per US dollar. My plans collapsed, since the cost of the air tickets literally doubled overnight; Mexico, which was a rather affordable 2,500.oo Bolivares away, unexpectedly became a goal impossible to reach at the tune of 5,250.oo VEF. And that didn’t include lodging, food and transport. I had to cancel the reservations.
But there was a sliver of hope still glinting between the shards resulting of all this mess. A few people owed me a lot of favors; I could cash in a few of these, and then someone I know would see that she boarded the next plane to Caracas at just a fraction of the cost of my ticket to Mexico… And I had a few friends who would be quite glad to give her bed and board, just to wipe out the debt they had with me. She would be safe with them.
When I met her next, proposed her this reversal of plans. She suddenly muted, and thought it over. She shook her head sadly. Nope, no go. I worked very hard the next few weeks to convince her to come, since it was more feasible in economic terms, but she never yielded.
All the while, Eco Station was finally taking form, reaching the zany climax at its end. I kept telling her that maybe this thing would sell enough copies that I may resume our original plans of meeting at her home country. But as weeks passed, she just began to stare at me through the image of her webcam, not really paying attention to whay I wrote onscreen. She seemed to have lost a vital, vibrant spark, which started to show in our conversations. One day, she simply said to me: “Well, Edwin, seems that you’re only my unreachable daydream.” And she cut the connection. The image on the Messenger tiny screen became black as night.
Her words floored me. Our chats began to space increasingly from each other; our daily sessions became one each other day, then twice a week, then weekly: something had broken between us. I knew that I had lost her. One day, I found she had eliminated her mail account and that she had also deactivated her Facebook profile. She was gone from my life forever…
I was also just a couple of pages away from finishing Eco Station One, and I briefly considered the idea of deleting the file. But something forced me to keep going, and this crazy book managed, somehow, to get completed. Editing it was a veritable nightmare, since each line I read made me relive the dream; that I finally had found my dream girl… and that an event beyond my control made me lose her.
That was three years ago. Took me this long to finally tell the tale as it really happened. As you can see, Eco Station was a love letter that never found its way home. It was the most soul-wrenching book I ever wrote, since I had I had invested so much into it, on an emotional basis…
And that was also my last attempt to find love.
Never more, quoth the raven…