Green dot blinking
The green dot was blinking at the bottom corner of the monitor. 1,119km away, its twin started blinking too as it had done regularly for the past weeks signalling a presence and just as expected the video call sound went off.
It had all started some weeks back, when over a pint at the pub, talk turned to the topic of dating. John had just come out of a relationship and explained how the last thing on his mind was walking straight into another one. Yet he wanted some fun. Peter tried persuading him that what he needed were new faces as his resources were running thin, while Mark held that with the hours he put into his job, there was no way he had time to go out on the prowl. Enter Tony, with his ever beaming smile and a prompt solution to all the world’s aches and pains.
He explained how he had recently joined a website which addressed all their issues and high on cynicism Mark decided to prove him wrong. He registered, uploaded the compulsory photo and started going through the myriad of faces till a particular profile caught his attention, which led to the blinking green dots.
Two weeks after exchanging sporadic online messages, Petra, whose real name was Sheree, had already a holiday booked on the island, so the two decided to meet. Sheree partly shared Mark’s issue with long working hours, and had also just come out of a complicated story, which were her reasons for joining the site. Being on a tight schedule of holiday time, the only way they could meet was on the night of Santa Marija, an eve Mark had already pre-booked with his mates, however, Sheree was fine with tagging along. Two hours after they were sharing jokes and giggling away as if they had known each other for ages, but her tickets still showed the departure date of the following Saturday. They managed to slice in another brief meeting and she was gone.
Having a story with someone you can only see on a screen is no easy feat, Mark explained. “Yes you get to chat in the evening, but that doesn’t fill the seat next to you at the movies with friends,”giggled Mark, “nor does it come remotely close to a proper good night kiss… and I'm not going into other details,” he laughed blushingly.
Still smiling, Mark said that when people ask them how they met, he replies that while on holiday in Ibiza by chance he walked into her shop and then she couldn't stay away from him, “but then we simply tell them the truth,” he giggled as Sheree glared at him. Technology has taken by storm most sectors of life, so in a world where social networks can topple governments, it is no surprise that it provides a good scenario for dating. “After giving us a dream when we least expected it, technology has also given us the tools to sustain our story,” Mark explained.
Although they say distance makes the heart grow fonder, it is also a harsh reality. “The fact that you don’t physically meet makes you talk and text much more, actions are replaced by written words taking away the hurdle of shyness,” Sheree said. “Neither of us ever believed in online romance, let alone distant relationships however, now I feel that I got to know Mark deeper and faster than I would have if this was the normal kind of story.” Both look forward to their monthly weekend trips to the other's country, with Sheree adding that “low cost airlines makes thing affordable, otherwise we wouldn't be able to travel so often,” but Mark couldn’t hide the sparkle in his eye when he let it slip that thing between them will quantum leap once Sheree moves over permanently.
“Since we live in countries with flights being the only travelling option, the moments when we physically meet to us mean a lot more than dates would in a normal relationship,” Sherree held. 'If we get to writing about it, we'll give Fifty Shades a run for its money,” Mark put in, unable to contain his laughter anymore.