It wasn’t every day that you would re meet someone from your high school years, especially if it was some other girl you once knew in one of your classes. But today was an unusual day for a multitude of reasons, to many to mention here. It was always one of those things. I had always had the tendency to think about someone deeply, and then somehow or another this person–or at least someone who looked like them, would show up at whatever place I went to get wifi–an all pervasive and invasive means of connecting with ‘real’ friends, though they themselves were not necessarily more real than whatever person I would meet in the real world, if indeed the person I thought deeply about was really there.
This has happened many times throughout the week. The first time I thought it was merely a coincidence, though as the days went by it gradually began to give me more of a deeper and deeper sense of horror–until I got to know Jenna. After all what demonic force had devised me to meet an old acquaintance on a Spring’s day? As I tried to ignore, it was always the same girl I had known previously that would always show up. Part of me would like to think there was a certain drawn that the star would align for us to meet on that particularly day. Instead in reality it felt as if something else were going on behind the scenes, something I was not privy to. If on no other day me and her would meet, it would always be on Wednesday. I’m not exactly sure what it is about Wednesdays. But it would always be this day that we would encounter and bump into each other.
I would occasionally meet others, and over time I began to wonder if they had some particular plan for me. Though it was assuring that I would get to live elsewhere, not anything like the town of nowhere, there was still a sense of panic of them getting to know me. It wasn’t like I did not want to be known. I’d rather not know others, and others not know me in kind. I was in a bind, after all I did not exactly want to be unfriendly, though I feared they’d be unkind. I wanted to sink without a trace, wanted to be a person without a face.
It was been several weeks since I was met by this girl again, though I’m not sure if I have seen the last of her. That phantom, that girl prettier than I, that someone that I always wanted to be. For a rest of the day maybe I can think about something else. But I fear that she may find me, she always manages to find me.
She was everywhere.
It was the next today when I was in a city shop, browsing the selections of various nick nacks that I wanted to get before I would leave this town the next week end in order to go back home.
I was visited by another girl who looked similarly to one of the I had known in my school years. While it always could be that she had matured over the last few years after high school, there was always that chance that could be just like she always was–bitchy and rude. At school they called her grudging Gertrude, but I just called her a bitch. Gertrude had many boyfriends, though never managed to get any one of them to stick for very long. Though one would like to think it was the guys and not her, knowing my own experience with her I would think anybody would get tired of having paper wads tossed at them, and have their hair pulled. The guys were fooled into having a rough time. I sure hope she was not anyone’s second date.
Gertrude was sitting outside eating a large pizza at a pizzeria, but promptly ordered a to go box. She recognized me, but chose to not say anything. Her stares would say more than would her words could. To remove myself from the situation, when she was not looking I went to another store. Here there was a selection of retro games. I had grown up with mostly eight bit games. While I also liked the sixteen and thirty two bit era, there was something special about early sprite graphics. I picked up a cartridge, and resisted kissing the contraption. It was one of those obscure JRPGS that never quite reached the same level of popularity in the US. Though it had grown to have quit a cult following. I brought it to the register and purchased myself a copy.
I left the door, and then Gertrude had apparently saw me enter the store. There are no words to describe the long moment of silence before she spoke. Then spoke with a tone that indicated a friendship whose existence is faked, but no real attachment is there. ‘So what have you been up to? You sure look different now. What’s the deal?’
‘Many things have gone on, I gotta go.’ I said.
‘Don’t give me that. Your hair is longer, and you have weight around your hips.’ Gertrude said.
‘Weren’t you the one that always told guys not to stare at your booty? Why are you staring at mine?’
‘Well I didn’t remember …’
‘Doesn’t matter, I really need to go.’ I waved, left her presence, and boarded the metro. I was never that much of a conversationalist, as the very idea of having an extended conversation would always make me feel queasy. Back and forth was never easy. There was a slightly older man sitting in one of the seats. He was holding his small cat in a bathroom towel. ‘Look what the metro dragged in.’ the cat said, speaking to me.
‘You’re just a charming little stinker.’
I went to my own seat, and eventually there was a stray cat that boarded the train. She did not seem to have an owner, but hopped in the seat beside me. ‘Don’t worry about him, he has always had an attitude.’
‘And you are?’ I asked.
‘Jenna, and you are?’ she asked.
‘But how could you not know your name?’
‘Oh no it’s undecided what I wish to go by.’
‘It is healthy for everyone to know them self.’
‘Yea deep subject.’ I looked at the video game cartridge as I spoke. It was a golden edition of the JRPG, which is about as common as fools gold. It’s really the blue cartridges you really want.
‘You collect games?’ the cat asked.
‘Yea, why do you ask?’ I asked.
‘I never played them myself, but my previous owner used to have an addiction. When their console busted, they turned to alcohol instead.’ The cat spoke with a world weariness that I would have never expected. Not that I exactly expect cats to be happy go lucky. I had just always taken them as being largely indifferent to people. If they didn’t have to have owners, they would have their own little society that had broken off from our own. Have their own form of crypto currency. But this cat, was not indifferent.
‘Suppose technology got to the point where you could walk on two legs, have some paws with disposable thumbs, do you think you would consider playing one?’ I asked, but not being totally serious.
‘But there isn’t that technology.’ the cat said.
‘Oh I mean hypothetically. But never mind.’ I then reclined my head on the window, and waited for the stop to reach my apartment complex.
As I reached the complex, the cat followed.
I turned around and said, ‘Sorry Jenna, my apartment doesn’t allow cats.’
‘That’s no problem.’ said Jenna, and then turned into the young woman that followed me a few days earlier. ‘I think I can keep this form for a while.’
Then we went inside and chatted, till she had to back home to her owner. I wasn’t sure if she would come visit me again, but I met other cats that I’ve spoken with. Though none of them quite energized me like Jenna.
It was Jenna’s gift.
In the future, I will be boarding a metro train. I will take the hike through the city streets, closing the gap between shopping and eating at the speed of a car horn. A pizza will be eaten, that is as deep as a toilet. It will be merely a fast food pizza, as I am simply to poor to afford anything else. In the future, I will be finishing up me meal wondering what it is I’m going to do with my life. I am a painter, an architect of primitive text-adventure games. I will organize an adventure game that involves an elf and a fairy. And yet part of me has not completely settled with merely being a programmer. After all I have always have plenty of stories to tell, and not all stories work as video games. Unless you’re willing to consider kinetic novels with battle systems games. And of course there will always be an argument for this.
I will most likely secure my career in some other field that does not exercise my brain’s complete potential. I had worked in other jobs like this, though I have only been in possession of these for a month at a time at the absolute most. There will be yet another small payment. In my lowly apartment room, I had only managed to earn enough to afford the least fancy of fried noodles. In two minutes, I will be going to the store to purchase yet another pack of them. I’m not sure if I will see Jenna again. My meetings with people from my past are sparse though at odd moments. I will likely go back to my hometown, where I have some friends. Though the most you could say is the relationships are fleeting. At this hometown, I will temporarily revisit my parents. And then go back to regular personal monotony and hum drum. In the future I will only have the time to do some social interaction. As I intend to focus on my painting and poetry for the rest of my life.
In the future I will lose contact with my parents, and get myself a wife, get divorced merely because she did not like the idea of me being who I am. Unless of course I end up building a relationship with Jenna–the woman that turns into a cat by the early evening hours. In the future, I will have an accidental roommate, an unintended pet, a personal companion that I can hold conversations with. I don’t know why I keep thinking about Jenna, after all I assume she probably thinks of me no more than that previous encounter if that. The cat that set on her belly fat. In the future we will eventually break contact, and I love as a sort of nomad with technology.
In my minds eye, I see myself given into the draw of the virtual reality game, as a kind of distraction from the pains of the real world. Though I’m not certain any of this will happen, I don’t see that much of a future at the moment as I tip the final glass of wine I can afford into the drawn of the kitchen sink.
I did not think she would come back, Jenna took a metro trip over here a day ago, said that she will likely be here a while. She placed down a large pack of old video games from her previous ‘owner’ on the kitchen tiles. ‘I’m not sure if they work, they may well have corruption files.’ Jenna said, and then we took the time to have the dinner I prepared. She didn’t seem to mind that all I could really afford were packages of fried noodles. She said she knew of a place to get better fried noodles real cheap. And she eventually read some of my game reviews–said that she knows a guy that make like to see my reviews, and have a job for me reviewer new retro styled games. Yet when she tried to submit my work, because I myself had given up, she got a polite rejection because the guy wanted me to submit my own stuff. Jenna find this rough, I thought it was yet another guy whose bark was worse than his bite.
Turns out it is this pit bull fellow. He as a pass time likes to play the cello. To Foruus, he said that playing the instrument made him mellow. He had inherited it from old wife who was murdered in a hit and run. He came this close to ending his own life at the point of a gun, but instead found that that’s is not what she would have wanted. Through the cello, he found meaning in his life.
I proposed song style reviews in the vein of Elizabethan funeral marches, though he declined the offer because he was a loner. Thus I assume the only reason I never got the job was because he in truth preferred to be alone.
Thus it was back to the same old same old. So I am told, Cats have nine lives. I wonder how long Jenna will be with me, I don’t want to lose another pet within the year, I want to have one that could potentially live forever. Though I knew that this will be impossible.
In the future, I will be sitting on my door step, after visiting Jenna’s grave. She will commit suicide by falling on the tracks of a metro train. I thus I will be all alone again, with nobody to talk to. In the future I will be calling my parents to rekindle an old relationship, yet it will be so many years in the future that they will likely already be gone from this world. I would have known her for about twenty years time, much longer than any other cat I’ve had. Although this has not yet happened, how could my prediction by wrong?
In the future the electrical lights in the apartment room number will go out, and later I will get mail that has an eviction notice. I will be forced to the streets as a beggar, and yet my self esteem would not allow this. Jenna has not died yet, though my bet is about fifty more years at the most. There are already problems with her memory, though with enough prodding she will eventually remember what I had said previously. No matter how meanly I said seemingly deviously at the time, she would soon forget a few hours later to the tune of another rhyme. After all to her, why try to remember the negative in any relationship? Why think of old pains and regrets. Why by miserable. By contrast I’ve always been different, I suppose I got it from my dad. I was always the most miserable of the lot. If I’m honest my seemingly most obvious issues are not the only reason I’m depressed, as poets have always been in a particularly precarious social position. It has been this way for eons. In the future will be looking for a new mate, because Jenna has died yet to young.
In a way Jenna seems to good for this world.
when Jenna had left for another week when she had finally found a new apartment while saving money–because before she knew I was never one to outright reject a homeless cat girl, I was left to do my own things again. Part of me wants to destroy my phone, as there is always a chance that she may try to make a few calls. I have managed to hold down a job for a few months now, enough to sustain me while I focus the rest of my life on writing and game reviewing. To be honest, I’m not even sure if Foruus is even still around.
He was pretty mopey dopey after me and Jenna the cat had left. I wondered if he was still doing that game site, and took whatever bite he could and focused on ‘real work.’ But the real world has always been a murky and tricky thing in this world. Most of the companies that once filled the diverse landscape in this city of bought each other out. The result being mainstream games I used to enjoy as a teenager have gradually over time reduced in construction quality. In indie gaming, it was almost always a download affair programmed by some guy programming games out of his garage. His home, his life, his lodge.
In the future I will wish that I had never met Jenna, because her memories almost makes her as if she were still alive in my heart.
I’m honestly not sure why I have thought of the worst, even when I would eat something good like a tasty sausage at a German restaurant just down a few blocks from my apartment. Maybe she wont decide to kill herself–I hope not, I just tend to assume that everyone who would consider dating me would be miserable. Unless we distracted ourselves by going to the Theater, and watch crappy plays of Sonnet productions. In the future I will probably be dating someone else, as I assume that other people find me a total drain to be around. Not that I blame her though, though I have never understood why this would be the case that they would.
I think as I sleep with a pillow in my face. I think as I wonder whether I’ll see Jenna again. If that will ever be the case.
I see her in a field of 8-bit video games play testing old and new consoles.
That’s the future I hope for her.