The cigarette was just coming to an end, as was the night. Theo had been staring at the dimly lit screen for over seven hours; time had escaped him as he retraced the intimate moments of a past relationship, via his laptop screen. There was a time, of course, when intimacy existed in more limited forms; it has encountered a drastic evolution in our world. It used to be as simple as holding hands. When your hands come together in this union of skin, the heart pounds, as the mind wonders about the parts of the body that you’re refraining from touching. Time goes by and the pounding heart manifests as a sweaty palm, and the embarrassment of the sweaty palm results in even more sweating, finalising in the separation of hands.
Theo straightened his shoulders, he was growing restless and the pain in his upper neck was persisting. He’d started at his desk, moved to the floor, his gin and cigarettes migrated with him. It was perplexing to Theo that intimacy, could exist within a 15” machine, and that he was able to relive every moment of that intimacy (now lost) through a collection of emails, sent back and forth over a fourteen month period. As he sat on the ageing wooden floor, he remembered how she had once shared this floor with him. Her head was always tilted, with a curious and wistful expression on her face, as she listened carefully to him. She kept her hands in her lap being mindful of the hazardous consequences of an old oak floor, lacking the attention of a sander.
Reading through the emails, Theo felt as if she was there with him now. The discovery of the emails had produced an intermixture of emotions. At first, he felt like a small child collecting shells for the first time on a beach. Like each shell, each email stirred more excitement within him, and the discovery felt like an achievement. Later, remorse followed; when he examined the emails one by one, he was able to identify mistakes he had made, moments he had missed. The power of hindsight overwhelmed him to torturous extents, and he feared continuing. Seven hours later, as the morning crept in to his apartment and splayed shadows on the surrounding furniture, he contemplated sending a new email.