Green Friend Request

„It’s a pleasure to meet you,“ said the guy over the booming new Jennifer Lopez Lambada-remix and put a kiss on her forehand.
“He was in the climbing society last year as well,” Rachel told them. “How’ve you been? Tyler – isn’t it?”
“I’ve been great, yeah. How about you?”
Rachel and Tyler kept chatting on the way to the bar. Amelie tugged her arm under Stella’s as they followed. Her eyes were fixed on his short ginger hair, styled to spikes in the centre. At the crowded bar she switched her attention to the dancers. The floor was on a higher platform opposite the bar. When Amelie turned to check on Rachel, Tyler grinned at her. She smiled back.
Once they had drinks, too, she and Stella went to a lounge table, whilst Rachel disappeared on the dancing stage.
“You should go and dance with them,” shouted Stella in her ear.
“Why?” she asked with a questioning look.
“Because he so liked you.”
“What?” She pulled a grimace. “No, he’s with Rachel.”
“Believe me, he likes you.”
Amelie felt the corners of her mouth widen. She turned and grinned towards the dancing crowd. And there was his face again – Tyler returning her smile. She was glad the flashing lights hid her reddening cheeks.
“Told you,” Stella said leaning on her shoulder.
Tyler – in his casual right-left rocking next to the crazy moving Rachel – stretched out his arm towards them, opening his palm.
“There you go.” Stella pushed her slightly in the back, but Amelie fought her off and turned her back on Tyler.
“I can’t.”
“I said I can’t.” She leaned closer towards her, the back pressed into the leather bench. “It’s only been a few weeks since Billy.”
“Exactly. You should get back out there.”
“I will. After I finished my assignments.”
“Don’t mention assignments today.”
“You’re right.” She took her drink and held it high. “To Lady’s night.”
Stella took hers and cheered: “To lady’s night.”

The next day Amelie didn’t feel very capable of anything. She hadn’t had enough drinks for a hangover, but the taste in her mouth and the lack of energy proved that there was still alcohol in her system. Even so, she had to meet up with her course mate Becky to go to the library. After two hours in the boiling and noisy workspace, she had barely written anything about the depiction of sexuality in Middle English poetry. It was time for a break. They went for a belated lunch and bought some food at the nearby Spar.
“Are you alright? You look like something’s up.”
“No, I’m fine.”
Becky followed her to the cashier’s line.
“I feel a little awkward, probably had too much alcohol last night.”
“Any particular reason?”
Amelie raised a smile. “No, not really.” She put her Tuna-Mayo sandwich on the counter and took a bag of crisps from the side hangers. “Well, there was this guy, but he went off with Rachel, a friend of mine.”
“That sucks.” Becky moved up to pay her noodle salad.
Amelie went around the cashiers to the exit. The door opened from the other side. She stepped back and froze. Tyler stopped, too, keeping hold of the door.
“Oh, hi,” he said.
“Hey, how are you doing?” She didn’t need to ask. His ginger hair was all fuzzy and his lazy outfit with the training pants looked as if he wasn’t quite out of bed yet.
He groaned in response. “Got a little headache, but I guess I’m alright.”
Becky had finished paying and looked at the two.
“Well, I’ll see you around,” said Amelie.
“Yeah, see you.” He disappeared in the shop.

Back home, Amelie wrote her daily blog entry and for the first time that day writing became easy.

Coincidence or Chance
11.04pm, Thu 17/03/11, published by Amelicious
Labels: chance, coincidence, love, dating

I wonder how people get together anyway.
Is it pure chance or rather coincidence?

Some people are supposedly meant for each other, which would presuppose a set plan, or not? I mean some encounters are so strange that pure chance can hardly be it, right? It must be destiny. I just don’t get why so many coincidences turn out completely meaningless.

Just yesterday I had one of those encounters. At first, at least. I went out with my girls to celebrate. In the club my friend Rachel introduced me to this guy who was not simply cute, but gave me this feeling. You know what I mean. Our eyes seemed to be sticking together. The whole evening he glimpsed to where I was. I must have imagined it, for he went off with Rachel.

Now, the real mystery came upon me today during my lunch break. I bumped into Tyler in a shop. And worse, there was this awkwardness in the air. Is that really just a stupid coincidence or is there more to it than chance?

She sighed after hitting the publish button. She didn’t count on anyone reading it. Her visitor counter was merely at 871 and she didn’t even have ten friends, only two of them commenting regularly. Still she really hoped to hear someone else’s thoughts on this.
The rest of the evening she spent reading Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Fin” for her second essay on the depiction of African-Americans in 19th century American literature. Before going to bed, she checked Facebook and was surprised to see a red encircled 1 in the top left corner. Not the usual notification or message button, but the friend request one. She clicked on the red spot and the drop-down window showed a picture of a guy hanging on a rope at a cliff, shooting a grimace into the camera. The name said Tyler “Bing” Bening.
Out of habit, her mouse hovered over the “Accept” button. Quickly she pushed the mouse away. She remembered the new blog post that automatically sent a note to her Twitter and from there got published on her Facebook profile. She went back to her blog, cursing herself for using real names, and changed his into Jason and Rachel into Julie. On Facebook, she deleted the Twitter note about the post.
She didn’t like accepting him, but she was curious about what he had to say. Maybe their coincidental encounter meant something after all.
Only a few minutes after she had pressed “Accept”, the Facebook chat window popped up alongside the familiar clicking noise.
March 17
Tyler “Bing” Bening
Amelie Geneve
hey, how r u doing?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
good thx
Amelie Geneve
did u survive the day then
Tyler “Bing” Bening
yeah, just about
Amelie Geneve
wht did u do?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
sleeping mostly and watching TV you?
Amelie Geneve
tried to study and write my essay
Tyler “Bing” Bening
sounds like fun
Amelie Geneve
oh it was, never had more
Tyler “Bing” Bening
im sure u did fine
Amelie Geneve
what makes u think that?
Tyler “Bing” Bening
I don’t know. cause ur great maybe

Amelie hid her eyes under one hand. She hesitated, her fingers over the keyboard.
maybe you’d fancy going for coffee or something sometimes

She grinned into her shoulder.
Amelie Geneve
yeah why not
Tyler “Bing” Bening

For a while, nothing came.

March 18
Tyler “Bing” Bening
you free tomorrow
Amelie Geneve
I’ll be busy with my work during the day, but maybe later
Tyler “Bing” Bening
how about 7-8
Amelie Geneve
Tyler “Bing” Bening
where do u wanna go?
Amelie Geneve
you pick
Tyler “Bing” Bening
u like the font?
Amelie Geneve
never bin
Tyler “Bing” Bening
you know where it is
Amelie Geneve
Yeah near the hospital
isn’t it
Tyler “Bing” Bening
i’ll meet you there at 7?
Amelie Geneve
okay, 7 at the font
Tyler “Bing” Bening

Amelie didn’t sleep well that night. It just didn’t seem real. On the way to The Font, she also worried about what Rachel would say to her going out with him, but Rachel didn’t pick up the phone. Then again, they were only meeting for a drink, what was wrong about that?
Tyler was waiting at the door, hands in his pocket, the ginger hair styled and not messy anymore. Looking at his smile, every step she came closer seemed to make her smaller.
“Good evening,” he said and took her hand again, touching it with his lips.
“Hi.” She evaded his piercing green eyes and only breathed out when he led the way inside.
At the bar, she ordered a coke and to her surprise he got the same and even paid.
They approached an empty couch in the back of the pub. “You’re not getting a beer?” she asked.
“No.” He just smiled.
They sat down, both leaning on the armrests. Amelie took a sip.
“How are your assignments going?”
“Better today. I don’t think I can use anything I did yesterday, though.”
“Why not?”
“I just felt awful. Not like a real hangover, but similar.”
He laughed. “Well, I did have a hangover.”
“I could tell.”
His smile vanished as he nodded and bit his lip: “I’m sorry that I went off with Rachel. I don’t know what got into me. I’m not even into her.”
Amelie thought about yesterday. She had been a little jealous then, she knew that now. But the feeling was gone.
She liked how easy their conversation became. They talked about her essays; he told her how he started working in the Outdoor shop and later their topics got more and more personal. At one point, he got a text from his mother and bitched about her being all motherish and over the top. She could relate and told him about her Dad, who never let her walk home from school until one day she freaked out. It was still sometimes annoying when he called to check on her too often.
Hours passed and then Tyler had to go to the toilet. When he came back, he sat down close to the middle. Amelie noticed and leaned away from her armrest, the legs folded into his direction.
“You know you have the prettiest eyes.”
She blushed. “Thanks.”
When she lifted her head back up, their eyes locked. Her pulse began to accelerate. She couldn’t move. He on the other hand leaned slightly forward. Amelie raged inside, still motionless on the outside. His head came another inch forward. She joined his attempt and their lips met. A soft kiss. A second later they retreated. A huge weight seemed to fall off. Tyler looked relaxed, too, the shoulders lower and a wide grin shining across his face.
“Oh dear. This is a pretty cute couple, you are,” said a guy stumbling closer, falling into a seat at their table. “You look pretty, you two.” He carried an almost empty glass of beer and his eyelids kept falling down separately.
“What do you want?” asked Tyler.
“Why do I want something?”
“Because you came to our table?!”
“Don’t be so rude, buddy.” Amelie grinned into her hand, but Tyler seemed annoyed. “You like her?”
“No, I just pretend to like her.”
“That’s mean, you know, pretending to like someone.”
Amelie avoided looking at the guy. “You like ginger, eh?” he asked her anyway.
She didn’t answer.
“Just leave her alone, okay.”
“I’m not doing anything. Why are you so mean?”
“Please, just leave.”
“You’re sending me away? That is so mean.”
“I’m telling you, back off.”
To Tyler’s surprise, he got up. Instead of leaving, he came around the table and leaned over to Amelie. She kept her back to him, looking into Tyler’s raised eyebrows.
The guy whispered to her “Don’t take ginger, be a binger” and sniggered.
Tyler jumped up and hit him spot on. The guy flew backwards to the ground, his glass shattered on the floor. Hands clutching to his face, he whimpered. Others came to the scene, the barkeeper shouting.
Amelie was shocked. She followed Tyler outside, as he pushed his way past the spectators.

Back in her room, Amelie dropped onto her bed and moaned. Her thoughts still relived the evening.
Her phone rang.
Reluctantly, she pushed the green button on her screen.
“Hi Rachel.”
“Amelie, hey, how are you? I’m sorry I didn’t call you back. Thursday I just had an awful hangover and then Kat dragged me out again, so I was pretty much useless all day today.”
“That’s okay,” Amelie said.
“Is everything alright with you?”
“Yeah, just a long day.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be done with your assignments in no time. Listen, I just read your blog and I’m so sorry. Had I known you liked Tyler, I wouldn’t have tried anything, really. When I read it, I felt like such a sleazy slut.”
“Rachel, please don’t. It was okay, really.”
“No wait. I think you were actually lucky I hit on him. To be fair, I’m surprised he went with me, because he couldn’t stop talking about you.” Amelie’s attention rose abruptly. “I mean I was pretty pissed then, but I still remember that it was more than weird. He knew things about you, it was so creepy. First he said he was glad you broke up with Billy. I mean that was only a few weeks ago and I sure didn’t tell him that. But it got worse. He knew that you went out with Jamie for Valentine’s Day and even that we had a fight just after that. How did he know all that stuff?”
Amelie stared at her ceiling, lying flat on the bed. The light of the little nightstand lamp appeared to fade.
“Amelie, you still there?”
“Yes, yes. I’m just ... I don’t know.”
“Anyway, this guy is weird. I left him at the club, but you and Stella had disappeared.”
“What? He told me he went away with you.”
“But I didn’t – wait, he told you? When?”
“Rachel, I feel so stupid.” She put her free hand on her forehead.
“Why, what happened?”
“He added me on Facebook yesterday and I went out with him. We even kissed.”
“Oh my God, Amelie, that guy is not sane, you really should stay away from him.”
“It looks like it.”
Rachel didn’t leave her until she had given her all the details of the disturbing things that had slipped Tyler’s tongue that night. She thought about friends who might have told him, but she remembered that on Facebook they only had Rachel in common.
Suddenly she had an idea. She went on Facebook, typed Tyler’s name into the search bar on the top and went to his profile. She looked at the latest status updates. One from Thursday 11.13pm said simply “Finally”. Right after she’d accepted his friend request. She went to her own profile and looked at her status updates from the last few weeks. She’d written about Billy, of course, but there was nothing about the Valentine’s date. She found some complains about Rachel, though she never mentioned her name. How did he know about Jamie? Maybe a friend had told him, but why? She hadn’t told many people.
Her eyes widened as she saw the Blogger shortcut on her bookmark toolbar. She’d written about it in her blog and about Rachel, too. And now the rest Rachel had told her made sense as well. She quickly opened her blog and looked at the comments to her new post.
Two comments, one from her best follower Alicia and an anonymous one.

I hope it still works out between you and the guy. Maybe he just wanted to make you jealous by pretending to like your friend.

Looks like bad luck last night. But you never know, sometimes luck can turn around.

After reading the comments, she sank back into her hard wooden chair. Could it be that her best reader was really Tyler? Or did he read, but never commented? Both options were concerning.
Immediately, she wrote Tyler a message, saying that the evening was nice, but she didn’t feel that they should go out again. She knew he would try to argue, but she was determined to turn him down, until she could delete him from her friend’s list. Secondly, she changed her Facebook account settings, so that only friends could read what she wrote. She damned herself for not having done that earlier. Lastly, she posted her Friday entry.

Dumb gets dumber
1.29am, Sat 18/03/11, published by Amelicious
Labels: safety, online, privacy, internet, caution

Regrets have one advantage. You’ve learned something.

I just went through a hard lesson on online privacy. I feel so stupid, maybe I should get the crown of dumbness or something. So many people say concerning things about internet security, but did I ever listen?

Do you wonder who actually reads your blog? Or your Facebook status updates? Facebook is a network for friends, but most people share private thoughts, private pictures and what not with how many people? There’s not much private as long as you put it on the internet.

I won’t go into detail what happened to me – see, I’m making progress. I still have to say that I regret putting so much personal stuff on my blog. The question is, how much is actually okay? I guess you need the right balance to keep readers interested and at the same time to protect your private life. My Facebook is only for friends now and I will be much more careful who I invite or accept. After all, employers check social media websites nowadays, someone even got fired for bitching about his work. I feel that we need to be more aware of how we lay ourselves bare on the internet.

This is why I will change my blog, switch the URL and use an avatar from now on to protect myself from unwanted interferences with my private life. Thank you for following me until now. Eventually chance will bring us back together in the Bloggosphere.


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