The strange case of an online friendship

Another sleepless night. I told myself I would stay in bed and try to sleep. I told myself I’d be good this time and stay. But I never do. There is something uncanny about sleep. I’ve always felt it. Even though I’m tired, the thought of parting with consciousness always makes me weary. “A waste of precious time” I tell myself, and it’s true. Something happens when the rest of the world is sleeping. My crowded mind seem spacious just like the abandoned streets outside. Thoughts and memories come to me in a way that suddenly makes sense. That’s what happened tonight. As I lay in bed, deluded by sleep, the memories of the strangest friendship I ever made came suddenly to me all at once. It of course all started in the most peculiar of places; the MMO called Star Wars: The Old Republic.

To make the long story of how we became friends short lets skip over the exchanging of guards, peels and heals necessary when securing a new in game ally. Let’s skip over the many warzones that followed, the PvP drinking nights, the laughs and the somber 3 am conversations. Almost a year after we made friends we decided to meet up. At this point we had actually already met once before together with a few other in game friends. This however would be different. We’d both had a crazy couple of weeks and needed a break from everyday life. So it would be.

I met her at the airport. As fitting our personalities I was instantly comfortable and she the opposite though I knew she was happy to see me. I was to stay with her for ten whole days and we were both excited. Often I’m asked if people I’ve met irl feel like the same person I’ve spoken with over team speak. Yes, and in this particular case, especially so.

The first day went quickly. Everything seemed normal, lighthearted and casual. Little did we know that our ten days would soon turn upside down. After some Italian food and drinks at her place my world came crashing down. An unexpected phone call and a few text messages later my cheerful mood was numbed by outside circumstances. What happened? you ask. Real life happened. And not the good kind. Without going into too much detail I’ll say that from that moment on things seemed very bleak. Such bad timing for life to happen. Just as I’d been sitting there in a foreign country enjoying a bottle of dry wine with my friend. Luckily she proved to be a true friend indeed. Taking away my phone and filling my glass with wine she insisted that I should adopt her attitude to life, say “fuck you” to the world and drink up. I did. Those two words soon became our motto and would come to be exclaimed over many a clinking glasses the coming few days.

That night, after finishing the two bottles of wine, we (against the better judgment of my friend) enjoyed a bottle of champagne and many (so many) shots of tequila.

“I don’t get drunk easily and I’ve never been hungover in my life” I declared proudly to my friend who smiled as if she knew something I didn’t.

I woke up with a serious case of memory loss, a splitting headache and a mysterious cigarette burn mark on my hand. At this point, having accepted my friend as the authority on drinking, my own wise spirit guide, I swallowed the painkillers she gave me and went back to bed for the rest of the day. In our half dead/half alive state we slowly started fitting last nights events together in the right order. The memories were coming back slowly.

What happened after all those shots of tequila? The conversations about life had taken a turn to the philosophical at which point I distinctively remember muttering the phrase “I don’t care if the glass is half full or half empty. Point is there is clearly room for more alcohol in it”. The night had gotten slightly out of hand after that. My friend explained that the mysterious  cigarette burn mark on my hand had been the result of me challenging myself to a daring competition and accepting.

The days continued in this manner. Because of circumstances in both of our lives at the time we were very low but enjoyed the days staying at home talking and watching sitcoms, ordering takeaway, drinking and playing SWTOR in the evenings. This might not sound as fun as it was but looking back it was probably the most enjoyable of all the dark moments I’ve had in my life. Many secrets were shared, many cynical speeches made and much wine was consumed. The only thing I can say is that if life is going to suck anyway then you might as well have a good glass of dry wine in your hand and a friend like mine at your side. Someone who’s ready to mock anyone who dares make you feel bad (even if you deserve it), pour more wine into your glass when it’s empty and advice against mixing large quantities of tequila and champagne on the same night.

Photo attribution: “red red wine” by *Psycho Delia* licensed under CC by 2.0

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