Continuing Tales


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 2 of 64

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Now, months after that conversation, AngelofMusic was every bit as interesting as heíd been in the beginning. Her excitement tonight was due to an offhand suggestion of Megís. Theyíd been in the middle of a painfully slow midmorning lull when Meg had asked Christine how her cyber-romance was going. Christine had grinned and begun recounting the most recent conversation. It was something about Mendelsshonís use of harmonics, and Meg was lost in the first few seconds. Oh, the duties of friendship, she silently groaned.

"He says heís been reworking some of Mendelsshonís concertos for guitar. Iíd love to hear them..."

"Why donít you just get a webcam and a microphone?" Meg interrupted, heading off on the pretense of wiping down the already-gleaming espresso machine. "That way, you could find out for sure whether this guy is all he says he is."

Christine simply stood there, flabbergasted. Why didnít she just get a webcam and microphone? She had enough saved up for the equipment, and it would certainly be worth it to hear AngelofMusicís music. On the way home from work, she stopped at the neighborhood Target and bought a low-quality webcam and a high-quality microphone. It took a matter of minutes to install the new equipment.

minorchord: Hi there! Edited any good articles lately?

It was her standard log-on line.

AngelofMusic: No. How was your day, Little Latte?

That was his.

minorchord: I realized something today. You realize that we two music-lovers have been

communicating in total silence?

AngelofMusic: Thatís typically how it works...

minorchord: Well, I dropped by Target today and picked up a webcam and microphone. If you do

the same, we can just log on and talk - no slow typing.

Christine waited for a response. She was beginning to wonder if he had been disconnected somehow. Normally, he wrote back quickly; she guessed he must type more than eighty words-per-minute.

minorchord: Not that your typing is particularly slow. And I could finally see the genius behind the

font. :-)

Christine continued to wait. The lack of response began to feel awkwardly purposeful, as though she could feel his disapproval through the screen.

minorchord: I just thought it would be nice to exchange music that way. Maybe we could even

play music for each other.

minorchord: Angel? You there?

After a few moments, she saw that he was typing again.

AngelofMusic: You already bought a webcam? And you want me to do the same. I thought

youíd be different from all the camwhores. I didnít think that kind of thing would

matter to you. I guess I was wrong.

minorchord: Geez...I thought it was a good idea. Sorry I ever said anything. I just thought itíd...

AngelofMusic has logged off.

She was taken aback by the ferocity of his response and his sudden disappearance. Suspicion and curiosity rose in her mind. Why was this normally calm, intelligent man suddenly freaking out over the suggestion they use webcams? She looked at her new microphone and cam sitting, unused, on her computer desktop. She was telling the truth when she said being a barista did not pay well; this purchase represented several nightsí tips that she could have used in more practical ways.

Christineís eyes wandered back to the chat window. The nice thing about instant messaging was that messages posted to a person who logged out would still be delivered. She would explain her motivations and then leave him alone. If he accepted her explanation and messaged her, wonderful. If not, sheíd have to chalk this up to experience and move on.

minorchord: I donít know what made you so angry. Itís not like you have to buy a webcam if you

donít want to. Iíd just like to hear you, and Iíd like for you to hear me. Thatís what

you always say, isnít it? That the true art lies in live performance? And I donít see

why you should get so upset that I ask to hear you, unless you lied to me. Unless you

canít really perform. But itís up to you. Iím still here.

She pressed the ENTER button and watched her words appear in the window. Sheíd left the ball entirely in his court; it was up to him to respond and repair their friendship. She hoped he would do exactly that. He probably had had a bad experience with some woman in the past who had insisted on webcams. She was willing to chalk his strange behavior up to past relationship trauma; goodness knew she had enough of that herself.

Reluctantly, she turned off the monitor and stumbled down the hall to take her shower. It was a short hallway, which was fortunate because she suddenly was aware of exactly how much sleep sheíd been missing. If he never messages back, she thought, Iíll at least start getting enough sleep again. As the hot water cascaded over her neck and shoulders, she realized that she had become very tense. An internet friendship wasnít worth this angst, was it? There was something about him, though; something that tugged at the back of her mind, making her want him to write back.


A Phantom of the Opera Story
by Soignante

Part 2 of 64

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