Girls that got away – The Texan
I thought it might be good to provide a bit of backstory. So here are some girls that got away. The first of which, was the Texan.
Back in the mists of time, the Internet was a strange new thing, not a part of everyone’s life. Most people couldn’t get on the Internet, you had to go to special places for that called ‘schools’ or ‘cybercafes’. This was about 1994/1995 I think.
Thanks to lottery funding a cyber cafe opened up a town near where I grew up. It had lofty goals of allowing rural types to access the Internet at a reasonable price.
Only a few days after it had opened I went to down to see what it was like. The whole place still smelt of fresh paint and hope. I used up some of my pocket money to have a go on the Internets for the first time!
It was weird, I didn’t really know what to do. So I went on Yahoo, read some news items and then was at a loss.
There was an icon on the desktop for ‘chat rooms’ I clicked on it and fired up an IRC client (Internet Relay chat I think it stands for). I had to select a server to connect to, so I picked one at random and a list of ‘rooms’ appeared. I chose one called ‘Happyland’ because it wasn’t too full and wasn’t too empty. It had about twelve people in it.
I typed in something stupid like ‘Hello the Internets’.
One of the people replied, she was named after a fruit, I won’t name it because I think she still uses that name in some places. We talked for a bit. It was an entirely new experience. She said she was in Texas and I asked her about moon pie and if she had shot anyone today.
It was fun, so the next day I went back, and we talked some more about random things. She made me laugh and the cultural differences were just enough to provide interest but without losing anything in translation.
I got a job at the cybercafe, so I could talk to her most days while explaining what a computer was to people who didn’t like technology. I have no idea how many hours were spent writing her silly messages but a lot.
When it was possible to get an internet connection in your home used that to talk to her, and caused some pretty impressive phone bills. We even spoke on the phone a couple of times at great cost.
Time passed, and we stayed in touch. I went to university and we drifted apart a little. I was caught up in my studies and a string of interestingly bizarre women (a story for another time).
In my third year there was a mess-up with my loan. So I had to survive for six months on almost no money. I did okay because I could cook, so I set up a sort of restaurant in halls and charged stoned people to eat fresh bread.
After Christmas my funding did appear and suddenly I had a large chunk of cash that I didn’t really need.
So, while a bit tipsy and talking to the Texan, I booked tickets to fly out to Dallas to meet her for a long weekend.
We had never met, and she had a boyfriend but I was going to sleep on her couch. This caused a few days of frantic packing and various people covering for me in lessons. 4000 miles is a long way to travel for what could be a failed romantic gesture.
The flight was weird, I arrived stupidly early and it was bone shakingly cold in Scotland. I was so excited I didn’t sleep a wink. When I landed Immigration caused some issues – I didn’t have my return ticket on me and I didn’t know the exact address of where I was staying. Eventually I got through.
The Texan was there waiting for me with a mega-watt smile and a hint of a giggle. She was tiny, but amazingly fit with soft brown hair and brown eyes. She moved like a little bird, almost vibrating with energy.
I couldn’t really believe I was actually meeting her after, well about six years of chatting. It seemed like a dream, not just because it was furiously hot outside and I’d had almost no sleep.
We went to a bar in Dallas with a huge group of her friends. The bar was loud and girls were dancing on tables while men slammed tequilla down their throats. .
After the bar there was a house party, I ended up squeezed into the back of a bright red mustang with what seemed like a dozen giggly blondes with big hair, as we charged through the muggy night. It was so warm it was like soup.
The house party was wild. A lady showed me her new fake breasts while her husband beamed on with pride. Another girl had her clothes stolen but didn’t seem to mind. I drank vodka and told people ‘actually no, I didn’t know the Queen.’
At some point jetlag got the best of me and I fell asleep on the sofa, as did everyone else. I woke-up in a mass of bodies with the Texan wrapped around me. Her boyfriend had apparently stormed off hours ago.
The next few days were spent on a whistle-stop tour of Texas with the Texan at my side. It was lovely, but far too brief.
There was a huge party on the final night I was there, and while slightly drunk, and when no-one was looking she kissed me. It was as shocking as it was magical and it only happened once.
Sadly I had to leave, and I boarded my flight home. The Texan saw me off and I returned to reality with a thump.
We talked furiously and a few months passed. The Texan had broken things off with her chap.
She called me a few weeks before her birthday and said the present that she would really like would be for me to be there. I said I couldn’t afford to fly out again. She said that was fine and said she would get me the ticket. I was shocked, and after probably not quite enough resisting said yes.
This time I flew out for a couple of weeks. She took me to her parents house and I met her family, and extended family. Some of them required a translator to understand me. We went shopping for cowboy hats and I even attended a rodeo.
About a week into the stay, in her old room in her parents house we made love for the first time.
The remaining days flew by, I saw lakes and huge cows and met even more of the Texan’s extended family. We didn’t talk to much about the future, because there didn’t seem like there was one.
I did spend a bit of time looking at jobs, but the reality of it wasn’t good. Pesky Green Cards. I think now I might have pushed a bit harder to relocate Texas but at the time I was so young and didn’t really know myself, or what I wanted to do
With great sadness I boarded the flight home and returned back to the UK. We spoke even more, and I started sleeping strange hours so I was in sync with her day. It wasn’t healthy.
A few months later she flew over to visit. She met my mother and taught my brother how to cook Tex-Mex food. We sat in the hammock in the gardens and watched as the geese chased butterflies. I stopped thinking about the future and was happy in the moment. I even more sad to see her go.
I saw her one more time after that, on a lay-over flight as she was on her way to Eastern Europe. It was only for a few hours but I arranged a weekend in London so we could say hello.
In one of the waiting areas of Gatwick we had our last moments together. I’d opened a bottle of pretty awful wine using a set of keys and we swigged it and talked about what could have been. The wine was terrible and the chiar was plastic and uncomfortable but it was right for the moment.
Eventually she boarded her flight and I never saw her again. We stopped really talking online too.
Years later she contacted me via Facebook. She is married now, with a kid and seems really happy. I’m so glad for her.
What we had was doomed from the start, but that doesn’t make it any less special, and there is something amazing about falling for the first person you ever talked to on The Internet.
- If in doubt, fly out – it’s always an adventure
- Meeting strange people off the Internet is always good, so do it.
- I have a weakness for American women.
- Just because you want something, it doesn’t mean it will happen, or that it should.
- Some posts deserve 1500 words.