Just shy of two decades ago, I met a young man named Aaron. He was a little older than me I think, and we had a mutual friend who introduced us at, of all places, a cat show. He lived out of town, but this was the beginning of AOL Instant Messager, so we swapped screennames and started talking.
Even though he and our mutual friend had a falling out, we stayed in contact. We chatted on AIM for years, all through middle school, high school, and even into college. We got each other through school disappointments, dying family members, breakups, and all sorts of other tribulations of our youth. He had his own nickname for me… “Lady Rose” after my old screenname “Flamantrose.” I loved him dearly. Not in a romantic or pining way… but he was always someone I could count on. The safe place to go for advice and a shoulder to cry on when I needed someone objective and kind.
But when the territory of AIM was overtaken by Facebook and LiveJournal, we gradually lost touch. He moved… I moved… I rarely visited the same online haunts that I used to. And so we lost touch. But… I kept something.
See… this recording of “Melodies of Life” from FFIX was something he made for me. He was a self-taught pianist, and one day, when I was having a very bad go of it (probably boy problems… this was early high school after all…) he recorded this piece and sent it to me.
I’m sure it was just a small gesture to him… but I’ve had it in my iTunes ever since. I’ve treasured it… it’s been a comfort to me in a lot of dark times. Not just when he sent it to me. In 2004, I went through a bout of depression so bad that I couldn’t stand to listen to any music… except for that. I’m sure I drove my roommates crazy, but I firmly believe it’s how I kept my head above water and eventually found my way back out of the woods.
I thought I’d lost the recording in a hard-drive failure… my last memory of my friend. But my husband found it in an old archive! So… here. You should hear it if you want to listen.
And Hypno? Aaron? If you’re out there… hi. I’m sorry we lost touch. I know it’s been a very long time, but I’d love to hear from you.
Omg remember AIM profiles where everyone said shit like, “my frnds r the best lol u know who u r omg insiders lol txt it~~!” And there would always be that one friend with the passive aggressive away message up, and then before you know it there’d be an away message battle happening between two people and you’re just watching like, “omg dr4ma is so overrated i’ll make my away message about how we should all just ~get alongg~ im 2 mature 4 these children”