The thought of it made him seethe as he sipped his beer and turned on the radio on his desk. All thought of trolling porn sites slipped from his mind and he completely forgot the perfect search he had come up with. He was already sitting before his computer so he opened it up and it automatically flickered to life as he questioned how he could have let one evening of simple pleasure burrow so deeply into his head. Simultaneously he was also feeling resentment for Monica for not allowing it to get to her. Whether resentment or self-loathing ran deeper he couldn’t be sure.
Bryson logged into his computer and pulled up the Google Chrome internet browser as Bush’s “Machinehead” album played on the radio. As always his first move was to pull up his Facebook account. If ever someone felt that self-loathing was closing in on them, Bryson thought, they just need to open Facebook to realize that there’s always someone worse off in that department. He might have felt pathetic at this particular moment but Facebook was filled with sadsacks in need of therapists. He was hoping to see a status or two from some of his old classmates that would make him feel a little better.
As a general rule he didn’t want to have anything to do with his high school peers, but he loved to add them to his Facebook friend’s list merely for a distraction and for stalking purposes. On Facebook everyone was on the same level, so he could say he was good friends with Marissa the head cheerleader in high school, even if they had never talked in high school; not that she was anything to look at these days. It was the nerdy girls and tomboys who blossomed from ugly ducklings to sexy swans and those were the girls he had actually been friends with back in the day. Of course, he didn’t evolve as they did so while they may remain friends on Facebook in real life they merely acquaintances.
Those weren’t the people he was looking for today though. James who had been the captain of the football team back in high school went on to develop a beer gut, grow a mullet, and now changed oil at an Exxon station in their hometown. The other day he and his estranged wife had a massive public row online after she found out that he had slept with a prostitute at his friend Pete’s bachelor party. Through this so-graphic-you-can’t-stop-reading exchange his wife found out that he had been sleeping around since the night that they had gotten married, which she found out after one of the bridesmaids from the wedding chimed in explaining where he had disappeared to for an hour during their reception. They had been married for five years, now she had taken their two children, ages 2 and 3, to her parents’ place.
These were the stories he was looking for tonight, but try as he might there was nothing more than images of sappy sayings like “Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we should dance,” pictures of children being childish, and mildly witty philosophies.
Bored, Bryson realized his beer was empty and walked to the kitchenette to grab another one. As he opened the fridge door he could have sworn that he heard moaning coming from Monica’s room and considered putting an ear to her door to find out if he was right but decided against it. He figured that he’d rather think that he imagined it than confirm that he hadn’t.
He settled back down while taking a long gulp from his beer to the tune of “21 Guns” by Green Day when he looked at his computer screen. Because he didn’t use it too often he had forgotten that Google Talk launched whenever his computer booted up, but the fact that a dialogue box had popped up in his absence quickly reminded him of that fact. It had been so long since he had used it that he had to run through his list of contact to make sure that he had never spoken to anyone by the name of Chris Thomas before.
The words, “Hey Bryson, are you there?” stared at him from his laptop screen and Bryson was dumbfounded for a moment. He was fairly certain that he didn’t know anyone by that name, but he couldn’t be 100% sure.
“Do I know you?” Bryson responded.
“Yeah, but it’s been a long time since we’ve talked,” Chris replied.
“How do we know each other?”
“We grew up together.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t recall that name,” Bryson typed even more curious than before.
“You wouldn’t recall this name it’s not what I went by when we were friends. Bryson, this is Ian.”