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There are some stories which we have to understand. Where we struggle to find something that explains what went wrong and what went right because it’s required by the soul. Episodes in life that we can’t leave behind without some understanding of how our path took those turns, and how those twists reveal the road we take today.

I spent this morning contemplating one of those episodes, which happened at the end of September last year. This episode,  uniquely peculiar, was done ‘on the record’ through MSN, SMS and email, which makes it ‘revistable’.  I took the opportunity to revisit that journey today morning, when I was flicking through my SMS inbox, while waiting for some replies to messages I had sent out.

There is a sense of peculiarity about that event in the way it bled over into real life, it seems to have changed things in ways that I didn’t expect or understand. You see, when it was happening, there was a strange way in which it didn’t become ‘real’ because of the virtualized communication. When a story is ‘virtual’ rather than ‘real’, it  becomes an open question as to how and how much it will blend into the real world, where you can smell and touch people and where you can’t draft and edit your responses.

For a while it looked like the consequences weren’t going to become real, that they would be lost in the ether, in the way that these things are when stillborn, half expected to materialise, half expected to be lost to myth and legend. It looked like this particular story was not going to cross the real / virtual divide.

There were a variety of reasons. A lack of contact, a lack of time devoted to something that seemed complete, a lack of awareness of the process, a lack of understanding of how my own approach and character have changed, and how perceptions can heal with time.

Over the last few weeks it’s become real. It was unexpected, but enjoyable at the same time that it became real, to see how the stories, that seemed so disparate suddenly intertwined. I tried to reconstruct how it came about, and I can see the part that I played in it, because, at least partially, I was the one that made it real. I asked the questions, I referred to the past, I referred to the interplay that bought the past to life in the presence. I acted on the presumption that the virtual past and the real present blurred into each other, and so they did.

I’m not pretending that it was all me, or that I even had any control in the process, just that I played my part in it. No human process based on dialogue can be created or controlled by an individual.

How do I feel about the process? Well as you might gather from this post, there’s a degree of confusion. I’m not sure what is expected of me now that the virtual has become real, and I’m not sure how much I want to give. I’m not sure how much I can give without paying a price, without making an investment that may yield no profit other than pain.

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