Johanna, Your Face Exists

My best friend ever was made online in the late 90’s. Her name was Johanna and she was as interesting of a creature as you know me to be.

Most of my friends were made on the early days of the Internet. I was a very awkward individual back then. I’m still a very awkward individual now! But back in the day in small town country life it was very difficult for a strange glitter-encrusted individual to find the like-minded folks. So, for me it was the free AOL discs that paved the way to freedom of expression and a connection in chat rooms to people whom “got” me.

In the days of AOL Messenger, ICQ and maybe MSN Messenger I met Johanna. We spent our days and nights forever on chats talking about our lives. We talked about our family situations, our repressive towns and our hopes, every one of our dreams. We were your average young teenage friends talking about growing up confused in a very confusing world.

Johanna was unique. I was unique. While there could be chapters told of all the whims and things we investigated as we grew, it is best put that we were unique. We were loners. We were nerds.

Johanna and I grew up. I went on the path you knew me to go (or will know soon enough). Johanna went on her way as well. While she stayed very unique and was always a deep individual, she would find happiness and what we may call normalcy. Johanna had something I could not bear to have. That was the ability to finish high school, go to college and move out into the world as a person with stability. She got a great job working with computers. She loved computers. Much to my surprise she met a guy and fell in love with him. She married him. They were geeks together and seemed like the most perfect pair.

We kept in touch via Twitter and other Internet platforms as the net changed from what we knew to what we know now. She would comment here and there. I would comment a little. Sometimes, maybe once a year, we’d send a direct message. She was very happy that I became the person I was becoming and I was very happy she found happy.

Several years ago I found out that Johanna died. I don’t really grasp how it happened and her last Tweet follows me to this day. I take it was an accident and an act of depression. Everyone was left devastated. Johanna was younger than I and I can tell you now without a doubt that it is most confusingly painful to lose someone you love who hasn’t even surpassed your own age. Old people dying is expected. Young people dying is shite.

As the years go by I never forget Johanna. Much like some of my other friends that I’ll eventually tell you about I will never forget her. The special thing about Johanna is she was my first Internet friend and my original Best Friend Forever. There are tremendous amounts of things people tell each other when growing up that never get mentioned again. They are simply part of growth and you share the moments, but moments are fleeting. The other special thing about Johanna is I see her to this day in other people. The dirty blonde in some people’s long hair. The slightly angelic rounded cheeks. The super emo glasses on a tall gamer chick. The laugh. The sighs. The awkwardness.

We all live on in others. It’s part of the universe’s great cosmic stew of the repetition of greatness. Our traits shake down to dust and those molecules remain to be picked up for centuries to come. This plant. That planet. That other galaxy. Johanna and D, traits that will never be lost but will never be fully duplicated … well, that is until what has happened now will happen again. We are both big fans of Battlestar Gallactica.

The Artist D in 2001

The Artist D in 2001

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