You just sent a nudge.

MSN taught me to feel in faster-than-real time. I was young, too young to know what I felt when I felt it. The thrill of putting emotions into words without complicated things like bodies and pheromones and gender and parents and distances and real lives was euphoric. Openly craving the acknowledgement of others was not as charged—again, too young for desperation, loneliness, malaise—to see in a screen what we could not in a mirror. This was well before we knew our the need to perform an identity, to put unseen distance between us and them, us and us, even if they knew we were listening to Linkin Park or that my ex-boyfriend being alive makes me want to die. Appearing offline was flirting with attending our own funeral, watching ourselves wanting to be watched. We didn’t know that friendships calcify online like in real life. Microphones deepened our voices, webcams showed us our angles, we found each other in a chat room we were too young to be in. I broke up with my first girlfriend and fell in love with my first boy on MSN. Last message received at 2:08 AM on 9/16/2010.

#0099CC sounds like the promise of a New Message.

Vidal Wu is a writer from Toronto.