The preciousness of an unsupervised computer with internet bound us, like vestals around their sacred hearth. In groups, boys would take over and start downloading porn. Dial-up’s drag took time, froze screens. It gave us what now feels like the anxious illusion of missed moments. Everything was pixilated, unclear; buffering, unhurried.

In between we watched MTV for Nookie and I’m a Slave 4 U. We knew what times FM station 89x played the Beastie Boys. We painted nails with whiteout, huffed sharpies, and passed tiny folded notes underhand. I was secretive; incessantly horny, praying, and dizzy.

It wasn’t until I experienced broadband that I wondered: why aren’t things moving faster?! Before that, it wasn’t so much impatiently waiting, but anticipation. Like that Miles Davis quote about how “music is the space between notes.” It was what happened during delayed downloads, or once we turned on our away messages.

My first assertion of self was in this ineffable shade of green, in an away message. I was 12. Conor broke up with me on AIM, he said I was “a prude”! I looked it up in a paperback dictionary, cracked the binding. Like tree rings, the binding’s wrinkle marked the moment. I felt sick. Then, in a new colored confidence, I wrote:

*~I aM nOt A pRuDe!!!!!!!!!~*

Lisa John Rogers is a writer in the Midwest. Her first screen name was @princessgirl247.