The poor image tends towards abstraction…as it accelerates, it deteriorates (Hito Steyerl). I have tried to find the image of Orlando Bloom I used as my Myspace avatar. A visual abstraction of my early-2000s internet includes a sweet, dark-eyed, butch-presenting Bloom in front of a blue-and-red striped wall. Maybe it deteriorated into nonexistence.

Before Myspace, my Sims—everyone’s Sims—fucked or kissed or at least held each other tenderly beneath the blankets of their low-res heart-headboard bed. I thought: this must be sex, blue and red, all the singular coldness of people, all of their hot unguarded vulnerability, all of it mixing & mixed.

In The Sims, I found a portal to another world, which, in its own pesky, insistent way, was always already a route back to this one. On AIM, eyes still tired from hours of directing my Sims’ desires, I’d type *poof* to the person I was IMing just before signing off. It ended chats cutely but swiftly. It was nonnegotiable; I simply removed my body from the conversation.

Maybe this sounds like you could be anyone. What I mean, really, is you could still be no one. What I mean, really, is my body was an ambient mist. Abstracted, a weak image, a non-image.

Heather Holmes is a writer who lives in Philadelphia.