The Emails They Downloaded

First the unemployed Jimmy Cross downloaded emails from a girl named Martha, a dropout at Mount Sebastian College in New Jersey. They were not tweets, but Jimmy Cross was hoping that he and Martha would be Facebook friends and follow each other on Twitter, so he kept Martha’s emails in his inbox and made sure they were copied to his iPhone. She did not return his emails. In the late afternoon, after a day’s laze, he would send text messages to Martha, wash his hands in the sink with unclean dishes, look at his iPhone again, tilt his iPhone so that the window would shift from portrait to landscape, and spend the last hour of light wondering if he should bother to turn on the kitchen light. He would imagine romantic trips to the cafe only three blocks away. He would sometimes hit refresh, hoping that Martha would send him an email or update her Facebook status. More than anything, he wanted Martha to friend him as he had friended her. The emails had been mostly chatty, elusive on the matter of friendship. She was “single,” he was almost sure. Facebook was communicating every personal detail on her wall. Last night, she had attended a party and uploaded drunken photos of herself. The caption was “LOL.” She was into Farmville, and she wrote clumsily about her friends and roommates and acquaintances and even her 72-year-old neighbor, who was not on Faceboook but who she had set up an account for. She often quoted other tweets by retweeting them; she never mentioned whether she ordered a tall or a grande, except to say to her friends, “Meet me at Starbucks.” The grande weighed 16 ounces. They had a crude corporate logo that displeased Jimmy Cross, but Jimmy Cross understood that BRB was only a way of signing and did not mean what he sometimes pretended it to mean. At dusk, he would wait for Martha to Be Right Back. Then he would return to his bed and watch the night and wonder again if Martha would return his emails.