Yes, it’s August 8 in Malaysia already, which means my dear friend Dawn is celebrating her birthday. I suppose it wouldn’t be proper to put her age here ;D
Dawn and I have known each other since fall/winter of 1999. Actually, the first time I learned of her existence was, I believe, when I visited Sean for the first time in the summer of 1999. I’m actually having a little trouble putting the facts together, but I know that my first encounter with Dawn occurred while Sean and I had our computers over at the Mental Soup offices. We were there after hours hanging out online, and a message popped up on Sean’s ICQ for “Ryu-chan”. Somehow, I also discovered that Dawn had sent him a Christmas card. (He must have still had it on his desk with the rest of his mail. In the middle of summer. I don’t know ;P)
“How did she get your address?” I asked, as this was back in the ‘jealous girlfriend’ stage of our relationship.
“I gave it to her,” Sean said without explanation or apology. (My husband is cool.)
Since I had no real response to this–even jealous-girlfriend-me knew that throwing a hissy fit would be stupid and immature–I dropped the issue. I went back to reading the AMRN to see if I could find her posts or any idea about her (at the time I was not a member, but I had started reading the boards because Sean spent so much time writing there. If I use another parenthetical I may kill myself).
I never did find anything to fuel my jealousy, and I forgot about the whole thing shortly thereafter.
Months later, I decided to join the AMRN with my new character idea, Julien Straub. Shade (who I had also met in person on that trip) and I conspired together to come up with the idea. Basically, Julien would be closeted gay, and he would realize the truth about himself by falling in love with Ryu Connor, Sean’s character. It was going to be a hoot, or so we thought.
So I started roleplaying with Julien, and I discovered that I was really, really liking it.
During the transfer story in which Julien and a crowd of others were shuffling into various squadrons on the Etrakis, I–or rather, Julien’s player–met Dawn–or rather, Dawn and her alter-ego Hellspawn. Oh, boy, this is more convoluted than I thought.
Julien and Iliana’s players, which were of course me and Dawn, began conversing through email. The messages were really interesting and “we” got to know each other quite well. Meanwhile, on ICQ, “Hellspawn”, who played on the AMRN, joined “Julien’s” contact list. Julien and Hellspawn talked for a bit about videogames and RPGs, but ultimately didn’t have much to say to each other. (I was having trouble pretending to be a man. I really had no interest in videogames and RPGs, and I didn’t know what else to talk about.)
Finally, Hellspawn decided that “he” could no longer lie to “his” good friend Julien, and spilled the beans in an email from Iliana, letting me know that they were one and the same person.
After receiving the email, I was sort of shocked, and I wasn’t sure what to think. When I saw Hellspawn on ICQ later, I sucked it up: “You play a pretty good woman, Hellspawn!”
Then Dawn responded with the killer: “That’s because I am one, dearie ^_~”
I about fell out of my chair. But I could hardly fault her, since I was doing the same thing.
I wanted to paste the log of that conversation here, but I seem to have lost all of my Julien chats :P I have checked all my backup CDs and DVDs and I guess I just never thought to copy over Julien’s ICQ stuff. I’m amazed that I didn’t save the chats as text files though. What was I thinking?
In any case, I didn’t tell her who I was for awhile. I actually began living a double life, because as my chat logs with Sean attest, I met Dawn as Heather on January 21, 2000.
Me (9:02:38 PM): Hellspawn, huh?
Sean (9:02:59 PM): Yeah, approve her.
Me (9:03:02 PM): I did.
Me (9:04:02 PM): That’s the same person you were talking to that one time, right?
Sean (9:08:35 PM): Right.
I believe I’m slyly referring to “that girl who called you Ryu-chan?” without actually saying it. I was such a dork at the beginning of our relationship. ;>
Anyway, I don’t have any logs from Dawn until February 4, 2000. By that time we seemed to know each other’s secrets. This excerpt is interesting:
ICQ History Log For:
64474335 Witch Child
Started on Wed Sep 27 15:56:59 2000
COSLeia 2/15/00 2:31 PM This is weird.
Witch 2/15/00 2:43 PM I agree… ^_^
COSLeia 2/15/00 2:43 PM Back as me. And sure, I’ll talk to Boomer
Witch 2/15/00 2:44 PM ^_^
hold on a moment while I set it up?
COSLeia 2/17/00 4:01 PM :)
Witch 2/17/00 4:02 PM hehe… just noticed?
is Dave online btw? he hasn’t authorized me
COSLeia 2/17/00 4:07 PM I’m not on as Julien so I can’t tell hold on
As you can see, after Dawn found out I was Julien, I still kept up the charade for quite a long time. I even had a few conversations with Sean as Julien, on AIM. O, the deception! These, of course, I managed to save. Just for kicks, here’s an example:
Hellfire00 (11:49:49 PM): Hmm, just Tuesday, was hoping for a new Penny-Arcade.
JulienStraub (11:49:52 PM): Oops. I have to go.
JulienStraub (11:49:59 PM): Penny-Arcade!
JulienStraub (11:50:06 PM): My gaming friends told me about that.
JulienStraub (11:50:08 PM): I never miss it now.
Sean (11:50:14 PM): It rulez.
JulienStraub (11:50:20 PM): 3r33t
Sean (11:50:28 PM): LOL, you know l33t speak!
JulienStraub (11:50:44 PM): I’m on AOL. What do you expect?
Sean (11:50:45 PM): OMG! I thought I was all alone!
Sean (11:50:46 PM): Roxor!
Sean (11:50:49 PM): Heh.
Sean (11:51:19 PM): Alright, take care man, I will chat at you tomorrow I am sure.
“My gaming friends”…peh.
And just for good measure…
JulienStraub (11:14:44 PM): Hello. ^_^
Sean (11:14:50 PM): Hello. ^_^
Hm. Well. This turned into more of a ramble about Julien than a discussion of my relationship with Dawn ^^;;;; I guess it would be easier to chronicle my friendship with her if I hadn’t seemingly lost all the old chats and emails. :( I don’t know why I didn’t save them. I’ve been saving things like that since 1996. Oh well. I must have lost it all in a format and forgotten to back up beforehand.
Well, I guess I can break the suspense and let the reader know how Dawn found out that I was Julien.
I was having trouble keeping the identities separate after I started talking to Dawn as myself, especially considering how close I had gotten to her as Julien. One day I was telling her about my struggle with cancer, and Dawn paused and then said, “This sounds familiar…”
I froze. I had told Dawn about having cancer as Julien, in email, and completely forgotten! I didn’t want to lie to her (I seem to have no problems with deception as long as I don’t have to actually lie straight out), and so after a moment of consternation, I finally said, “You probably remember it from Julien telling you about it. And I’m Julien.”
I’m sure Dawn almost fell out of her chair…and thus our true and open friendship began :>
Since Dawn and I really started to know each other, our friendship has really deepened and blossomed. I’ve never met her in person, but I can say without a doubt that she is the closest female friend I have. I wanted her to be the maid of honor at my wedding, but unfortunately she couldn’t make it. I told her that she was my maid of honor whether she was there or not, though :)
Since we became friends, I’ve watched Dawn go through some hard times, especially in her relationships. I wish I knew the right thing to do or say to help her find the man for her, but I guess it will just come in time. She seems to attract people who don’t appreciate her…and sadly enough she tends to cling to those people. I guess some of that is natural…women like the ‘strong, silent type’ and would actually rather be dismissed outright by a guy than coddled and pampered by one. But when it goes to the extreme, it’s just hurtful and sad. There needs to be a good balance…two people who know they love each other but who don’t lose their identities and opinions in the process. It’s hard to do, and a lot of it is purely left up to chance. (Who knew I would meet my perfect match in a Robotech chat room?)
I want Dawn to be happy. One of my goals in life once I’m rich ;) is to sponsor Dawn to come to the US. I know she wants to come here and meet everyone. I don’t know that she would necessarily want to stay, and I wouldn’t force her to do anything, but I would love to have her close, so we could hang out in person. It would just be great :>
I sometimes wonder how we would get along in person. She likes to go to clubs and stuff, and she’s a smoker. I imagine she drinks, too, but I’m not sure. Compared to Dawn, I’m pretty boring ^^;; I wonder if she would have fun with me, or if she would need more excitement in her life.
Maybe someday I’ll find out!