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True Stories: The Twitter Affair
Infidelity in only 140 characters.
by Cari Wade Gervin
I met him through my coworkers. He was friends with one in particular, but they all knew him. Though I'd only been in town a few months, I was learning quickly that the city was like that — everyone knew everyone. I'd thought this city would be bigger than that; it felt almost like the small town I had just left, and I was having a hard time staying positive. But he seemed positive. And funny. I wanted to get to know him.
No long after that first conversation, I noticed that he was following me on Twitter. I followed him back. Soon his wife was also following me. "How cute," I thought to myself. "They're one of those annoying couples who have matching Twitter handles. Why can't I find someone to be that cheesy with?" I had known he was married, of course. His Twitter bio included the phrase, "husband guy." I decided to befriend them both — to become a part of this artsy, clever couple's inner circle. Maybe they'd have an artsy, clever single friend.
Over the next few weeks, I discovered via Twitter that he was that rarest of rare things — a person as much of a smartass as I. My feed quickly became a steady stream of our banter. We hated the same smug bands and the same annoying hippies playing music on the square. We loved coffee and rock and roll and Girl Scout cookies. I made fun of his love for Led Zeppelin. He joked about my love for Steely Dan. That's the thing about Twitter, at least when you're a person who tweets a lot — you can go from being complete strangers to close friends with a fellow user in a matter of weeks. Or at least, you feel that close — even if, in real life, you've hardly met.
It turned out he was in a band with a friend of mine. I went to see them play one night, shortly after tweeting about buying boxes of those same cookies. "I want some," he tweeted.
"What kind?" I replied.
I showed up with a box of Do-si-dos, having given zero thought to the fact that I was taking cookies to someone else's husband. He grinned delightedly as I handed him the sheath of peanut butter and sugar. "Thanks," he said. I smiled back and felt just the beginning of something tingle.
We ended up sitting and talking to each other most of the night, eating cookies and discussing bands. "Is your wife here?" I asked.
"No, she's at home asleep," he said bitterly. "She sleeps most of the weekend." From the look on his face, he seemed unhappy, but I didn't ask more. When I got home later, I found he had sent me a Direct Message on Twitter.
"I really enjoyed talking tonight. Thanks for hanging out," he wrote. I replied that I had fun and was off to get some sleep. He immediately replied, "Good luck with that. I'm still so wired I think I'm levitating." I knew what he meant. I felt it too. I wasn't just high on Girl Scout cookies. It was him.
He e-mailed me some music the next day, power pop from the 1970s. A day later, I sent him some music in return, Brazilian New Wave and country-soul. The day after that, he sent me an instant message. "Okay, I'm impressed," he typed. "There's a ton of stuff here that I don't have in my embarrassingly large iTunes library. You've made yourself cooler, and me far less cool, in one fell swoop."
That was at nine-thirty p.m. At two a.m., we were still talking about bands. "Let's do this again sometime," he typed.
"Maybe?" I wrote back. "You are married. And I can't help but think that you should maybe be spending time with your wife instead of discussing bands with me."
"There is that," he replied.
The next day I e-mailed him. "I don't think I'm being naive in saying there was subtext, last night. And Saturday."
"It's a crush. I'll admit it. It is what it is," he wrote back.
Thirty-four more e-mails followed — that day. "It would definitely be a bad idea to actually meet and discuss this, right?" I wrote. I had never done this before. I had never felt this before.