gu: how do you know your fish are both male?

gi: don’t know, the guy who sold them to me said so
the smaller catfish is doing a lot of techno dance moves lately

gu: hm... you know why?

gi: maybe it got sick or some sort of virus, and it needs treatment

gu: or it’s just that he wants to be in a bigger tank?
he might be feeling there isn’t enough room to swim around
but how’s the other one, the big one?

gi: the big guy likes to stay inside the coconut cave

gu: oh, still?
maybe the small one is feeling lonely?
i mean he needs someone to hang out with

gi: how is an outsider suppose to know that those two are not hanging out already?

gu: i didn’t mean to offend
it’s just my speculation, sorry
but i do think what one does affects the other’s feelings

gi: you overthink
i am not offended but you have definitely put a personal spin on things

gu: well...
i had been trying to reach a friend for a while, and finally i was able to see him last night

gi: was it Satsat?
i’ve been sending emails and messages on facebook
but nothing

gu: oh, you know him?
i forgot about that
it was him

gi: yes, i know him
i cooked with him before
so how is he?

gu: not so good
he told me that he stopped going online

gi: what do you mean?
what’s the context?
so you saw him in person and this is what he told you?

gu: i should explain in order, shouldn’t i?
yes, that’s what he told me
also he told me why...
basically he got heartbroken
a girl dumped him

gi: no

gu: well, he met her online
you remember his part time job at the library doing the online chat inquiry thing?
she was a patron

gi: how did he know this person is a woman?

gu: i don’t know
he just said he liked the way she 'sounded' as in the way she talked on the chat
afterwards, he googled the username, and it appeared on a few blogs
eventually, he found her photo blog itself

gi: :o

gu: he left comments on her blog and i guess that’s how they started and got really close online; pictures, messages, links, he was online all the time

gi: i am not understanding the situation entirely
they spoke once, he developed a crush on her and cyberstalked her
somehow now he is hurt and not online anymore?
such a casual encounter could not be anything more than a phantom
also, how does someone decide that he or she likes someone through a few words?

gu: i guess, how one talks sort of represents who he or she is, doesn’t it?
understandable for me, even if such a casual encounter is a phantom in itself
after a while, she stopped answering him
even his comments were deleted

gi: devastating

gu: hey, i need to go to toilet
will be back soon


gi: so he’s not online anymore, correct?
do you think online is a special place?
perhaps we think being online is a special place because of our attachment to it
whereas he is no longer online; his detachment and absence is conversely but equally special, wouldn’t you agree?

gu: i guess it’s like the places people don’t want to go back after bad memories
no matter it’s physical or virtual
i remember i felt weird when i rewatched the films i had seen with my ex-girlfriend after we separated...

gi: just a way of retreating or rather deserting

gu: i think keeping some distance from the past is inevitable

gi: do you think he had ever met her offline?

gu: i don’t think he had, although he told me about her as if he had been meeting her

gi: he had been meeting her

gu: i guess in this case it doesn’t really matter
what matters is to forget

gi: this is what he said?

gu: yes

gi: it’s funny
you know he loses the internet but the internet won’t lose him
it will still be able to keep track of his paintings, the shows he is in, his whereabouts and whenabouts
do you think you can invite him to my house for dinner
you are welcome too
i am making new soup recipes

gu: i can try but he might not... when i was heartbroken it felt like i was walking blindfolded and i lived that way
i suppose i knew other people would look out for me
at this moment, he probably doesn’t want his friends and families’ perspectives

gi: i wonder how he would feel closer to people when he was online
for example with his brother
he showed me a conversation between him and his brother and said they communicated more than he used to when he was home
quitting the internet is like excommunicating himself from memories and friends and families, that came before the memories of the girl

gu: i’m worried about that too
he would get too disconnected from things and people belong to him

gi: no, it’s not that
it’s that his decision seems really drastic to most of us, his friends and family
we have no memory of him and this person but we will have memories of him disassociating himself
i think we will feel some sort of distastefulness on his part, a bad reflection for him too

gi: anyway, i just want to see him in his body
i can at least feed him something
maybe then he will die a little slower

gu: i’ll try, but have a little hope

Cucumber Soup

by Kitsum Cheng & Yuki Kishino