gwen carla arellano.

most likely, i met her through the internet. i could be wrong, though. a classmate of mine had found some phone number. it was called chat line or something like that. we'd call it sometimes. basically, people would call it and just talk to random locals. mostly, we'd call and pretend we were black. "how old is you?" he or i would say. we'd pretend to be pimps. "how you doin', girl? why don't you give me some of that tonight?" if a dude answered, typically, we'd hang up immediately. but sometimes, when we were really bored, he or i would say, "fuck you!" or "sup, fool?" and then hang up.

so yeah, there was that chat line. my classmate started talking to some girl named celeste. at least, that's what she told him her name was. she was our grade, and she went to st. francis, the all girls catholic school. celeste from st. francis, it had a nice ring to it. she said she was half-asian, half-mexican or some shit like that. it seemed everyone on the chat line was half-something, or else full minority. celeste and my classmate exchanged numbers, and that's how they got to talking. i don't think they ever met in real life. we looked her up in the yearbook. there was no one in the freshman class named celeste.

the odds are, we probably met on america online. she said her name was gwen, and i knew from the start that she was bullshitting me. gwen? most likely, we were in a bush chatroom because we had both seen bush at cal expo the night before. yes, that must've been it. or maybe we were in sac chat, and i typed something about how i saw bush the night before, and she must have messaged me. either way, how convenient. we both knew that gwen stefani was dating (married to?) gavin, the lead singer of bush. but she swore her name was gwen. we'd chat for hours online, and i'd feel like a real nerd. but i was fourteen and lonely, what other option was there?

i kept asking her to send me her picture, but she wouldn't. when she finally did, she sent me a picture of herself (supposedly) at five years old. she was standing on a stool in the middle of a dirty kitchen. the kid looked mexican, and there were dirty dishes and pots everywhere. poverty-stricken gwen. she asked me to send her a picture of myself. i told her no. and anyway, it was 1997. i didn't have a webcam or digital camera then.

i asked her what her last name was. "arellano," she typed. her name was gwen arellano, and i thought she was full of shit. nevertheless, i was intrigued. but more realistically, lonely. i told her my real name. i asked what school she went to. she told me sheldon. i told her i went to jesuit. i asked what she was. she said half-italian, half-mexican. she asked what i was. i said filipino. probably she told me she liked filipino guys. she flirted with me, and i flirted back. it was something i needed, something i couldn't do in real life. that made me a nerd. i knew it.

i told her several times that we should meet, but she'd be elusive about it. sometimes, i'd be chatting with her, only to find out that i had been talking to her cousin, carla, the whole time. then later, she would change the story. she told me carla was her middle name, and that i had been talking to her the whole time. it was like chatting with a schizophrenic. or maybe it's better diagnosed as multiple-personality disorder. technology was too new to tell what kind of disorder i had, spending my afternoons, evenings, and weekends typing back and forth with some mystery girl.

she didn't ever want to meet, and i didn't blame her. i'd like to think that i didn't push the idea too hard, but i could be wrong. it would've been weird for her, after all. even dangerous. i could've been a killer. i could've been a monster. we spoke on the phone every now and then. we would talk about school, talk about our friends. i had a glimpse into gwen carla arellano's world, but in actuality, i knew nothing about her. nothing at all. everything she told me could've been a total lie. but i told her everything about myself. i had made myself vulnerable, and yet, i wasn't even sure if i had her real name.

years later, she told me she had a boyfriend, and that her boyfriend knocked her up. she said she was going to have triplets. i told her she was an idiot for having gotten knocked up, but at the same time, i didn't quite believe her. triplets? i mean, come on. she sent me a picture of her pregnant self. i showed it to other people i talked to online, but who i didn't know in real life, either. "that's straight out of a magazine!" someone wrote me. it was true. the picture was all folded over, like it had been pulled out of a magazine and scanned. i was duped. but i wanted so badly to believe.

she kept changing screen names. she had finally settled on goartistubtight by the time i was a senior. "is that a reference to prince?" i asked. she said no, it was a different artist. i couldn't tell if she was being sarcastic or not. it's hard to tell those kinds of things on chat. i convinced myself that artist was some sort of inside joke, and i didn't try to figure it out anymore. i didn't try to figure her out anymore. the last time i chatted with her, she told me she had moved to beverly hills and that she was engaged.

gwen carla arellano, a piece of bad internet fiction, even possibly just a figment of my imagination. but i wanted to know her, i wanted to be someone she knew. i can't explain it. it's stupid, i know. but i needed her more than the real thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

is this her?