Bernard Page 3
brown eyes. As though looking at something completely out of his league. He looked like the kind who would invent a dorky email name and send her a secret declaration.
No. It wasn't Jack Kushner. That would be too good to be true.
     A box popped up: "You have an Instant Message. Do you want to receive it now?"
     She clicked on the Yes box.
     "TJX037X2: r u there?" appeared in the white oblong.
     Carmen stared. The two texts sat on the screen: "i luv u" in the geeky email message box and, in the smaller, pert, off-center IM box, "r u there?"
     She stared in irritation at the new message~how that illiterate nonspelling annoyed her!
     In the little oblong box designed for her reply (a cute little thing~oddly protective, she decided), Carmen typed: "Yes. I am here." Then, thinking she might as well humor

him, her, it, she changed it to "yes i m here."
     Suddenly she felt a void plunging, down, down, at her feet.
     She stared at the message. She moved the cursor back and forth over the Send button that would move the text into the box where both she and her mystery seducer could see it.
    "r u there?" and "yes i m here" and "i luv u" stared at Carmen, black on white, with, between them, bars of gray and pale blue that kept them apart, each in its own box, in limbo, in cyberspace, waiting for something to happen. She could do it~she could make something happen~or she could just sit there, or she could go offline; could run away.
     Carmen sat, clinging to her chair as to a cliff over empty space ...
     She closed her eyes as she moved the cursor back and forth over the Send button, back and forth ... Then she