I have a friend in Pittsburgh who's been a friend for many years now. We've never met face to face, but spent a LOT of time in a long-defunct chat room back in the early days of the internet, WBS (Web Broadcasting System). For a good long while, a group of us met in a chat room on Wednesday evenings to play trivia games.
I'd wandered into the Wednesday Night Trivia room on a whim. I was brand new to WBS and still trying to find a chat room that had people my own age (adults, in other words) who talked in whole words instead of abbreviations (other than the usual "LOL" or "ROTFL") and weren't trying to find someone to talk dirty to on the internet. Okay, to be fair I'm sure a little of that probably went on in the "private chat" section, but hey.....live and let live as long as they're not talking dirty in front of everyone, right?
And so I became a Wednesday night regular. The people who frequented the chat room were witty folks who enjoyed gathering to pursue a bit of trivia and talking about what was going on in our fairly uneventful lives.
WBS eventually went into cyberspace oblivion, and we trivia-lovin' folks drifted off into other interests online. A few of us stayed in loose contact by e-mail and such, but didn't stay as close as we were when we met weekly in WBS.
Sunday I received the dreadful news that the 29-year-old son of one of my old internet friends had been accidentally shot and killed. He was by all accounts a wonderful man, a loving husband and father of a beautiful two-year-old daughter. Adding to the tragedy is the fact that his wife is expecting their second child in a few short months.
Even though my friend and I have never met face-to-face, I ache for her. Such a senseless tragedy.