Cropped Out

April, 2005

Yawn. Loud slurp of coffee. I shuffle to the living room, flop down on the couch. For twenty minutes, I stare at a wall. Then I pad over to my computer to check my email.

There it is: the weekly list of my ideal matches.

I’m on Match.com, you see. Three times a week, I receive emails alerting me to potentially ideal mates, whose pictures are displayed in a photo gallery. I look forward to these emails. They never bring results;  the men either spell fun with two n's, fixate on beaches at sunset, or their chest hair is thick enough to hide a sandwich in. Still, the emails buoy my hope that there are decent, available---and, most importantly, geographically convenient---men out there.

Eager, I click on "Your Newest Matches."

It catches my eye immediately. I feel a jolt, then zero in. It’s an all too familiar picture of my ex-boyfriend, Matt. If memory serves (and oh, how it does), the shot was taken at my grandmother's funeral. We'd been standing arm in arm. If you look closely, you can still see the shadow of my hand on Matt's shoulder.

The rest of me is cropped out.

I’m bothered by this, but not for reasons you'd expect. I don’t care that Matt is dating, or that he's exploited my grandmother's funeral for his own ends. She'd been no ray of sunshine. Plus, I'm certain the story will be a hit at parties.

No, my problem lies not with jealousy or resentment. It lies with being so violently blindsided in the (now questionable) safety of my living room. One minute I’m yawning and checking my email; the next I’m gaping at the erasure of my existence.

I've been expunged from my own computer screen, before even finishing my coffee.

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