2002-2007: The Shiny Prologue
2002: Firefly airs on broadcast TV.
2003: I receive Firefly: The Complete Series on DVD for Christmas.
2005: Serenity premieres; I see it in the theatre 5x.
2007: I start running a Serenity RPG campaign via forum, then flake out due to illness.
2008: A Virtual Courtship
Mid-January, I stumble upon an article about Firefly-themed builds in the virtual world of Second Life. In the wee hours of January 17th, I create an avatar (Amyla Wakowski) and begin exploring. Within a week of joining Second Life, I discover a little burg named Blackburne Downport, home to Firefly roleplaying with a strong post-apoc influence. There, in Firefly’s Bar, I meet a variety of folk, including a wry blue-skinned, winged fellow named Cholgosh Swindlehurst, who tends bar and DJs a few times a week.
Onward, through January and beyond, Cholgosh and I hang out in the Downport more evenings than not. Although a 3-hour time difference was in play, I’m night owl battling insomnia and he’s typically online mid-evening to midnight Pacific US time so we have plenty of overlap in waking hours. We develop intense mutual crushes on one another as we spend all those hours both in-character and out-of-character.
February 13th becomes our official “coupleversary” when he confesses he likes me and I confirm the sentiment is mutual. We share more personal data than we have before.
February 14th, I write:
I swear I started on this Second Life thing purely for RP. I was going to play a character, play along with some storylines, interact with other characters, have my girl maybe make out with some cute soldiers or space cowboys at some point. But that’s really not how things are going at this point, because I blurred the line and put more of my own self out there than originally planned. And that line? Oh, it’s really, really blurry now because I have formed an attachment.
There are feelings, mutual feelings. I wasn’t looking for that, I honestly was just going to be a girl in the ‘Verse and keep it all there. I would have settled for RP romance, because I fall in love through characters all the gorram time anyway. I wasn’t expecting anyone to get attached to me, but I did wind up putting a lot of myself into my girl.
Mutual crushing, definitely. We don’t know how this’ll develop. It’s all very new.
Soon after Valentine’s Day, we connect via ICQ to chat outside of Second Life. While I’d intuited previously from various clues that there’s likely an age difference between us, his ICQ profile gives me the number: 20 years older, 47 years to my almost-27. I digest this fact and proceed to fall in love anyway.
February 23rd, I write:
Whatever this is, it’s getting bigger. He’s in love, we know that much is true. I still hesitate to label my feelings. I’m kind of terrified of feeling so much. It’s fast, isn’t it? Isn’t that what everyone will say? But what is an acceptable timeframe? As is, we hesitated, we waited to declare ourselves.
There are degrees of love. I am somewhere down the line, not all the way into your classic romantic love, but at one of the waystations. I don’t know how fast I’ll get all the way there, but I think maybe I’m headed in that direction.
I don’t know what will happen, but I know what I want to happen.
March 11th, I write: “I love him so fucking much.”
March 13th, our RP characters marry at the bar in Second Life where we met.
March 14th, he calls me from the video store he manages and leaves the cutest voicemail I may ever get: “Hey, Amy, it’s Jeremy. It’s, uh, I don’t know what time it is — noon, it’s 12:15 my time. I’m watching this movie — what am I watching? — August Rush. It’s about this kid and he’s a musician and it’s amazing and my heart is about to burst, so I had to call and tell you that I love you so fucking much. And now I’m gonna get back to work. But I just had to call, I really did. ‘K, bye.”
April 1st, I write: “I’m past being overwhelmed by the fact of this love; I could be constantly awed by the miracle of breathing, but breathing just happens, all the time. And this love’s like that — it just happens, all the time.”
Nine years on, this love still happens; I fall for him, innumerable times over.