Cyber Tears This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Mystory begins with the innocent dream of a child, one that almost cost me my life.As far back as I can remember, I wanted only one thing: to have a real-lifeadventure as fantastic as any storybook. I spent every waking minute imaginingthe fantastic adventures I could have with my Mr. Right, and then wishingdesperately they would come true.

My need for adventure grew stronger eachyear. When I reached the hormone-raging teen years, I found a way to live out mydreams, in a sense. It was on the Internet, and was a Role Playing Game (RPG). Itresembled a message board, but people assumed the roles of characters from apopular TV show and created a story together.

I thought no harm could comefrom being an anonymous screen name and gave no second thought to joining. Afterall, I was an intelligent 13-year-old, capable of handling myself. I'd fended offmany an Internet pervert, and thought I could spot them a mile away. One slippedpast my security checks though, and by the time the sirens went off, I was toodeep in my own little world.

His writing captured my imagination. A vividromance with every cliché in the book was what I had been dreaming of, andit was not long before our characters in the RPG developed an "on-screenromance." This satisfied my appetite for adventure. It didn't matter that Iwas 13 and he was 23, because I thought my dreams were coming true. My RPG becamemy whole life; a power outage was the end of the world.

It wasn't until hestarted e-mailing me that the real danger began. An innocent friendship turnedinto a forbidden love affair over the course of a year. He was slow to set up theattack, but quick to deliver the blow. Once we had officially developed a"relationship," he pressed for more and more "vivid"information. I was eating sleeping and breathing him and the RPG.

I'dfinally found my adventure. He was the gallant prince who would rescue me from myboring life, and my parents were evil captors too narrow-minded to see true love.I lied to them, sneaked around, and did everything imaginable to keep therelationship going. The charade dragged on for two months before I began torethink my everlasting devotion to a man almost twice my age. Unfortunately, myrevelation came too late, and my parents discovered my little scandal before Icould back away from it.

I couldn't even accept my mistake gracefully; Ihad to be right. In one last desperate attempt to convince them of my feelingsfor the person who had deceived us all, I blurted out three words I will foreverregret: "I love him!" That was the final nail in my coffin. My parentsknew I had disobeyed their direct orders to stop the relationship, and now I wasgoing to get it.

That fateful day was the beginning of the longest eightmonths of my life. I was questioned by the police, background checks were run onmy "boyfriend," and I was all but placed under house arrest. I had alot of time to think, and I realized I had not really loved him. I had loved theidea of him and the adventure a great romance presented, but had lost myself sodeep in a fake world that it nearly cost me my life. Admitting my mistake andcoming to terms with reality were the hardest things I've had to do. It waspainful letting go of something that had been such a huge part of my life for solong.

Eventually I was able to move on, find friends who lived in thesame town, and get a real life, but something still felt amiss. I felt anger,depression, denial, and everything in-between. I never had real closure untiljust a few days ago when I was happily enjoying a fan fiction site. I realizedthis was how it all began: an obsession with a popular TV show led to reading fanfiction, which led to the RPG, which led to him. It would be so easy to slip backinto that world. This could not be. I do not deny my heart longed to return tothat world of fantasy, but, after much indecision, I looked at the computer, anddecided I would rather spend my life in the real world with real friends. I chosethis life and no other.

With that, I turned off the computer and left theroom. Walking away, I knew the computer would always be an everyday appliance inmy life, but it would never again be the center of my life.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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