In the Beginning there was AOL. It was a simple interface that allowed people came from across America (at $2.99 an hour) to chat and roleplay. It was 1995.
I was a stay home mom, 41, with years of improv experience.Fate landed me in the middle of an ongoing game, The Vampire Masquareade, being played out 24/7 (or until the servers closed at night). I could log in and have human interaction and be someone else for an hour or so. I created an artist -Tink Abel - yeah she was also a vampire - but she was an ARTIST first and I created a verbally discribed gallery of work that I added as I had interactions in the AOL world of Rhydin. Ben was just 19 and was living his online experience as Nym Nadal - who brough his D&D experience to the game and at the point Tink met him was probably the most powerful player in the game. (meaning he could "kill" anyone in the game in one hit - role play with dice and stats). Ben as Nym was sent by online vampire "family" of artists sent him to kill the new artist on the scene. (me)
It would have been any other roll of the dice, except I did not role play with dice. I was really Deb, playing as Tink. I was really an artist and I was - the real me. And Ben, playing as Nym, was also really an artist and just like me - was the real person behind the persona. When the characters first sat down to "talk" in game chat - it was in the middle of a busy online "party" at my gallery (private room) "six thorn". I know - its confusing. It was like the role playing rooms today, only it was a room in a world of rooms defined by the players within the game on aol.
Nym was so FUNNY and wonderful to talk with. He was not there to find romance or sex. He was just playing the game as his character and making friends along the way. I was crazy about him from that moment on. And it seems he was crazy about me as well, because he did not "kill" Tink.
Tink and Nym could not be together in the game any more than Deb could be with Ben. In the game, we were tied to two warring families. In the real world, while unhappy, I was tied to a family with kids in California, and he was living in his parents basement in Ohio as his father was dying of cancer. But the "connection" could not be ignored. Online and in our dreams, we were soulmates. Online we fought the "families" for the right to be together online. In the real world - I flew to Ohio to see the man I was so close to online face to face.I walked off the plane, saw Ben, and KNEW we were meant to be together. I dropped my bags and kissed him.
It was Ben's first real kiss. We held hands and walked, and it was like two halves becoming one. My life and his were changed forever. The path we began walking on 11 years ago was not an easy one, but it was the right one.
Ben is my soulmate. Without him in my life, I would have lived a life with my glass half empty. With him, I wake up smiling and I go to bed smiling and I sit here typing and smiling. Cute, clever, brilliant, creative, warm, loving, gentle, surprising, generous, open, sexy.... Ben is all that and more to me.
My ex and I had separated when 20 year old Ben came to California for what was to be a week's "visit." My kids (then 6 and 9) walked into the kitchen and took their first look at Ben. Their reaction was amazing. Both say it was "love at first site." But it was my 6 year old son who put it to words," you are supposed to be with us forever. don't leave." Ben stayed. And every day when I open my eyes and look into his, its always and forever, love at first site.