We'll see how draining this story gets as I go, so I'll just split it up into 3 parts for the sake of the community.
  1. I met my ex-wife on Myspace, of all things, in 2006.
    I was reeling from something you can't actually call a breakup, but from being what could be termed "The Other Man Loses Grip On His Somewhat Illicit Relationship." Friends tried to convince me to join Myspace to meet people, reconnect with the three friends that had escaped my hometown. I resisted for months, but finally was destroyed enough emotionally to give it a go.
  2. While making a profile and listing hundreds of bands I was into, I noticed that you could click on each name and it would show you the number of users who also liked them.
  3. I clicked on the predictable bands - The Beatles, Radiohead, things like that. Then I decided to try out the more obscure bands, clicking on Manchester favorites Elbow.
  4. The number was much lower than the others I had been searching, and because of this, I took a quick scroll through the list of profiles.
  5. I found this one, named Victoria, and with this exact image as her profile picture.
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  6. I've always loved the name Victoria, solely because the only other one I had known in school was nice to me.
    That Victoria was an in-betweener who inexplicably became super popular AFTER getting pregnant. She didn't even get the big tits until her next kid, well after graduation and just as she found religion, so it wasn't that. I always knew she was great, but what about her pregnancy in particular had changed her so dramatically in the eyes of the cool kids?
  7. I browsed through this Victoria's profile, and the auto-play song was Elbow's "Forget Myself." New-ish at the time, it was not their strongest single (or album, for that matter, though they've never made less than a 3.7-star album), but this, coupled with her name and that lone picture, were enough for me.
    But living in Pennsylvania while she was in Los Angeles, working in the film industry, would be a roadblock in our non-relationship.
  8. Instead, I put her in a list of favorites I jokingly named "Ted Bundy '06"
    This was my first experience with even light cyberstalking, so I thought I should comment on the inherent creepiness, if only privately.
  9. A month passes.
  10. I open my favorites folder again, and there's Victoria.
  11. I had forgotten why I had favorited her in the first place by this time, as her profile picture and song were both different now.
  12. Seeing that her full name was listed, and that she worked in the industry, I realized I could look her up on the IMDB.
    I figured that if I saw something I recognized, that would give me a good excuse to write to her.
  13. The first industry job she ever had was on a Playboy Playmate Of The Year Video Calendar.
  14. I knew exactly what to write.
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    This is the actual cold-call email (obviously).
  15. Just a few hours later, I had gotten a response. Thankfully, she had gotten the joke. It did not hurt that she had become obsessed with the (ludicrous) movie The Lake House recently and was therefore much more open to letters from strangers.
  16. The two of us wrote back and forth every day, from late July onward, graduating to phone calls shortly after.
    As she had promised, she sounded just like Janeane Garofalo.
  17. While she worked, we would IM and I would send her songs.
    A lot of songs, believe me. Starting with Brendan Benson's "What I'm Looking For" and covering all the bases to give her an insight into what I was into. She got a guy on the set of this ABC Family Christmas movie to give her a bootleg of Rolling Stones outtakes that she then shared with me, an endearing effort which was appreciated despite a lack of ID3 tags.
  18. Knowing how unlikely it was to ever meet, we continued our 84 Charing Cross Road existence, making jokes about finally meeting when we were quite old, both of us having to have our iron lungs wheeled romantically through a field of lilies.
    The plan was that we would both be wearing T-shirts that read "I'm Old Now" and that would be how we (or our handlers) would recognize each other at our advanced age.
  19. We made little dates in her off hours, watching movies over the phone.
    I took the fax machine from my work because it had a comically long cord and a receiver that was much easier to hold than the cordless. I could sit and talk to her for hours on the couch while we watched some romantic comedy or another.
  20. She sent me my first cell phone.
    Like the Myspace thing, I had been adamant about not ever wanting a cell phone. Resigned to living in my hometown forever, I thought there was no need. Everyone knew where they could find me. She FedEx'd me her old phone when she upgraded, and while I was reluctantly learning how to text, I found all her outgoing texts, including hundreds about me to her friends. "What if I meet him and he's hideous?" was the one I remember.
  21. We made another date - for August 26, 2006 - to watch High Fidelity together over the phone.
    I sent her another song, "Girl" by Beck, seeing that the next one in the queue was a good one - "I Summon You" by Spoon.
  22. I was closing out that night at my mall video store job (Mr. Manager here), and there's a rapping on the closed front gate.
  23. It was her. The real Victoria.
    She said, "Excuse me, do you have a copy of The Lake House?" We didn't. It wouldn't be out for weeks. I had a fistful of cash in my hand when I said, shocked, "I'm workin'!" Later she claimed that I said this in such a mean tone that she considered driving back to the airport and going all the way home. A friend talked her down while I had a panic attack in the backroom with another employee.
  24. That night, we watched High Fidelity, as promised.
    The Life Aquatic was on TV after, and we watched all of it on mute while we talked. I stared at her face. She asked what was wrong. I told her that I was having trouble concentrating because I felt like I should be asking for her autograph. I hadn't ever met someone I'd only ever seen in pictures before.
  25. Just before the first time I held her face and kissed her, I overheard Victoria talking to her mother. She asked how it was going, from 1-10. Victoria answered, "Seven...hundred."
    I would never forget this.
  26. She stayed a week. Not even at a hotel. With me.
    Awfully presumptuous, right? This was an apartment I had only gotten in the first place because of an ultimatum given to me by the woman with whom I was having the illicit "affair." I hadn't seen her in months and months, but she always had a way of...appearing. Somehow, this whole week, the woman never drove by or knocked on my door, not even once.
  27. On her last night in town, we talked about the future.
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    When we both said we had always wanted to have a son named Sam, I swear to God, all the shooting stars...
  28. Her return flight to California - and onto her next project, a game show produced by Marc Price, Skippy from Family Ties - was early in the morning, so she would have to leave at 4 in the morning.
    I feigned sleep and we kissed goodbye three or four hundred last times.
  29. I waited for her to get in her rented Mustang and pull away, then shot out of bed. Obviously I was going to see her off at the airport. I knew she would love it, a woman with her head in the movies as I thought hers was.
    It was such a glorious cliché, The Stills' "Yesterday Never Tomorrows" propelling me over the Fort Pitt Bridge and to the airport in record time. I thought I had beat her there, in fact.
  30. Security measures in the post-9/11 era prevented me from doing a full-on sprint to her gate, so I very unromantically called her to get her to meet me at the newsstand.
    I looked like absolute shit, I might add, having had no sleep whatsoever and running from the parking lot into the airport. But she didn't mind. There was kissing.
  31. Right then and there, I decided to move to California.
    I had known her for five weeks, one of them in real life.