started last summer and lasted about nine months.

I lived for it. I would lie there in my bed every morning thinking about the e-mail message that waited for me at work. Did he get my message? Would there be one? I couldn't wait to turn on my computer and check.

Every weekday I had an e-mail from him. The little message was waiting for me...calling me... It made the trip through the snow, 10 degree weather, crowded subway and finally elevator ride to the 28th floor all seem worth it. I would have a message! God, I was so eager. I suppose thank God, he was too. Quickly it became unthinkable to skip a day without sending one. To have no communication was unbearable. E-mailing became compulsive. But who could blame us? We were fragile and relied on this technology to keep our relationship going.

The times when I opened my e-mail and did not find anything, because of slow lines and heavy internet traffic, were ridiculous.

I would check my mail every three minutes, as often as the network was updated.

Where is it? What's taking so long? Did something happen to him? I would panic every time,

and then, finally, it would come.

The weekends were always tough, because it meant that the computer lab was closed and he couldn't send a message. What was I supposed to do? Not communicate? Sometimes I would go into work on the weekends just to send messages to him -- to make myself feel like I had someone to talk to and something to hold on to. I cherished him, and everyday I translated my affection into a language that was sent through fiber optic wires somewhere across the Atlantic, south to Africa and through a server in Zimbabwe.

My God, what kind of relationship was this? What was I doing? This wasn't what I thought I'd be doing in New York City.

My love life's lifeline was the internet.

And I needed to keep those electronic feelings coming to me, over and over again. Whom was I talking to anyway? Did the network guys read my messages? Did they read things that surprised them, embarrassed them? Or maybe inspired them to fall in love with someone whom you could not see; someone you could not even touch, except with your words.

I thought some times that his words made things perfectly clear.

That I could see what he was doing, feel what he was feeling and understand him. But there were times when the messages were confusing, frustrating and painful - when the words and technology failed me. Where was the human being?

"I met this woman at the lab," my eyes scanned the message, searching for its solace as I felt my stomach churn and my heart rate jump.

"Oh God" I was thinking. "She just came over to say hi. She's a Fulbright Scholar from Stanford."

That was enough. I couldn't read on. She was in our domain. She had entered the sacred territory that we shared. Who was she? What did she want? Why is he telling me this? Doesn't he understand that this is all that we have. That this pathetic excuse for a relationship means the world to me.

Please message, tell me what I want to know. Please message, satisfy my curiosity. I need you so badly. I feel so alone without you.