This is the story of how I met Richard, aka Kalam Shone on the Internet. The phenomena "Love on the Internet" has become more and more common, and if it turns out to be a really serious love, one will experience a whole lot of problems and obstacles as well as great love in a very different way. Therefore I have written down this story for all of you who are in the middle of your love story and need some advice and support. When all this happened to me I felt very lonely and lost. But finding only a few stories about similar love stories on the Internet gave me some strength and encouragement.
The first encounter
It was February 1999 and I was living together with my former fiancé. I felt very much sad and miserable about most things in my life. We had recently moved to a smaller apartment because our financial situation was in a total ruin. After a long time of sickness I only worked part time a few hours every week. My fiancé had finally got a job and worked full time, but wasn't too happy with it. Since our relationship didn't work out very well I had been thinking about leaving him to live on my own. This was a hard decision to make and for a long time I wanted to work for the relationship to get better. I had tried to talk to him about how I felt, but he never really listened. So finally I kept all the difficult thoughts for myself hoping that they would go away, and pushed all hard decisions to the future.
Both of us spent a lot of time on the Internet. I guess it was a way of escaping from reality for both of us. My fiancé wanted to try the beta test of a game called EverQuest. He succeeded to get it even if it wasn't even released in Sweden and therefore not possible to beta test outside North America. I told him that I didn't want to waste my time playing a game on the Internet. He could play as much as he wanted. However I sat down beside him and watched while he started the game and I found that it was a fantastic game in many ways. I actually felt like trying myself, but I told myself that I only started my character because of helping the Swedish EverQuest site making maps over the EverQuest world. (This turned out to be so much more difficult than I could imagine from the start!) My character's name was therefore Kartis. Karta is the Swedish word for map. So Kartis would be Mappy - kind of... And so the Internet name Kartis was born.
In the game there were so many things to do. Kartis had to find a way to make money to survive, and I tried fishing the second day I was playing. Around the fishing pond in Qeynos city were standing tons of people fishing. Some of them were bragging about how much money they made from fishing and how much they had raised their skill in fishing. Every time your skill improved you got a message in the chat window: "You have become better at fishing (4)" or whatever skill it was.
All the sudden I got a message that said: "Kalam has become better at fishing (60)". I thought it was strange that I got a message about someone else's skills, but I said: Congratulations, Kalam. The character Kalam thanked me and we started to talk. In a game like EverQuest, which is a role playing game, you talk as your character is supposed to talk, not as you yourself would talk. But the funny thing was that Kalam and Kartis started to talk about our personal selves almost instantly. I was thinking: What a nice person! After talking for a while at the pond I had to leave, so I left the game and sent a message to Kalam's player at ICQ and thanked for the chat in the game. He answered and we spent a few more minutes talking on ICQ. He said his name was Richard and he had three kids, one in Texas and the twins in California not far from his house. He worked as a computer tech and wrote poetry on his spare time.
Next time I was playing EverQuest I got a message from Kalam. He asked if I felt like hunting some monsters with him, and since I didn't have much else to do at the moment I joined him and we played together for a while. I played more and more often, since it was so nice to have a friend in the game who felt like doing the same things as I did. Most players wanted to kill as much as possible to raise their level. I wanted to explore and see what else there was in the game to do than just killing. My fiancé couldn't understand how I could have spent so much time playing and not raising my level faster.