I think you knew this was coming. Don’t act like you haven’t let me know things aren’t going well. Even now as I typed that sentence, I had to backtrack twice because the t’s don’t come out right. And when I ask a “z” from you? God, I miss the days when I would sit pushing your “r” button because it felt nice to press it over and over r, r, r or sometimes just to hold it down rrrrrrrrr imagining the feeling would never end. Your keys were supple then. Now hey sick, they stick. (See what I mean?) You’re old, Roberto. I feel you deteriorating underneath my fingertips. You’re dying.
When we met, I was jaded. I didn’t think I could hold onto a computer for longer than a couple months after what happened with my first laptop. I guess I couldn’t tell him how I really felt, but it came out one night when I got drunk and puked my guts out all over his keyboard. He was a wreck after that. I mean, his data wasn’t even recoverable. And there were others. My high-school Jetta, Igby, lost three side mirrors, two hubcaps and a couple rims while we were together. Once I drove him the wrong way on Route 22 and almost killed him — you can imagine what that did for my self-esteem. Then you came along. You showed me writing could be fun and sensual. Remember those nights freshman year in the Bingham basement when I typed you journals and you played me Elliott Smith for my angst? I’d set you on my stomach, slide my hands into the space between your underbelly and my belly button with my palms turned up to feel your whirring and your warmth — your casing was so sexy then. You saw me through so many phases: my obsession with semicolons, my love of short sentences, the year I became too cool for capital letters. You listened. And thinking seemed more productive when I wrote my thoughts to you — I guess because I knew you’d save them, but it was more than that: we used to escape together.
Things got intense pretty fast. I relied on you for everything, and when you failed me, I got angry. I am to blame for the dirt and crumbs lodged inside your keyboard, and the bruises on your left side where the metal is stretched so far it’s dislocated from your skeleton. I ashed cigarettes on you, yes, but it was only because I felt so comfortable around you. I was free, soaring, high on creativity and inspiration, on pot and Adderall, amd you, you never judged. Even when I opened six applications and twenty Word documents one after the other, you never let me doubt I was invincible — that is, until you crashed. At first it was only occasional. I’d leave you on too long and you’d turn off without warning. When I checked you into Apple this summer, you couldn’t even turn on, Roberto. But I gave it one last shot and spent all that money on your treatment because, I don’t know, call me naive, but I believed we could make a fresh start.
Of course, nothing did change. I started using other computers again. I’d come home disheveled at five, six, or seven in the morning, some nights not at all, and tell you I’d been reading, when really I was holed up with the big Mac in the Calhoun printing room. He doesn’t freeze on me. He has Photoshop and InDesign. You must think I’m such a slut, but you know I’ve always believed in sharing. I’m letting you go, Roberto. I’m buying a new laptop.
I have to go now because I’m crying and I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. No, don’t feel bad. It’s probably just that the smoke from my cigarette is going straight into my eyes as I’m typing. I’m hitting save. I’m bringing in an external hard drive to back you up. Goodbye, Roberto.