Smart phone reflecting disco lights - 'Facebook Boogie' by Laura Jones on daCunha

Facebook Boogie

Facebook Boogie

Laura Jones


For months, we communicate only through Facebook: “likes” or – if bold – “loves” in answer to a post. Secret communiqué of a post-modern age. I publish a new selfie, or pithy description of why women enjoy baths. She returns a subtle, but to me conspicuous, thumbs up.

A photo of her and her step-kid pops up in my feed. She smiles redolently. Her red, near flame-blushed hair, blown gently in the breeze. The girl next to her is all but non-descript. I don’t register her dull brown eyes, her braces. This woman is all I see. There’s a brief hesitation, a flutter. I up the ante by clicking “♡”.

How sophomoric these symbols. How iconic. They’ve survived since the days when men colored on caves. There’s something ancient about them, something odorous like the breath of a clan. We smell them and grope towards each other in the dark. They are an artifact, also, of sixth grade: note passed in class. “Do you like me? If so, check this.” Yes or no. A reduction my heart demands.

Walking home from school, back then, I’d hold that note in my pocket, a craven rejection. Or elated, I’d take your number. Plan to meet up later at the Lakeside AMC.

What I want now is conversation. Your aura, your essence so strong, I can taste it through digitalization, through cold, wireless miles. I feel you like an electric current traveling the lines. Here I am 500 miles away, and yet, you’re right here. If only you’d take that extra step and message me … Oh pathetic, modern day compensation.

What I want from you is to step beyond the universe of signs, to hold me, text-bound, connecting bifurcated lands, splitting distance like an acorn hewn in two, like a rip in space-time continuum I can slip inside, like your body.

Or else, just leave me alone. Stop acknowledging my insane observations, my most casual of synthetic musings. That I still dress like a 16-year-old camp counselor. That, on lonely weekend nights, I listen to Aimee Mann. There’s more poetry inside me than 140 characters. There’s a system of burning stars, of subterranean flow. Lust, love, tricked out and bound in words.

I pull you to me and I pull you to me and I attempt to once and for all shake you off.

But I can’t, so I scroll. I touch the screen instead of your inner ear. You post about an after work cocktail hour, and like Baudelaire’s lustful flowers, I burst open. Seeing you in your teal wrap dress, drink in hand, I once again submit. Double down on my phone, and finger over screen, I press down. Wave a hearty, heart-broken hello.

About the Author

Laura Jones

Laura Jones is a journalist, nonfiction and screenplay writer, with a background in film and television production. She has an MFA from Northwestern University, where she won the 2015 AWP Journals Prize in nonfiction. She currently teaches at Central State University, and her work has been featured in Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Litro (UK), Foglifter, About Place Journal, The Gay and Lesbian Review, and the Oklahoma Review.

Edited by Lisa Renee

Image: Rodion Kutsaev | Unsplash

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