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Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
by Trisana McGraw

Show me the meaning of being lonely.

In the dark, desolate Web, a sprite walked down the halls of the ship that was his temporary home, his footsteps slow and mournful.

He halted suddenly, turning to slam his fist against the window. He wanted to scream, but all he could get out was one word: "Dot."

So many words for the broken heart
It's hard to see in a crimson love
So hard to breathe,
Walk with me, and maybe --

"Why was I so stupid?" he asked himself, as he had for seemingly every forsaken cycle he had been there. The question stood for more than one slip-up he had made. Trusting the viruses had gotten him shot into the Web; but his second mistake hit harder. He hadn't told the one woman he cared about his true feelings.

Nights of light so soon become
Wild and free, I can feel the sun

How much he longed to be back in Mainframe, under the warm sun -- never seen in the Web -- playing with Enzo, AndrAIa, and Frisket, and sitting with Dot on a bench in Floating Point Park.

The image in his mind seemed so real, but he knew it was only that -- in his head. And yet, he could see Dot's smile so clearly; warm and radiant, bathing him in its light. . . .

Your every wish will be done
They tell me . . .

Bob whispered to himself, "Why didn't I tell you everything, Dot? I wish I could be with you. It's so lonely here. . . "

Show me the meaning of being lonely
Is this the feeling I need to walk with
Tell me why I can't be there where you are
There's something missing in my heart

Bob turned his gaze to the dangerous Web beyond. Somewhere amidst those swirls of degradation and data storms was Mainframe.

I wonder, he thought, does Dot know I'm here, watching her?

In an office in the system of Mainframe, the Command.com looked up from her organizer. She had felt a presence near -- or so she thought. But it only lasted a nanosecond. Lately she had been secretly wishing so hard she was seeing things that weren't there.

Life goes on as it never ends
Eyes of stone observe the trends

Dot gazed up, eyes bright with the beginnings of tears. "Oh, Bob, I miss you so much. Everyone here thinks I'm strong, that I can survive having you gone. I can't. Not even Mouse or Phong can see how much it hurts."

They never say forever gaze (if only)
Guilty roads to an endless love

Dot too regretted her failure to express her love for Bob. "I should have told you," she whispered, "but I was too afraid." Dot hugged her arms around her knees. No one would ever know, but at that moment, Mainframe's Command.com lost her leader-like calm and burst into tears.

There's no control
Are you with me now
Your every wish will be done
They tell me
Show me the meaning of being lonely
Is this the feeling I need to walk with
Tell me why I can't be there where you are
There's something missing in my heart

Sorrow turned to anger.

There's nowhere to run
I have no place to go
Surrender my heart, body, and soul

"I have to survive this horrible place!" Bob shouted, too angry to shed tears. It didn't matter if he yelled; the Web Riders understood no normal speech. "I'm all alone, no matter what." He paused for breath, then shouted:

How can it be you're asking me to feel
The things you never show
You are missing in my heart
Tell me why can't I be there where you are

Shouts answered shouts, as if the two were having an argument.

"The Web is hell!"

"The viruses terrorize us every cycle!"

"Why did you let me go, Dot?"

"Bob, why couldn't you stay and fight?"

"Why can't you be here --"

"-- to help me through this?"

Show me the meaning of being lonely
Is this the feeling I need to walk with
Tell me why I can't be there where you are
There's something missing in my --

<<Interface?>> A Web Rider had appeared to show Bob away.

"Honey?" Mouse stood in the doorway, ready to warn Dot of another attack.

Bob sighed and started to go. But he turned back and gazed once more out the window. Dot, I wish you could see me. . . .

Dot looked up at the exact same moment. I know you're out there, Bob. . . .

Again they shared the same thought.

I love you. And --

-- you will always be in my --

heart.

END

"Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" was sung by the Backstreet Boys; 1999

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