Courtship @ to ç by Brenda Anderson


@ was angry.

It wasn’t fair.

Intimately connected to half the world’s population – those online, anyway – @ felt lonely and imposed upon. He nestled so close to all the babes and blokes:

nospacebetween him and everyone else.

@ felt that at this rate he’d die alone, without partner or prospects.

He’d made all the right moves, but got nowhere. Dating sites had proved useless.

He took up writing poems, and posted them online as lonesome@ Many coyotes answered his cry for help but to him, they seemed shallow. Just out for fun. A romp in the moonlight.

@ didn’t care about the moon.

He wanted a kindred spirit, someone who could face life’s twists and turns with genuine lovingkindness, even humour. @ gave up writing poetry and moped. After a while he revised his profile.

It now read:

                        Fearless adventurer

                        Willing to meet anywhere

                        Seeks lifetime commitment.

                        Reply @the@word

@ waited for replies.

They flooded in.

He quickly rejected all the variations on: “Hi @! You look so twisty-cute. Wanna tie me in knots?” and “Existence is one big circle, isn’t it? We arrive back where we started from? You know all about that, don’t you, @??”

He spent more time considering the ones who offered free cruises, rock climbing lessons, shark-cage-encounters etc. In the end, he rejected them all.

By ‘fearless’ he hadn’t meant ‘desperate for death.’ He wanted a kindred spirit.

Then it came.

A cedilla. The cutest thing he’d ever seen. Remember, the wiggly tail under the letter ‘c’? That sort of cedilla. She’d said, simply:

Hi @the@word

I’m lonely, too. I’m twisty, like you, but I dream. Have you ever seen, in all those medieval texts, those fantastically-decorated tails that dangle from capital letters?  See, I have aspirations. I want to be big and bold and fantastic, like those decorative tails. Instead, I trail along underneath the letter c. I want to be a knockout. Instead, I’m a squiggle. I want to be first cab off the rank, like the capital A’s, but they want nothing to do with a lowly diacritical mark like myself.

It’s not fair. Say, could we meet somewhere?

(signed) ç

@ nearly fainted.

This was the girl of his dreams: downtrodden (“I … trail along underneath”), lonely (capital A’s would definitely not lower themselves to talk to the little people), cute (he loved her curly tail) and twisty, like himself.

@ quickly messaged her back.

The meet-up proved a challenge. They didn’t exactly run into each other, often.

Or at all.

Finally, @ messaged a calligrapher he’d got to know via endless emails, and asked him to organise a get-together. The calligrapher agreed and, using his finest penmanship, entwined them.

@ sank into the arms of his beloved ç and began composing a glorious or@torio.

His beloved ç turned out to have musical talent to spare. Together they took the world by storm.


Online handles vanished and tweets died, stillborn. Global pandemonium ensued.

@ and ç didn’t notice.

They were too busy making music.



Published 2/14/20