A few years into the new millennium, a website came out called "Hot or Not." The purpose was to have people post pictures where the entire population of the Internet could rate you on a scale of 1 to 10. You could find out if you were hot. Or not.
Though I don't recall the site having a mailbox feature, I somehow started corresponding with Caleb. Caleb was a first of second lieutenant in the US Army, having graduated from West Point. He had entered on a whim, not ever expecting that there would be a war when he got out of school. He was 24 in the summer of 2004, when we met. I was 25 and had just finished my first year of law school. I was interning at a public defender's office, assisting with an attempted murder trial. I had just broken up with a boyfriend with whom I'd had the worst relationship of my life (before or after).
Caleb did something that kept him up when most of his men were sleeping, and so when he wasn't fighting, he spent his time e-mailing me.
I told Caleb everything. About my promiscuity, my past drug use, my boyfriend, my life. We flirted with each other -- nerdy flirting about such topics as Immanuel Kant (the old "I can't" joke). We talked about meeting up with each other in 2007, when he got out. He told me he was writing a book about life in Iraq, and continued to promise that he'd send me a chapter or two sometime to read over. He never did.
The last I heard from Caleb was in November of 2006. I still write him periodically to check in, see what he's up to. The Internet tells me that he's working in politics and living in Nevada, his home state. He wrote his book. I ordered it, but found it far too boring to read. I recently discovered that he is on Facebook. But with 2,000 friends, I don't particularly feel like reaching out to him in that venue. He's married, too.
I wrote him an e-mail today, though it's been over a year since my last one. I don't expect a response. But I adored him once and appreciate him still, both for his military service and for being my friend.