Like people who wander aimlessly in the space between night and morning, often travelling progressively further from the comfort zones of lighted spaces, it is at this time, from the confines my own chair, did I visit the long abandoned architecture of the internet.
A ghost forum is like a ghost town. You see the yellowing toilet, frayed sofa/curtain/moth eaten dress, and they suddenly mean something, in this romantic empty meaningless notion. Rather than having meaning pushed on you, words filled with innuendo, you give these objects meaning. You wonder at their past owners--what were they like? Did the father keep his daughter under his watchful eye? Was he overbearing? Did she shout at him?
This societal residue long remains when one is in bed, hypothetically alone, for re-runs of the day run amok in one's head.
There is this forum whose original tiled background hosted on photobucket "has been moved or deleted". I like to think it was forgotten. The image had fallen long out of pragmatic purpose, and its host, seeing no use for it, deleted it. But the website itself remains, and will probably stay so, for as long as the internet exists. When you enter it there is a large screen-wide banner of a wolf with a sideswept fringe bang. It is white, like snow. She is leaning her head sideways towards where her hair falls from gravity, the silhouettes of two planets, one large and another considerably smaller, drawn in by the larger's gravitational pull.
The last posts fall in the values of 2006, 2005, 2001. The oldest one's are the admin's announcements, untouched since the site's conception, probably. The site was lucky, it escaped the bulldozing swathe of multiple-lane highways and small-time automata of viagra and wholesale rubber shoes.
I get this same feeling sometimes, visiting E2 user's profiles, who haven't been seen in ten years, maybe more. Perhaps they still are reading this somehow, only, they have nothing more to say, and so don't bother to log on.
And so, I did what any unthinking, curious person would do. I made an account on there. I broke the four-year silence with a post preceded by the digits "2010". I made a few posts, I admit. I showed no regard for the site's previous topic. It was roleplay. I suppose it was silly of me, and perhaps unnecessarily childish, but I private messaged some of the members, replied to several posts as if they were made yesterday. If the moderators still existed, I would probably be permanently banned for a necro of epic proportions. But I felt I was doing it justice. Sometimes when there is nothing more that a person can do, all that remains is to remember them. There has been no reply since. It was not the vain checking of the vital pulse, whose life-or-death feedback was delayed for multiple months, but the leaving of flowers on a grave. I realize that they won't reply, but that does not mean that talking to them is of no use.
Sometimes, like children using handheld puppets as proxies to discuss sensitive topics, the medium of conversation allows one to discover things about oneself that one may not know of otherwise. All writers undeniably self-censor, even when thinking to themselves, and probably even worse so. However, by taking advantage of the fact that there is an inherent social difference between talking to oneself and to another, by speaking to someone who knowingly will not hear, one can confide in a friend who does not judge, and is pure ears. Some people talk to their pets. Or to a spouse or close partner, not for them to solve their problem, but just to have someone to listen. I talk to abandoned accounts on the internet.