It’s tough to tell when someone disappears. You always just figure they’re busy at work, or studying for finals, or on vacation, or something of the sort, so none of us thought anything was strange when we didn’t see Nodek for a while. Actually, to be brutally honest, none of us even noticed. I mean, he was kind of quiet to begin with, and only piped up when he had something to say. Half the time, you’d have to check the room list to know that he was even there. So I don’t know how long it took us. Maybe a week. Maybe two. But then, one day, this troll shows up and says something like:

NoobLOL42: star wars is for fagz!!!

We don’t get trolls very often, but Nodek was some kind of film geek, so he’d always rip them a new one in words that none of us understood. It was pretty funny to watch, actually, and it became kind of a running joke. So Jil says:

AdminJil4984: nodek? u hungry?

and there was no reply.

NoobLOL42: whos nodek?

AdminJil4984: whos nodek?!?!?!?!?!?

The last one to see him had been 3jane, who said she was in PM with him a few weeks ago, but when we tried to check the logs we got a server error. We weren’t freaked, though. Like I said, people come and go. We shot off a few PMs, but since we figured he was just on vacation or something, it took another week or so before we tried it oldschool with email. Mailerdaemoned.

At least a month had passed. A month. This is Nodek we’re talking about.

Admin3jane: does ne1 know his real name?

AdminJil4984: i got his mstracker number

Admin3jane: ??

AdminJil4984: 55772.0619.086/okl

We ran it. Nothing. Not just disconnected, either. It was like the hardware had never been MSregged. 3jane tried the chatlogs again, though, and this time, the request went through.

Admin3jane: its not here

AdminKack1: what?

Admin3jane: hes not in the logs. theres no profile either.

I checked. She was right. His profile was gone. When I went back over some of the logs, it seemed like he’d never been there. I remembered every conversation, but the lines I could have sworn he posted belonged to 3jane and Jil. Some of his stuff even ended up under my name. The funny thing was, I couldn’t be sure I’d never said it. After a few hours in a chat room every day for a year, you start to forget who belongs to what.

AdminJil4984: it must be a bug

Admin3jane: but were not missing ne conversations

AdminKack1: were missing a person!!

AdminJil4984: kack do u rememer nething he said? liek specifically?

AdminKack1: he said a lot of stuff. he liked books. he liked music. wtf? he was nodek. we all remember the stuff he said.

Admin3jane: well we need something exact to search

AdminKack1: thats why we keep logs in the 1st place!

I don’t know why it got to me so much. Like I said, people come and go. People change their names. But Google turned up nothing. AOL turned up nothing. It was like he’d never existed.

Time passed. Weeks, months. I mean, how long? How long do you wait for something like that?

AdminKack1: maybe hes dead

AdminJil4984: nodek?

AdminKack1: yeah. maybe he died and his family erased everything so they wouldn’t be reminded or something.

AdminJil4984: once he said he was going to join the army i think

Admin3jane: and they unregged his old pc? come on.

AdminKack1: maybe hes in the secret service

NoobSharick: who r u talking about?

AdminKack1: nodek

NoobSharick: ??

AdminKack1: he hasnt been around in a while, sharick

NoobSharick: ive been here months and i never saw him

AdminJil4984: this was before your time

Admin3jane: kack, jil, let it go. hes not in the logs

NoobSharick: ur making this up

AdminKack1: why the hell would i make this up

NoobSharick: maybe he never existed at all

AdminKack1: stfu noob, this is none of ur business

NoobSharick: im just sayin

AdminJil4984: he was here. we remember him

NoobSharick: but i dont

AdminJil4984: well have a cookie asshole


Admin3jane: wtf?

AdminJil4984: 3j, he was one of us even if hes dead or in the secret service or w/e.

Admin3jane: maybe he just had better stuff to do than sit online all goddamn day. maybe he erased himself.

AdminKack1: nodek wouldn’t do that.

Admin3jane: w/e. who knows. hes gone now and thats what matters.

AdminKack1: hes not gone, 3j. hes out there somewhere. people dont just disappear.

Sometimes, years later, I still Google him. I still email him. It’s always bounced, though. Absolutely nothing. But he has to be out there somewhere. People don’t just disappear.