Things were different when we first met. Life seemed perfect, then. Lighthearted and blissful. I couldn’t keep a smile off my lips. My course load hadn’t lightened, my post-collegiate future remained just as uncertain as before, but the world seemed good and I believed it was. I’d never felt so attached, so connected, so reliant – it was our honeymoon stage. I had no complaints. Our relationship felt so complete and untainted – anything was possible.

Over the past year, our bond seemed to only grow stronger. Nearly inseparable, we spent hours together every day. We worked on papers together, searched for jobs together, watched DVDs together, only separating when I had to go to class and even then, I sometimes couldn’t stand to go alone.

I allowed myself to dive into our relationship without looking back. I trusted in what we had like a fool with her head in the clouds and her heart on her sleeve. I believed nothing could ruin this.

So, I didn’t think to back anything up – even when my warranty ran out.

Looking back now, it’s obvious that I shouldn’t have been so naive. I had been through it all before. But in my ethereal ecstasy, I foolishly forgot about past tears and frustrations. With every inch of my being, I firmly believed this one would last. Our relationship, safeguarded by Norton Antivirus protection and icrosoft Updates, seemed foolproof. I just didn’t think that a virus could ever come between us.

But then the trouble began. I should have paid more attention to the warning signs. There were a few shaky start-ups that I so artfully ignored. Cryptic messages appeared every now and then but I crossed my fingers and disregarded their cautioning. Turning a blind eye to every red flag, I assumed the problem would iron itself out. All of my friends seemed so happy in their relationships, carefree and satisfied, and I found myself too embarrassed to ask for advice. I didn’t want to admit that things weren’t running as smoothly for me.

And then one day, everything froze.

Composed at first, I held down the power button and tried to simply restart. Nothing. Concerned but still rational, I tried the ever-reliable Control-Alt-Delete. Again, nothing.

My body began to tingle and my pulse quickened. In seconds, I became frantic, shaking the mouse, tapping any key, thrashing through my desk drawers, hunting for the user’s manual. Angry and worried, inundated with emotion, curses flew as tears fell. I tried desperately to restore communication between the two of us, but even a Safe Mode start-up didn’t solve anything.

I didn’t want to sever the ties so quickly. In denial, I clung to the nothingness of our relationship for a few days. iserable, I couldn’t go about my daily activities. My schoolwork was suffering, as unfinished papers and essays were out of reach, adrift on an inaccessible hard drive. I lost touch with other friends, cut off from my email and AOL account.

My roommates offered to let me use their computers and I made my way to the library’s lab periodically. But, My Documents were gone and their Favorites weren’t mine and I missed my screensaver.

Cheeks stained with tears, I managed to compose myself and decided to make the call.

With the help of a very understanding customer service technician named Christa, I made the proper arrangements for a Quick Restore (which would essentially wipe out everything except a task bar, leaving me lonely but virus-free), explained that it wasn’t the computer, it was me, and it was over.

Everything was gone.

My friends say I made the right decision. It had to be done – I wouldn’t have been happy in such a one-sided relationship. I blamed myself for awhile, wondering where I went wrong. But now, I’ve begun to move on, reinstalling various programs and building new connections. It’s not the same – pictures are gone, music is lost, and papers have vanished – but I can honestly say that I have grown as a person.

Learning one of life’s most valuable lessons, I know that in the future I will be nothing short of anal retentive when it comes to backing up my work.

Some say, it’s better to have loved and lost. I say, it’s better to invest in a memory stick.

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