Pieces of You I Kept
Mark reaches for his cell, dialing the familiar number of his voicemail.
You have 12 saved messages.
"Please pick up your cell. I know that you saw the ringing. Why aren't you picking up? I have to leave this message. Otherwise, it'll be like I was never here."
It always starts the same: Eduardo's voice tired and desperate, demanding to know why he isn't returning his calls.
"Come on. Answer. I was angry, all right? I was furious actually, but we can't end like this. I was just hurt that I couldn't see straight. I don't think I've ever been that angry before and I reacted. I'm sorry about your laptop. I'll get you a new one. You'd like that. Pick up."
He explains his side and Mark listens. Time does that to some, making them truly hears things that are said the way they were meant to be heard. Life would be simple if in that moment, Mark understood what Eduardo felt.
"We said things that we didn't mean. People do that, but they also make up."
There's more persuasion and bargaining on Eduardo's end, but Mark's still silently furious, nothing to show for it except the angry clacking of his fingers with his computer opened in front of him. His best friend and CFO failed to deliver big investors. He failed to be there when Mark had repeatedly asked him to come to California. Their company was located in Palo Alto. He told Wardo, 'I want—want no, I need you.' Eduardo kept ignoring his calls and texts, and it became apparent that their vision for Facebook greatly differed from one another's.
Wardo didn't understand the main reason of why Mark built Facebook. It wasn't about getting laid or saying, fuck you to every Harvard Final Club in existence. His social network would change the world, society as they knew it. Facebook would connect people, and Sean saw some of that potential, the material gain from it anyway.
Wardo only saw the opportunity to finally make his father proud. When Mark really considers it, who used who?
"You know the first time that I met you I couldn't get over how brilliant you were? Like I knew, you'd changed the world and it's weird saying that because eventually we became best friends but I thought it. Your blue eyes were sharp and they focused on me. That's what I remember."
He remembers ridiculous dark hair and gentle, brown eyes, of wanting to know this person's name. He didn't seem real and Mark couldn't shake him out of his interest. It was absurd.
"Your message set up keeps cutting me off. It sucks. Didn't I tell you to reset that up months ago? What if someone needs that space, like your poor mother? And you still haven't. Typical. You should do that."
"It's me. Maybe I've finally run out of words. If you were here, you probably wouldn't believe that. Usually, we both know I never run out of things to say. I have to make conversation or sometimes I can't resist filling the silences. You code."
"All those times the four of us: you, me, Dustin, and Chris watched movies and played video games in Kirkland, was probably the first time that I felt like I belonged. You guys were like my family.
You were different though. In another way, I wanted to keep you."
Mark thinks he wouldn't have argued with the last statement.
"When I felt us slipping, I obsessed over discovering the exact point where we became distant, like finding the point would make a difference. I know we didn't see to eye to eye on Facebook, but I was doing the best I could. You have to know that."
He believes Eduardo's words, but frankly wishes that they were enough.
"That day that I was in the office, you looked back at me with your dimples showing, you said, 'But you have to come back for the party Thiel's going to throw us, when we hit a million members.' Mark, I wouldn't have missed it. And what did you do?"
The surprise and the shock of Eduardo's violent anger—Mark couldn't process the scene at the time. He had to defend himself against his accusations. He was justified and yet his own arguments appeared weak aloud.
Mark wanted to viciously throw that question back at Eduardo's face: And what did you do?
Eduardo froze the accounts and jeopardized Facebook's future. Mark couldn't have that even if it meant cutting out Wardo's shares and place in the company. Wardo's behavior proved that he didn't care about Mark. He didn't realize how important Facebook was, how important it could be. He threw the first shot. Mark only finished the score.
"I know it'd be easy to say that I hate you now, but I can't even bring myself to feel that. I want to hold on to the anger and the betrayal so badly, lash out like I did with the laptop smashing, but then where will that leave me?
"I think, Mark, I might've been in love with you. You're an idiot, but I'm the biggest one of all."
Mark didn't hate Wardo either. He wouldn't have been able to.
"Call me back. I know we can work through this. I don't care about the dilutions. They aren't important as making us all right. You're my best friend, my only true friend. I can't lose you. I'll do anything, please."
End of messages
Abruptly, other pressing emotions threaten to dominate Mark's brain despite his previous, careful control. There's a tension in his chest, an enormous ache spreading over his body and feelings he tried not to experience overwhelm him. It is not until his sight is blurry and the strength of ignoring the loss of someone he loved becomes too great that he senses the presence of tears trailing from his face. He touches the tear drops with his fingertips and somehow, the act causes everything to be real.
He's twenty three and the year is 2007. Mark reasons, 'I did what was necessary, but that didn't mean it didn't kill me along the way. All I have left of you are your messages and our tainted memories.'
He clutches the cell tighter in his right hand, feeling the cool metal, but wanting to touch something—no, someone else that has long gone.