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A 21st Century Love Story:

An email dialogue between Evan McAllister and Ella Paris

A 21st Century Love Story

“Disturbing and inspiring, luscious and utterly unique, A 21st Century Love Story is the magisterial chronicle of two young people on the brink of self-realization. The raw innocence of their correspondence is agonizingly persuasive, divulging a sober and subtle intelligence that is a rare credit to their generation. . . . With great narrative verve, these precocious seekers are proving themselves capable of fundamentally altering the tectonic landscape of the classic coming-of-age tale. In a daringly hybridized exploration of the moral, philosophical, and spiritual context for their own lives, their frequently hilarious and touching dialogue manages to illuminate and transcend. America loves— no, needs—Evan and Ella.”

—The New York Cultural Review

Part One

“Evan McAllister” []
To: “Ella Paris” []
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 19:45:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: hello :)
Attachment: evan-wacked3.jpg

dear ella,

how's life in brooklyn? how's your dad doing? man, i don't know what to say about this whole thing. . .other than that it sucks of course. i don't mean to sound cold or insensitive, but i wonder if there's even a possibility that he'll survive this? he's totally pearled, right? like taken a turn for the worst? i don't know much about the disease he's suffering from, but it sounds pretty gnarly. seriously though, really, i hope everything's okay. my sister's praying for him and stuff.

and me. . .well i'm doing alright, you know. i left santa cruz last week and reported back in for messenger duty monday morning. in fact, yesterday i was nearly killed by this yuppie kook in an suv, who came backing out of his driveway at forty miles an hour. the moron broke my front wheel! but he paid me for it, so. . .whatever. and courtney's just won some employee of the month award for september, so i'm supposed to meet her at this party tonight, which is way lame. things with courtney and me haven't been going so great lately.

anyways, i hope you're chillin', that your dad's feeling okay and all that. . . (btw, i'm attaching a pic of me, for you to stare at endlessly into the night. :)

later, ecco! ;)

the evanator

p.s. did you ever read that onion article, “dolphins evolve opposable thumbs”?* you'd totally dig it, babe. it rules.

From:“Ella Paris” []
To:“Evan McAllister” []
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2003 12:10:24 -0000 (PST)
Subject: Jerk


“Gnarly”?! It's called lymphatic cancer. I'm only going to say this once, stop emailing me! You are so “way” immature I can't waste any more time on you.

I'm seeking a restraining order from Yahoo.

Goodbye. . .forever.

From: “Evan McAllister” []
To: “Ella Paris” []
Date:Fri, 05 Dec 2003 21:11:37 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Kurt Donald Cobain

Dearest Ella,

I'm sorry. You're right. My whole life has been a lie. I'm a loser, a phony, an unenlightened asshole forever lost in the surf of samsara. I guess I already kind of recognized it before I met you, but after I met you--maybe even the moment I met you--I thought things could be different. You gave me hope, a sense of clarity. I felt confidence in myself and in LIFE when I was around you in a way I never had before. Never. But now you're gone--and you're making it official, for good, forever. I half expected this. But Jesus, Ella. . . If I can impart some parting words to you before I put an end to this incarnation and leave this realm, it is these:

“God is love; and he that dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him.”
--1 John, 4:16

Maybe Christians aren't so crazy after all. And maybe I am. But it doesn't matter anymore. Goodbye, Ella Paris. And clichéd as it sounds, now's the time to say it: Goodbye World, Goodbye Samsara.

I'll always love you, Ella. Please tell my parents and sister I love them deeply, and let them know about this (or not).

Your Immature Friend

From:“Ella Paris” []
To: []
Date: Sat, 06 Dec 2003 09:48:32 +0000
Subject: Evan Jerk McAllister


Grow up and have a little dignity “dude”. It used to be that if you wanted to die you would do it without fanfare, away from other people so as not to disturb them. Which is to say that suicide these days, and the pitifully melodramatic email you wrote, is completely selfish (even for the likes of our friend Kurt).

If you were really going to commit suicide you would have done it immediately, knowing that the effect of me hearing that you were dead and hadn't written or told me beforehand, would have been exponentially more painful. And therefore the equivalent of an emotional 'last word'. As it stands now you have given me ample time to respond, probably in the hope that I would cajole you out of it. Wrong. I dare you to do it. For someone who claims to want real Meaning in their life, this is the instant solution to the problem. What I mean is, if you kill yourself you'll really know the meaning of the word “coward”.Besides, why are you always sending me fake suicide notes? Isn't this number FOUR? Why do you like to joke around about stuff like this? Huh?

I bet you dream about your funeral and all the people who would spontaneously arrive, crying for the great loss of You. Lets talk about something else. . ..


From: “Evan McAllister” []
To: “Ella Paris” []
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2003 02:11:23 -0800 (PST)
Subject: all the spaces, the strings

lovely ella, meter maid,

you saved me! you spared me from selfishly self-annihilating my self! for the fourth time!! how cool is that? i knew i could count on you. but seriously, folks. . . you ask why i joke about dying? because i WANT to die! i want to die into the eternal void, i want to die into the unborn Source of ALL. i don't dream about my funeral and savor fantasies of long-lost posers coming to celebrate my departure from this earth. no, i dream of Life Eternal, beyond the comings and goings of pathetic, finite forms. our bodies are just skandhic coils of mortal flesh, doomed to return to the dust whence they sprang. but who are YOU, really? beyond the body, beyond the mind, who are YOU?

ella, i really want to help you understand this better, because i think it will help you A LOT in what you're facing with your dad and his illness. think about it ella: we're born into this strange world, we live our lives, going along with the flow, believing whatever lies we're force-fed by the world, struggling and suffering along with everyone else, and then one day our bodies fail, and it's all over as quickly as it began. and people ask WHY? what is the POINT? well, i know why, and i know the point--that there is no “point”! it's just a game (god's game) or a dream, whichever metaphor you prefer.

ella, i'm sorry if i've upset you by joking around so much. i don't want my happiness to screw with our friendship, okay? ella, if you really want me to stop, and turn into stodgy academic mode, then i will just for you. you're so beautiful ella, so pure--like a radiant bodhisattva of perfection in this world. your sweet smile, your glossy dark hair, your eyes like globes of blue earths that form a matrix of endless windows that anyone can look at but only i can see.

with infinite love,
your own Original Face

[ continue ]


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This article is from
Our Morality Issue


February–April 2004