|It’s like a waterfall, the cascade of names. The busiest time is always evening, when Clara can’t keep up with the words as they’re washed away in a tsunami of messages. As if these are really her friends.
When did they last press warm flesh together? When did they last look into each other’s eyes? How many even made it to Marty’s send-off… ten? Twenty? Not the two hundred whose avatars now stampede across her reflection, her face a rock beneath their butterfly wings. Who are they now, these long lost, truncated names surrounded by their pixelated children?
Be my friend.
But do not phone, nor bang on my back door. Do not presume to sit and eat with me.
It wasn’t as bad with Marty, the gregarious one who drew people to their table. But after he died, perhaps she was an odd number… or just a sad one. Maybe she just noticed it more.
On the loneliest nights she’d wondered, would anyone come to her funeral? She picked her epitaph one night, half laughing, half crying. Put it in her will. A tombstone engraved with a hand, pointing down, and the words, “Oh, there you are!”
Tonight, she neither smiles nor cries. Just sits, slumped, as the names flicker across her skin. By the end, she figured she’d be lucky to get five.
Assuming, of course, that anyone even finds her.