July 2, 2017:

I thought we were close. Me and that girl I've never met.

We wrote continually for months. Four, six, ten messages daily. About my life, mostly. Less frequently about hers, or, at least, the small glimmers she was willing to share. A running conversation that deepened and evolved.

I became dependent, although it was little by little and I didn't realize it until after. That conversation filled the silence which otherwise filled my life. Despite therapy, despite meds, the life around me still felt empty without the specific companionship of a confidante.

It was obvious she was not who she claimed to be. The coy dedicated email address was the first tipper. When the silence returned I searched for her. There was no-one with the name she claimed in the department she said she belonged to. And no-one matching the photos she'd provided.

When she ghosted I was flabbergasted. Gobsmacked. Wouldn't have predicted it in a million.

I'd thought we were close. That there was a friendship that was genuine and would continue past school into the life ahead — even if in the end we decided to never meet.

It was so quiet. So quiet.

Empty.