Until the day I clicked on the "You Have 1 Friend Request!" message and found myself staring at the name of a dead girl. I froze.
Stacy Carter.* We had lived on the same cul-de-sac in Tucson and gone to the same high school. She was a year ahead of me in school - tall, with curly strawberry blonde hair and a body straight from Playboy. She dated an older boy (in retrospect, most likely a dropout), who would roar up to her house in an old Camaro and sit there revving the engine until she came out the front door and strolled languidly down the front walk. She was light years more sophisticated than me, and I watched her with envy, trying to imitate her sultry walk in my bedroom.
One day as I walked home from tenth grade, she overtook me on the sidewalk and slowed her pace to mine.
"Hey," she said casually, like it was no big deal to walk with me. Like we were already friends.
"Hey," I said, "What's up?"
"Oh, everything pretty much sucks," she said, rolling her eyes, "You know?"
"Yeah," I said, although I didn't, and the only sucky thing I could really come up with was that my mom was making me re-clean my room after school because I hadn't done a good enough job the day before. I doubted that Stacy Carter gave a shit.
"My boyfriend got totally wasted again last night and passed out at this party in South Tucson? And I was stranded there and didn't know anyone, and I can't drive a stick, so I couldn't even take his keys and leave. I was totally late getting home, and my stepdad is PISSED. I'm grounded, like, forever," she frowned, "And I'm flunking Algebra. Again."
Like I said. I had nothin' compared with that. Stacy Carter did not want to hear about my incompetence with a dustrag. We walked the rest of the way home and chatted about mundane topics like school and clothes.
We never became close friends, but she always smiled and said hi when we passed in the halls. Once in a while, we'd wind up walking home together. Once she graduated from high school that May, she lit out with her boyfriend. The next year I heard she was pregnant. The next year, a neighbor had heard that she was working as a stripper and into drugs. A couple of years later, she had another kid and word on the cul-de-sac was that she was trying to clean up her act.
The next time I heard her name was six years later when my mother mentioned in a phone conversation that she had died of ovarian cancer, leaving behind two young children.
When her name showed up in my Facebook inbox, I figured that some sicko was using her name to send out friend requests to the people from my high school. I considered sending the sicko a message, calling him on it, but in the end just clicked "ignore." The less contact with psychopaths, the better. It's a personal motto that's served me well.
Several months later, I finally found a good friend I'd been looking for for years - Kathy Grenier.* We sent many messages back and forth, catching up on all the years since high school. In one of them, I asked her, "Hey, who was the blonde girl that used to eat lunch with us junior year? I cannot come up with her name."
"Stacy Carter," she sent back.
Suddenly it dawned on me. Stacy Carter! The sweet sophomore with long blonde hair and smiley blue eyes who used to sit on the wall with us at lunch! I was her pianist for a vocal audition! She came to my birthday party! Of course!
And my neighbor was ... Stacy ROGERS. Oh, crap.
Have you ever sent a Friend Request along with a personal message that essentially says, "Hi! Sorry I ignored your friend request. I thought you were impersonating a dead girl. My bad."
*Names changed to protect people who probably don't want to be associated with me, even on the internet.**
**Because of me being a moron and all. ***
***I'm done now.