kamshots via Creative Commons

The days hummed past, the unhurried buzzing of a beetle in summer. She read books with confusing titles while the kids ran through the sprinklers, their forced laughter and worried glances bouncing them from the “Miss” column to the “Won’t Miss” on her chart. The phone was always at hand, the chime became a joke and an argument and a refuge.

Pithy comments flew from her practiced fingers onto the virtual keyboard, morsels of truth about sadness and sex, children and pomegranates. Everyone said she was funny, her reach was tens of thousands wide, a circle of eye-pairs much vaster than the population of her hometown.

A warm bath and a razor blade forced a numbness into her legs. The final message had to be a great one, and she composed it over and over with sandbag eyelids. At last she pressed “Send” and her world was pinkish water.

It took several days for the word to get out. There were questions, as always. How could this happen? What of the children, the loving family? We re-read everything, unfashionably tardy investigators, seeking reason. One question, above all: how could she not know how many people loved her from afar?