I met my best friend on a message board

We chatted for hours on MSN Messenger in our bedrooms behind closed doors, the night drawing shadows on our gaunt faces, my parents fast asleep until hers got up. We followed-up with emails of epic proportions. We learned to feed ourselves, worlds apart, pouring non-fat milk in a bowl of cereal with a pinch of brown sugar to feel dangerous. We wrote novellas about what it is like to eat to live. And not die.

I went to New York because she said she would be there. Whenever I saw a thin girl with long dark hair, I expected to see her face when she turned around. In Central Park, I thought I saw her remove her shoe and dip her slender foot in a fountain, where pink hibiscus petals and cigarette butts trembled in wet disbelief. I refreshed my inbox on the hotel desktop, over and over, but the reply never came. The phone lay silent on the nightstand.

The last time we were together, I unfurled a Ferrero Rocher wrapper lying on her passenger seat and watched her bony knees tense and relax as she moved the gear shift, dropping the best between the lanes of our lives. I tried to smooth the gold foil with my thumbnail, but by the time we reached the airport it scattered into dozens of sparkling little pieces. We were just two friends then, standing on the curb with the door open.