When I was a little girl, I lived in a small neighborhood where everyone knew each other. You know the type: the suburban division of detached homes, each containing a mother, a father, and one to two little kids. It was that kind of a neighborhood, where the sun was always bright and even the snow-covered winters felt like summer.
I lived in one of the more generic, red brick homes at the centre of a T shaped intersection: there was a road to the left of the house, leading to a cul-de-sac, a road to the right, leading to a more complex network of inner streets, and one road that went straight ahead, starting in the middle of the other roads that had streets and homes branching off of it on either side.
When I was only five years old, I went to get a haircut at one of the neighbor’s homes. A family friend living in our neighborhood had recommended the neighboring hairdresser to my mom, and, upon hearing that the hairdresser had a young daughter around my age, I agreed to go.
Even though our neighborhood was filled to the brim with young children, that population was made up of a large amount of young boys, many of whom I didn’t get along with. One of the only girls in the area had moved away when I was four. Another girl I encountered had gotten quite close with me, close enough to snatch my toys out from under my nose. We didn’t speak after that. But, I looked at this haircut as an opportunity to finally have that best friend that Barbie had told me about at that age. I was more excited than I could comprehend.
The hairdresser lived on the right side of the centre road, making it very close to my own home. In minutes, my mom and I reached the house.
We rang the doorbell and waited patiently for the door to open. Seconds later, it swung open to reveal the hairdresser.
The hairdresser was a young looking woman with healthy skin and a very warm smile. Her hair was the color of milk chocolate and her eyes were a deep honey color. She radiated kindness and hospitality, and it was almost too easy to tell that she had a loving husband and two kids. For security purposes, I’m going to refer to her as Helena.
Helena lead us into the house, then into the basement, a fully furnished space that smelled of flowers and stuffed animals. Just to the left of the staircase leading to the basement was Helena’s studio.
Entering the studio, a room with bright, golden lights, and the thick scent of hair product, Helena and my mom were laughing over something that bored me quite a bit, and I took that as a good sign.
Helena helped me up onto the stylist’s chair and began cutting my hair upon my mother’s direction. About twenty minutes later, I had neatly trimmed bangs and evened out shoulder length black hair, just how my parents liked it.
I thanked Helena as she helped me off the chair. I was anxious by this point. The entire visit I had been thinking about meeting a new friend, but I didn’t see said friend anywhere. I was worried, and as if on cue, Helena said, “You know, I think my daughter would like you.”
I looked up at her, my eyes probably huge. “Can I meet her?” I said, shying a bit behind my mother’s leg. I was never good with being the centre of attention, and even now, I still carry that trait with me.
Helena laughed and reached for my hand. “Sure thing, as long as it’s okay with your mom,” she said, glancing at my mom.
My mother smiled down at me and said, “Alright, but don’t take too long. We have to be at your Uncle’s house in an hour.”
Helena smiled again, took my hand, and led me upstairs, past the main floor, and to the carpeted second story of the house.
She led me down a hallway and to the second door on the right, where, amidst strewn Barbie dolls and Polly Pocket accessories, was a little girl. She was a bit chubby, with round cheeks and big eyes the same color as her mother’s. Her hair was golden brown and pulled back into a short ponytail. She looked like she could be my best friend.
I walked into the room, shyly, staring that the toys all over the floor. She watched me come in and sit next to her.
“Hi,” I said, nervous, but smiling, “I’m Sabrina.”
“Hello!” She said, obviously happy to see me, “I’m Sharon! Do you want to see my Fairytopia Barbie?”
I remember gasping when she asked me that. Not because I was making a new friend, but because she had the one Barbie doll that I couldn’t get my hands on at the time. Of course I wanted to see it.
“Yes please,” I said, still shy. Nobody had ever been so suddenly kind towards me, so the shyness I felt was a combination of nerves and cautionary instinct.
Sharon jumped up, giggling, and ran into her closet where she emerged with the toy. She handed it over to me and let me look at it.
It was then, that I found myself my best friend.
Sharon and I stayed close friends for many years, until the second grade, when her dad got a job in Newfoundland. She left in March of that year, and I was left behind as the loneliest girl at my elementary school.
I was terrible with making friends and nobody was willing to let me jump rope with them a recess, or sit next to them in class. It was like I would never have anyone to call my friend besides Sharon.
But, by June of second grade, Sharon called my house from Newfoundland, promising a visit over the summer. At that fantastic news, I waited, prepping my room and my belongings for the next month, when she would arrive. I couldn’t wait to see her again.
Sharon visited and called me for many years after that. Due to her father’s rocky vacation schedule, she didn’t physically visit often, but she called nearly every other week.
I made other friends in the years when Sharon left. I felt amazing. I had all these people around me who liked me for who I was, along with one friend who, though they were so many kilometers away, was closer than ever with me.
We sent letters, called, exchanged emails, eventually got cell phones and started texting, the whole nine yards. We talked all the time. She sent me photos and videos, and I did likewise. She got to know my friends from school, and I got to know hers. It was like she’d never left.
Then, out of nowhere, two years ago when I was in the ninth grade, she stopped calling. I was worried out of my mind. I tried calling her home phone, but nobody ever picked up. This led me to believe that they had disabled their landline. I called her cell, but I was sent directly to her voicemail. Text messages went unanswered, physical letters never came. There was no word of what had happened to my friend.
My friends from school tried to reassure me, saying that she’d changed her home phone number or moved again. I believed them, and I tried to move on. But, a part of me still held onto her, hoping that she’d call me back.
I worried that I’d offended her and caused her to dislike me. I kept thinking about the last things I’d said to her, but nothing remotely offensive came to mind. I was lost, and I didn’t know how to bring back one of the most prominent figures in my life.
This went on for about two months, until one day, I finally got a text message from her.
I lit up on the inside. I could talk to my oldest friend again. I felt complete once more. I don’t think I can truly describe in words how it felt to finally hear from her again. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. I could stand straighter, see clearer, and breathe deeper. I was truly happy again, after two months of worrying.
We talked about everything via text message. She explained that she had moved once again to another city in Newfoundland and hadn’t gotten a landline yet. She said not to worry about sending letters anymore since we had our cell phones. It made sense at the time, so I didn’t question it and continued to talk to my friend.
For the next little while, Sharon and I went on with our lives as usual. We stuck to texts as our method of communication, and we sometimes emailed each other. We talked about school, clothes, boys, everything.
One day, mid-March, about one month after Sharon had started texting me again, I got a phone call.
I recognized the area code to be from Newfoundland. Immediately, I thought that it was Sharon, calling to tell me that she’d finally gotten a landline hooked up. I felt my heart leap to my throat, and I answered the call.
“Hello?” I said, my voice semi-quivering with anxiety.
It was Helena. I thought that maybe she’d called to tell me that this was their new number and that I could call Sharon any time now.
“Yeah, hello Ms. Stevenson,” I said, smiling. It was good to hear her voice. It was reassuring, that I could talk to Sharon soon.
“Hi there, sweetheart, how have you been?”
“Pretty good, ha ha, and you?” I said.
“We’re doing… alright, I guess. Sweetie, I called to tell you something that I should have called about right away when it happened. I had trouble finding your number, but I’ve got it now, ha ha. I know it’s a bit late, but better late than never, right?” Helena said.
I remember the glob of saliva that lodged itself in my throat. After Helena said those words, I suddenly had a very bad feeling about this call.
“W-What are you talking about, Ms. Stevenson?” I asked, my voice shaking for a whole different reason now.
“I am so sorry to tell you this, Sabrina, but, Sharon has passed away.”
“What?” I said, my voice cracking. I was drowning is disbelief. It didn’t seem possible. How could such an amazing, warm, beautiful person just die? I was in utter shock.
“When?” I asked. I was crying by that point, and I didn’t do a thing to try and hide it.
“This is why I’m so sorry, sweetie. She passed away three months ago today. She went for a ride with Derek (Derek is her brother) on an ATV. It crashed and she didn’t make it. It was terrible. I’m so sorry,” Helena said.
I froze up. I felt fear take over my body, fear and confusion. Fear, and denial.
I told myself that it couldn’t be possible. It didn’t make any sense. I’d been talking to Sharon via text messages for the past three months. It took me a while to bring myself to fully comprehend Helena’s information.
I was now more scared than saddened. I was worried because I’d been texting someone who was supposed to be dead for the last few months of my life.
This meant that someone else now had Sharon’s phone and was using it. But how? Wasn’t all of the data on the phone erased? How did they know about my relationship with her? I was purely terrified.
“Helena?” I said, my voice unwavering.
“What did you do with Sharon’s phone?”
“Oh, we gave it back to the phone service provider, number and all. Why?” She asked.
“It’s just… It’s… I was just wondering,” I said.
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to tell Helena about the texts. Instead, I bid her a tearful and heart breaking goodbye and hung up the phone.
Then, as if prompted, I felt my cell phone vibrate in my pocket.
I felt my heart skip a beat, my stomach jump to my throat, and the hairs on my arms prick up.
Hesitantly and with my eyes full of tears, I pulled out the phone.
On the home screen was a bubble displaying, “Hey there :) Can I come visit you next week? For march break.”
The sender was Sharon.
I didn’t answer the text. I never do now.
It’s been two years and “she” still won’t stop texting me. I’ve blocked “her” number, but “she” changes it every time I do so. I’ve changed my number, but “she” some how finds out what I change it to.
Even worse than all of that is what “Sharon” sends me. It’s no longer friendly messages of well wishes or pictures of fresh baked goods. Instead, I see threats and curses, foul language and horrifying photos. “She’s” sent me pictures of people being dismembered, followed by the words, “you’re next if you don’t reply.”
I can’t take this. I don’t understand why this had to happen. I don’t know who’s texting me, but it’s probably some sicko from the middle of nowhere who somehow got their hand’s on a dead girl’s phone, preloaded data and all. I’m worried for myself, and for my family. I don’t want this. I didn’t ask for this. I just wanted a friend.
I’m writing this now in hopes that someone sees my laptop and uploads this somewhere. I’m running out of options.
If you’re reading this, it means that “Sharon” found me and I’m dead.
Tell my mom, dad, and brother that I’m sorry for giving up. I must have tried to fight back. But “they” found me.
I wanted a best friend. Instead, I got one that would unintentionally end up taking me with them beyond the grave.
I guess, as a final word of advice, I can just warn you, whoever you are, to seriously consider being careful of what you wish for, because sometimes you get what you want, and that can be the worst thing that can ever happen to you.
Please tell my mom, dad, and brother that I love them. This is my goodbye.